Thursday, March 18, 2010

Trail to safety

Posted on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 4:00 AM

In 1910, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 small fires already burning in Idaho, Washington and Montana turned into one fire. It burned about 3 million acres in 18 hours, when a 70-mile-an-hour wind came up.

At that time, U.S. Forest Service workers complained that there were not enough trails for access to fight the fire. Today, with about 3.6 million acres of bark beetle damaged forest, we have the possibility of the same scenario happening again. We need plans for more trails and escape routes for all the people and wildlife. All the spotted owls we have paid to protect and all the other wildlife could be lost in this disaster. In 1910, 86 lives were lost. Today, 360,000 people are at risk, along with approximately $21 billion of their personal real estate.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) response to this possibility should not be to send the districts in this area more body bags. Let’s find a better way. Instead of getting rid of trails, let’s keep them open. Let’s make more corridors to fight fires. In the 2010 Department of Interior’s budget, there is approximately $200 million in funding for the Clean Air Act and global warming. At the same time, the Forest Service plans to burn again all the areas that have been burnt. I wonder what kind of air filter all that smoke would take.

As an avid outdoor sportsman, it bothers me that our trails have been and are continuing to be dismantled when more trails are needed for better forest management.

Vern Greyn

Dutton

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