House panel approves extra wildfire money

Larry Harrell lhfotoware at
Thu Jul 11 06:41:36 EST 2002

dwheeler at (Daniel B. Wheeler) wrote in message news:<6dafee1b.0207102212.5f43be6b at>...
> From The Oregonian, p A4
> House panel approves extra wildfire money
> A committee votes to add $700 million to fight the season's ferocious
> blazes
> By ALAN FRAM, The Associated Press
> 	WASHINGTON - A House committee voted Tuesday to provide an extra $700
> million for battling wildfires that have raged across more than 3
> million acres this year, mostly in the West.
> 	The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee approved the funds
> by voice vote, although lawmakers and aides said the Bush
> administration opposes the extra money. The White Housethinks federal
> agencies have all the resources they need, legislators said.
> 	"I'd suggest to OMB (the White House Office of Managmeent and Budget)
> that they smell the smoke and recognize this is a serious problem,"
> said Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, the committee's top Democrat.
> 	The full House meanwhile, passed byvoice vote a measure that extends
> legal protections to foreign firefighters enlisted in the battle in
> one of the worst wildfire seasons in history.
> 	The legislation, not yet taken up by the Senate, would make foreign
> firefighters employees of the federal government for the limited
> purpose of shielding them and the countries that send them from
> lawsuits.
> Posted as a courtesy by
> Daniel B. Wheeler

This will also have MAJOR effects on how the USFS works the rest of
this fire season. Money is now being funneled away from critical fuel
reduction projects and most other departments of the USFS. TEAMS is
restricted from signing any new contracts for both planning and
implementation projects for work all across the country. While I
applaud the seriousness of this emergency reaction, it is just a
symptom of the overall problem.

Our forests can't survive even mild droughts.

Is this the legacy that preservationists want their children to
inherit? What will happen after 10 YEARS of drought? It's time to save
our forests through management of both live and dead fuels while
saving the all-important core of big trees within them. I hate to say
it, and I don't want to come off as a hard-core timber beast but, we
do have to log our forests in order to save them. "Reverse
high-grading" and thinning projects are needed to make more water
available to the trees we want to save. Controlled burning is finally
being shown to not be a viable alternative to reducing fuels (without
first removing a portion of them through timber sales).

Again, I am NOT in favor of taking the big trees out but, I am in
favor of including a small percentage of mid-sized trees to pay for
the removal of sub-merchantable trees that clog the understory and
make controlled burns impossible.


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