Dear Forest Service: I have a few questions for you. They arise from my state of confusion about what the purpose of a Forest Service actually is. I thought you were a federal agency that managed our forests for multiple uses. But I seem to be mistaken. Nowadays people are being blocked from using forest resources as they traditionally have plus all you do is encourage fires so even wildlife doesn’t get the use of our forests. So rather than speculate, I thought I’d ask and maybe you could clear a few things up for me.
1) When did “management” and “burning” become synonymous? I get the concept of the occasional naturally started fire being allowed to burn, because that clears brush and adds nutrients to the soil, but I also understand that trick only works in a healthy forest.
But we don’t have healthy forests. The forests are bug-ridden, drought stressed, and overgrown. So why are you not only burning, burning, burning, but you’re also igniting fires in the name of management?
How come you’ve got the budget to pay firefighters to manage all that burning, but you never have the budget to pay for NEPA studies that would allow logging, forest restoration, and mechanical hazardous fuels reduction? You know, stuff that would not only benefit the forests, but benefit local economies?
Sorry, that was more than one question, but let’s move on.
2) When you burn all the brush and grass in the fall, what does the wildlife that browses and grazes, or lives on plant seeds, etc. eat during the winter, before there’s any growth in the spring?
3) When you burn, how many small animals that can’t flee the fires do you kill? How many large animals that than can run get burned by your fires and are crippled or die slow deaths?
4) What impact does all this smoke have on tourism, I wonder?
5) Just how much carbon and particulates gets added to our polluted atmosphere by all this burning? How does breathing the smoke day after day impact human health, and the health of any critter that has lungs? How does the smoke you generate with all your burning contribute to global warming or climate change?
6) Do we ever get a break? Or are you planning to just burn, burn, burn all year long?
Thanks for any answers that you could provide. I am sure everything I’m asking is public information you have made available somewhere, but darned if I can find it.
PS: I’d appreciate it if you didn’t just give me the party line, but for once just answered the questions.
PS: Sorry for my bad attitude. But month after month of headache, burning eyes, sore throat, and congested lungs from YOUR FIRES tends to make me crabby.