The forest condundrum

By Peter Aleshire
The White Mountain Independent
November 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Four years ago, 19 firefighters died in terror and agony trying to save Yarnell. …We resolved that we would finally learn the lessons their deaths contained. …So the Roundup and the White Mountain Independent… resolved to document the problem and the solutions in this unprecedented five-month effort involving both newspaper staffs. So here’s what we gleaned: We created the current crisis through a century of mismanagement; projections of rising temperatures and deeper droughts almost guarantee the problem will get much worse in coming decades; firefighters can’t stop the big fires; only massive forest restoration can help in the long term; we probably can’t afford to thin more than a fraction of the necessary land without help from a reinvented timber industry. So where does this leave us? …We have to adapt our communities to wildfire, just as evolution adapted the ponderosa pine forest to fire.

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