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June 26, 2007



Catastrophic fires like Hayman, etc., are not the result of any ban on logging- by "The Left" or anyone else. Rather, these areas became dangerously overgrown with dense stands of smal, low-value trees during decades of land management that erroneously emphasized fire suppression.

These forests got overgrown and now burn catastrophically, essentially killing the soil and leaving the charred wastes we see in the Hayman burn area.

To say "The Left" is responsible for causing these fires by preventing logging in these areas- as you clearly imply- is completely disingenuous. Timber companies weren't interested in these areas to begin with, as the timber there was not high quality enough to make it worth their while financially- they'd rather log older growth Douglas forests than the lodgepole and Ponderosa that grow in the Hayman area, or forests on flatter ground than the steep and rugged Boulder County foothills.

Newer harvesting technology has made accessing these areas a better investment for logging companies than it was in the past, but timber harvesters are still interested in taking out the older, bigger trees, as opposed to the overgrown midgets that populate areas like the Boulder foothills and raise a real danger of catastrophic fires like Hayman.

The whole "logging will prevent catastrophic wildfire" line is plainly a Trojan horse designed to facilitate the looting of our national forests by Dubya's timber company pals without doing anything that will actually reduce the real risk of catastrophic wildfires in overgrown areas. Timber companies obviously aren't interested in scrub oak and chapparal in the hills around Glenwood, and they aren't interested in the Ponderosa in Boulder County either. To imply otherwise is misleading and dishonest.

A real fire policy would look at building codes and require the owners of trophy homes in high-risk areas to pay their fair share of the enormous emergency services costs that are invariably incurred when these properties are threatened. A real fire policy would offer timber harvesters the opportunity to harvest low-value trees on ecologically responsible terms (after all, mulch still costs money, last time I checked), but would refuse to write a blank check to these companies to take whatever they want, wherever they want, however they want, under the rubric of "fire prevention." A real fire policy would reject the line you're taking here, blaming your favorite boogeyman, "The Left," for what is simply the natural result of one hundred years or more of mismanaged forest policy.

Of course, when and if catastrophic wildfire eventually hits Boulder County, that'll just be "The Left" reaping what they've sewn, right? Puh-leez.

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