IFO only speaks of things she knows about, so can’t comment on forest fires in the rest of the U.S., but with every newscast about rampant fires throughout the West Coast states’ National Forests, she wishes reporters would dig just a tiny bit deeper and ask just a few questions.
1. How many miles of roads used to exist in these areas?
2. What is the percentage acreage of National Forest fires compared to privately-owned timberland?
3. What is a Roadless Area?
4. Why are government forest management agencies spending millions of dollars fighting fires when the dominant view of fires in national “ancient” forests is that such fires are “natural” and should be allowed to burn?
5. Has this “natural fire” view changed since all the roads were taken out of national and state forests in the West?
To answer some of these questions we must return to the days of old – IOW 2001.
Here is the 2001 National Forest Service Rule:
The 2001 Roadless Rule establishes prohibitions on road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting on 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas on National Forest System lands. The intent of the 2001 Roadless Rule is to provide lasting protection for inventoried roadless areas within the National Forest System in the context of multiple-use management.
The other “intent” of the RR was to REMOVE existing roads. IFO was on a list of interested people wishing to comment on implementation of this rule and was called by a NFS worker for a survey.
She asked, “What happens if there is a forest fire? Weren’t these roads supposed to be for fire equipment as well as nature lovers?” No answer. Typical. BTW, there is another page relating to litigation on this rule. None of the links to .pdf files works. Typical.
Some of the older Forest Service employees were well aware of the dangers. They knew, but were being replaced by newer, more ideologically-driven employees. Logging companies that bid on logging contracts within the forests also knew.
It was a bitter fight, but the enviros now believe they have won. Here’s a clip from 2012 that Wilderness Society website crowing about shutting down yet another source of natural resources:
March came in like a lion to defend our national forests. After years of courtroom wrangling and legal uncertainty, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule has finally become the law of the land.
In early March a Wyoming federal district judge officially lifted a nationwide injunction that had blocked the US Forest Service from implementing the roadless rule. Adopted more than a decade ago, the roadless rule protects 58 million acres of national forest inventoried roadless areas across the country from road construction and commercial logging.
Due to the court’s ruling, roadless national forest lands from the Southern Appalachian Blue Ridge Range, to Montana’s Whitefish Range and Washington state’s Teanaway Roadless Area will remain wild and open to world-class recreation, including hunting, hiking and mountain biking. These same forests also help supply drinking water to nearby communities, especially in the West.
These people and their ilk are also responsible for the ongoing effort to remove electricity-producing dams on our mighty rivers. They won’t be happy until most of us have to move back into caves so they, the favored elite, can walk unmolested in the pristine natural world now unpopulated by the dirty unshaven masses.