LANDSCOPE: Money to Burn - Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Fire Progr

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Mon Apr 3 08:27:43 EST 2000

From: "wafcdc at" <wafcdc at>
Subject: LANDSCOPE: Money to Burn - Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Fire  Program

LANDSCOPE: News and Views from American Lands - April 3, 2000

Money to Burn: Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Fire Program

A new report, "Money to Burn: The Economics of Fire and Fuels Management" by
Timothy Ingalsbee, Ph.D. of American Lands' Western Fire Ecology Center
reveals that fire suppression on the National Forests has become a
pork-barrel program that is degrading forest and aquatic ecosystems.
Despite adopting the Wildland Fire Management Policy in 1995, which called
for the agency to allow some fires to burn naturally, the Forest Service
continues to aggressively attack nearly every wildland fire.  The reason is
that it has become big business.  Emergency wildfire suppression
expenditures are increasing, and the Forest Service is spending more per
fire and more per acre burned, according to the report.  From 1970- 1995 the
agency spent $7.9 billion on fire management activities.  More than half of
this was spent on suppression — an average of $381 million a year — even
though fire suppression has been proven to cause ecosystem degradation and
larger fires when they do occur.

. . . It is time the Forest Service implemented the Wildland Fire Management
Policy, and stopped harming the forests and streams with inappropriate and
excessive fire suppression tactics.  "Not every fire needs bombers, chemical
retardants, back burns and bulldozers," said Ingalsbee.  "Many wildland
fires should be allowed to burn and the firefighters should be redirected to
lighting prescribed fires to help restore fire dependant ecosystems."  See for a copy of the report and
for more information contact Timothy Ingalsbee, Ph.D. at mailto:fire at

Churches Challenge Gore's Environmental Leadership 

Six bishops and five other religious leaders are asking Vice President Al
Gore to take a leadership role in saving the forests of the South.  The
group concerned with the "sudden, unchecked growth of chips mills"
throughout the south wrote a letter urging the Vice President to develop
policies to preserve the forests for the sake of the wildlife and human
communities that depend on them. The group also reminded the Vice President
of a statement he made as U.S. Senator in 1992 when he said, "in my view
there is not justification for permitting even one chip mill operation along
the Tennessee River." The full text of the letter, with the signers' names
is available at

Natural Resources Law Conference, May 7 - 8

Attend the Saving Ecosystems – Tools for Protecting Public and Private Lands
conference, May 7-8, 2000 in Bozeman Mt.  The event sponsored by The Greater
Yellowstone Coalition, Western Land Exchange Project and Wyoming Outdoor
Council is a workshop for activists involved in ecosystem conservation and
will provide tools to solve the problem of how to maintain the health of
wildland ecosystems and wildlife habitat connectivity in the face of public
and private land development.  For more information contact
mailto:jbrawer at

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Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator

American Lands 
726 7th Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
202/547-9213 fax
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