You should be thinking “my land,” because it is. The public lands of Southwest Oregon belong to all of us, and if the managers of our national forests are going to make huge changes in policies and approaches that affect our forests on a widespread landscape level, they need to be honest with us, the owners.
The United States Forest Service is a federal agency that has a legal obligation to we the people, and the dishonesty that is being perpetrated under the guise of fire-suppression has resulted in the intentional burning of hundreds of thousands of acres of green forest.
These forests should have been prepared for fire via fuel-breaks and wide-spread thinning, and if they had been, the resulting damage to habitat and to air and water quality would have been far less significant. The decision to allow (and to encourage) these fires to grow into enormous conflagrations, at an incredible cost to tax-payers, is simply astounding, especially when funding is now through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (through recent legislation), and is meant to cover the costs of natural disasters. These fires may have started naturally, but most of the acreage burned is the result of big boxes and burn-outs.
Another astounding consideration is the willingness of the USFS to risk damage to residences, private and industrial timber holdings, BLM and O&C timber, and neighboring communities all in an attempt to satisfy the demands of a minority group of very vocal stakeholders who have been pressuring for this approach for years. Managing wildfires during the height of fire season, under severe wildfire conditions, is not responsible, especially in an unprepared forest. We deserve honesty and inclusion concerning USFS policy changes that are so impactful to our lives and forests.
After all, ”This land belongs to you and me.”