From the Ashes

Martin E. Lewitt lewitt at
Tue Jan 16 19:24:41 EST 2001

In article <3A64D64D.D11244D2 at>,
Karl Davies  <karl at> wrote:
>Passing this on from Taxpayers for Common Sense:
>As you may know, the 2000 fire season was the most expensive fire season
>in decades. The federal government spent a record $1.6 billion fighting
>the most severe wildfires our nation has ever seen:
>From the Ashes: Reducing the Harmful Effects and Rising Costs of Western
>Wildfires, a new report by Taxpayers for Common Sense, finds that
>federal mismanagement of National Forests was largely responsible for
>the enormous costs of managing these fires. The report details policy
>recommendations for the new Congress and the new Administration that
>could increase the effectiveness of firefighting while reducing wasteful
>spending. Please take a few moments to view the report. It's available
>online in HTML and PDF formats at
> .

One claim concerned me:

   Most importantly, unless thinning activities are accompanied by
   proper disposal of slash, thinning activities can actually result in
   increased fire risk.

This comment was based on this reference:

   Russell Grahamet al., 1999, The Effects of Thinning and Similar
   Stand Treatments in Western Forests, Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-463,
   (Portland, OR: USDA, Forest Service), 15.

I left my "slash" on my property, pretty much where it lay.  I thought
the idea was to eliminate pathways to my house and to crowns of the 
large fire resistant trees.  I figured the slash would eventually
decompose returning nutrients to the soil, and also would suppress
the grown of more fuel on the ground underneath it.  I did worry that
the fuel it represents might result in high flames, but assumed they
would not be high enough to span the distance I had created.

Has there been any tradeoff analysis of these kinds of issues?

                           -- thanx, Martin
Personal, not work info:         Martin E. Lewitt             My opinions are
Domain: lewitt at          P.O. Box 729                 my own, not my
Hm phone:  (505) 281-3248        Sandia Park, NM 87047-0729   employer's. 

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