Stop Lying, Smokey!

The vast majority of forest fires are still caused by lightning.  More important, forest fires are good and necessary for healthy sylvan communities.  In fact, there are many species of trees–like my beloved Ponderosa pine–whose seeds *ONLY* germinate from fire.  They are literally like the Phoenix, rising from their own ashes.  Only when we accept forest fires as both inevitable and necessary can we begin to repair–or rather simply let nature herself repair–the incredible damage that has been done to forests across the country and indeed the world through fire suppression.  Suppressing forest fires allows “fuel” to build up on the forest floor, so when those inevitable lightning fires come, they are much more destructive–they get up into the canopies of trees and destroy them, whereas normal, regular, natural, smaller fires would clear out the fuel load (aka foliage, branches, cones, etc.) and the trees would be able to survive with their evolved natural defense mechanisms.  This is why you now see smaller prescribed burns of forest-fuel loads; management is finally catching up with the ecology of forest ecosystems.  Truly, it is only with overpopulation and hence too many humans encroaching on forest habitat that we really run into a problem.

Here you see a gorgeous, majestic ponderosa pine, one of the “Phoenix Trees”; as you can see, this individual survived a forest fire some time in the last few decades with only a blackened trunk to show for it.

To quote activist and longtime forest defender Tim Ream from the SEMINAL documentary pickAxe (my favorite movie, one that literally changed my life, which you can view for free HERE), “Fires don’t kill forests.  LOGGING kills forests.”

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2 thoughts on “Stop Lying, Smokey!

  1. Joanne

    Yes, the issue does get complicated, but the forest disservice always does the wrong thing no matter how you look at it. Here in the southwest, lightning-caused fires happen just before monsoon season–as the storms start to build up but the rain hasn’t happened yet. They may burn hours or days, but then the rain puts them out. And yes, it is those natural-caused fires that keep forests healthy. But the catastrophic fires are not only caused by decades of unnatural fire suppression, but also by asshole hillbilly inbred rednecks who get drunk around their campfires and fling cigarettes wherever they please. When they do that in April, May, or June, the fires burn for weeks or months. In Arizona, where I used to live, when the fire danger got severe, the local forest district would CLOSE the forest to human visitors, or at least close the roads. The ONLY way to prevent those unnatural catastrophic fires is to deny those causing them access. But here in backward New Mexico, the forest disservice REFUSES to close the forest to humans, putting those who live there, both human and non-human in very serious danger. They won’t even institute fire restrictions on campfires, smoking, etc., until half the state is on fire–and then they won’t enforce the restrictions. I live in the forest, and have written letter after letter, but their heads are so far up their asses it is too dark to read. Oh, and the fucking ranchers don’t hellp the situation either: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWCjE9CULj8

    Reply

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