Salvage bill makes sense
The Forest Service has determined the Whiskey fire area too dangerous for the general public. They even have “guards” at road junctions to keep people out. Those poor, over-worked public servants! I came across one the other day, so fatigued he was fast asleep. It must be hard to find people with the talent to snore in perfect harmony with nature. However, the Forest Service will leave hundreds of thousands of snags that will rot and become even more dangerous to future forest users, and fire fighters in particular. That’s bad. Right?
Snags are the number one cause of injury and death to firefighters after they reach the line almost every year. The Forest Service knows if salvage were done, future fires would be less intense, less expensive and safer to contain. Plus, funding for rehabilitation could be generated.
Still, the Forest Service can’t be blamed for not proposing salvage. They know opposition will delay salvage so long that most of the wood will lose its value and the opportunity to make the forests safer and help fund rehabilitation projects will be lost. I blame the accumulation of village idiots known as Congress for this travesty. U.S. Rep. DeFazio and Sen. Wyden have been aware of this situation for more than 20 years and have done less than the sleeping road guards to correct the situation.
A responsible representative could create a bill that required fire salvage where economically feasible after lightning caused fires within 300 feet of existing roads. A possible exception could be areas identified by the Forest Service as too sensitive. That alone would protect the majority of the public, raise funding for rehabilitation of resources, provide for firefighter safety, and perhaps buy pillows for those unfortunate road guards.