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September 26, 2013
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Letter: Policies on wilderness areas leave them unprotected from fire

No protection for wilderness

The Senate recently approved designating 30,500 acres near Devil’s Staircase 10 miles northeast of Reedsport for protection. My question is, “What protection?”

By definition, a wilderness cannot have roads. Neither tree cutting nor planting are permitted. Neither mechanized fire-fighting nor hand crews are permitted. Fire breaks may not be used. Everything must occur naturally.

What if a forest fire starts? What do we do? Nothing! We let it burn. Threatened species, timber, everything in the path of the fire burns.

When the fire goes out and the rains come, the ash of the fire and mud wash down into the rivers, polluting them. No trees can be replanted, so scrub brush grows. Dry brush in fire season becomes another fire hazard to burn again.

Threatened species homes wiped out in the fire are chased out again when the brush burns.

So when your congressman asks that 30,500 acres be set aside for wilderness protection, where is the protection? Threatened species will be safer in the middle of a logging site than in a “wilderness.”

If you want to lock up timber so it can’t be logged, do it. But don’t prevent us from fighting fires, of all things. Wilderness is nothing but a fire hazard.

Pete Nightingale


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The News-Review Updated Sep 26, 2013 12:44PM Published Oct 10, 2013 07:20PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.