Letter: Prescribed burning not the solution for reducing wildfire danger (opinion)
After camping throughout the western states over the last several years, it is apparent that the amount of congested trees, dead trees and debris is so massive that no amount of prescribed burning will ever control it.
Prescribed burning is providing the illusion to the public that the United States Forest Service is actually doing something productive. The forest service itself will admit that the prescribed burn programs primary purpose is not to prevent wildfires, but to “reintroduce” fire into our forests.
Prescribed fires do not burn hot enough and therefore the smoke does not rise but smolders on the ground in whatever direction the wind takes it. Burning is being conducted during inversions, cloud cover, and other times that are not conducive to adequate smoke dispersion. Frequent inversions at night drives the smoke to the ground and often into our homes.
The primary way to control the spread of wildfires is to prevent tree fire crowning. Thinning the forests, cutting down dead trees and clearing for fire breaks is the only way to do this. Utilizing logging masticators/chippers throughout the forests would make for healthy soils and prevent runoff of soil into our reservoirs’ and water filtration systems.
Instead of growing wildfires, the forest service needs to immediately extinguish them through investment in air tankers.
Protecting our homes from fire does not mean constant prescribed burning that creates massive air pollution. We can protect our homes and still have clean air to breathe.