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Forest-fire coverage

Published: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

I’ve been looking for some reporting on the causes of the big fires out West – going beyond immediate causes such as a tossed cigarette or neglected campfire to consider the question of management (and mismanagement) of these ecosystems.

I was delighted to see a brief reference to this in your Aug. 28 edition. It noted that forest ecologists attribute the scale and severity of some of the fires, including those threatening Yosemite National Park, in part to “historic policies of fire suppression to protect Sierra timber interests,” which “left a century’s worth of fuel in the fire’s path.”

In other words, management of these forests for the sake of certain narrow, short-term economic interests accounts, at least in part, for fires that now threaten some of our most treasured natural areas – to say nothing of the long-term economic value of many of these forests.

My only question is, why aren’t we seeing this, the real background of the story, being covered in depth on the front page?

Bill Jordan III


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