Preventing future fires

mhagen replyto at group.only
Fri Jan 9 11:48:10 EST 2004

Larry Harrell wrote:

> lifeform1 at (Thomas Lee Elifritz) wrote in message news:<29de1a66.0401071034.629fdc56 at>...
>>January 7, 2004
>>lhfotoware at (Larry Harrell) wrote in message :
>>>Larry,   flammable home building material producer.
>>Thomas Lee Elifritz
> Oh, very clever, Tommy. I'll bet your mother is VERY proud. I'd say
> that most people want to use beautiful wood products built into their
> dream homes. Besides, we have to do SOMETHING with all the excess
> trees clogging our overstocked forests.
> If you don't believe me, listen to this firefighter's opinion:
> Thursday, January 8, 2004  The Daily Press
> COMMENTARY: Not out of the woods yet
> Mountain residents in San Bernardino County dodged a bullet. A bullet
> that could have taken the life off of, if not out of, these mountains.
> The California fire siege of 2003 is now recognized as the largest
> fire in California history with more than 3,000 homes lost to flames
> and deadly mudslides now a part of the disastrous aftermath. Part of
> the San Bernardino National Forest burned, and chaparral and coastal
> sage sent walls of flame across the foothills.
> With the fires out, two important facts remain. First, the fire
> affected fewer than five percent of the dead trees that cover these
> mountains. With millions of dead trees still standing and more dying
> every day, there is a tremendous fire threat here. We need help as
> much now as we did before.
> Second, as much as advanced planning by our Mountain Area Safety Task
> Force, Fire Safe Councils, and citizens helped during the siege,
> nothing less than heroic firefighting kept this fire away from the
> dead trees. Ten times more homes would have been lost had this fire
> burned into the dead forest.
> The San Bernardino are the most populated forests in the country, home
> to more than 50,000 people and $8 billion of assessed real estate
> value. There are houses and businesses on roughly 49,000 parcels
> adjacent to national forestland. Private landowners, clearly
> vulnerable, should receive as much funding for fire hazard mitigation
> and dead tree removal as possible.
> We must protect communities and be wise with the dollars we spend
> doing it. I encourage the Forest Service to work with local fire
> jurisdictions to establish fuel treatments and fire protection zones
> as quickly as possible. Fuel breaks will not fireproof a community or
> restore a forest, but they can provide a degree of protection that
> doesn't exist today.
> Immediate funding should be made available to local agencies and our
> Fire Safe Councils, citizen-led organizations that have made terrific
> progress in every community on the mountain. Their tireless efforts to
> motivate, educate and organize have paid great dividends - their town
> hall meetings were definitely instrumental in the Sheriff's Office
> safely evacuating more than 50,000 people off the mountain in only a
> few days. If it wasn't the largest evacuation in state history, it was
> certainly the most calm and polite.
> We must also reevaluate "tree removal" itself. It is not enough to
> fell the tree; infrastructure must be developed to utilize the wood.
> Felled trees should be considered raw materials, not waste, and "tree
> removal" should include the generation of wood products.
> Valuable resources are being wasted now. Wood going to incinerators or
> the county landfill now exceeds 800 tons a day from private lands
> alone. When utility Southern California Edison has their tree removal
> operation in full swing, the waste will top 1,500 tons every day.
> The county has taken actions to finance initial wood utilization
> projects. There is no commercial infrastructure remaining in the
> region, yet the solutions we consider must include the private sector
> and beneficial uses for the wood regardless of its origin.
> In the meantime, we have the continued threat of fire and its
> aftermath.
> Following the Mountain Area Safety Task Force (MAST) model, the County
> Office of Emergency Services has initiated an action plan in
> cooperation with our Flood Control Districts to mitigate the effects
> of debris and flood runoff from burned areas. Debris and mudflows
> threaten property and the drinking water for millions of Southern
> Californians.
> There are constant meetings with arborists, registered professional
> foresters, Fire Safe Councils, and the Resource Conservation Service
> to educate and initiate action toward effective erosion control and
> healthy reforestation. MAST is distributing information on erosion
> control and the proper planting and replanting of fire resistant,
> drought tolerant plants.
> But until the dead trees are gone and the forest is restored, we won't
> be out of the woods. We're still relying on heroic efforts to save our
> forest, and our homes.
> I also want to encourage citizens and policymakers to align forest
> management and fire hazard mitigation efforts. Spend more money to
> prevent fires and we'll spend less fighting them.
> Peter Brierty is Fire Marshal for San Bernardino County. He testified
> before the U.S. House Resources Committee in early December.

Right on!  This job can only be done with grass roots and community 
support and vast federal bucks.

Still, it's criminal to put wood in the dump!  The economic 
infrastructure is totally screwed up. We're importing "cheap" wood and 
our own "expensive" wood is unusable.  Microeconomics really is the 
dismal science.

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