Give us the full story

  There’s an active debate among fire ecologists over whether wildfire intensities have indeed increased to “unnatural” levels following a century of fire suppression, as many are now claiming, and if so what should be done about it. This debate and the complex evidence surrounding it were shortchanged in Ray Ring’s article “A Losing Battle,” which read like a long editorial in favor of the viewpoint that the current fire regime is natural (HCN, 5/26/03: A losing battle).

Ring relied heavily on catchy anecdotes and snippets of quotes from experts, and if he had tried, he could easily have found just as many in support of the opposite view. What makes HCN unique among environmental news sources is its lively interest in all sides of the story. Don’t lose your magic touch!

Susan Harrison
Professor, Environmental Science and Policy, U.C. Davis, Davis, California
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