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for people who care about the West

'It's really a sales program'


Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Henry Carey is the executive director of the Forest Trust, a nonprofit community forestry group based in Santa Fe, N.M.

"The Forest Service is trying to get political support for a thinning program, but the fire problem is no more huge than it was 10 years ago, or 20 years ago. This notion of trying to "fireproof" the forests (with thinning) - intuitively, that makes a whole lot of sense, but when you think of what happens in dry areas of the Southwest, you realize that the extent to which you'd have to thin would essentially create a desert.

"The fear-of-fire pitch has enormous appeal, but it's really a sales program. It isn't based on fact."