OpEd: Backcountry logging won’t save your homes — Public comment deadline on Mt. Pinos project is May 7

  • [photo by Bryant Baker]

    [photo by Bryant Baker]

By Bryant Baker, Conservation Director, Los Padres ForestWatch

The Mountain Communities can be resistant to wildfire, but it will require a fundamental shift from how local agencies and policy-makers currently approach prioritizing funds.

Let’s start by not doing the wrong thing for the sake of “doing something.”

Wildfire scientists such as Chad Hansen, PhD, of the John Muir Institute and Dominick DellaSala, PhD, of Wild Heritage have shown that projects such as that on Mount Pinos are logging proposals by the USFS wrapped up in misinformation about how our local forests historically and currently respond to wildfire.

Sadly, the agency again wants to approve this project under a controversial loophole to avoid conducting more robust environmental review with open public debate.

Let the United States Forest Service (USFS) know what you think about their Mt. Pinos proposal before the May 7 comment deadline.

The forests on Mt. Pinos will inevitably burn one day, but the way they burn will be driven by climate and weather conditions, not the number of…(please see below to view full stories and photographs)

Photo captions:

Above: Policy-making efforts are driven by scenes of buildings in ruins and charred landscapes from the year before—like this aftermath in Paradise, CA, following the 2018 Camp fire in Butte County.

Right: The 2020 North fire killed 16 people, destroyed 2500 structures and burned about 300,000 acres, 200,000 in just one day, Sept. 8-9, 2020. Research shows that
forest-thinning ‘treatment’ and removal of large trees, even dead ones, can accelerate the speed of blowing embers in high wind event fires, to leap over firebreaks, causing more damage over larger areas.

Chain-reaction ember fires moving between homes burn down communities in high wind events. More money should be allocated to home hardening. That includes installing ember vents and fire-resistent windows, decking, roofs and siding, plus creating defensible space around your home to defend it from ember storms.

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This is part of the April 30, 2021 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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