Fires, grazing and logging

 

I never understood how we have planning commissions and they let developers build in forested areas without clearing fire-safe areas around developments (“Smoke and mirrors,” HCN, 9/1/14). People that build like this should have to pay an exorbitant amount for fire insurance. Same goes for building in the river bottom and on avalanche terrain.

The environmentalists are largely to blame for firefighting costs (and the pine beetle epidemic). The Forest Service managed our forests well up until they started buckling to the environmentalists. We never had to have professional hotshot firefighting crews around here until the late 1970s or early 1980s. Loggers, cattlemen, locals and volunteer firemen could put about everything out. They just went and did it.

The Forest Service was managing our natural resources with grazing and logging. Livestock prevent dead grass from accumulating and carrying fires. Logging managed mature forests and built roads, and if lightning started a fire, loggers didn’t have to ask permission to go put it out. They were there, and they just did it. This was before “wilderness designations.” Point I am trying to make is we need to go back to learning from experience and history. Our forests are renewable resources, and if you are not smart enough to use those resources, you will lose them.

Joe Oglesby
Crawford, Colorado