Facts & Demogoguery: The Experts Speak Out On Western Fires
"The only thing that burns hotter than a wildfire in the West is the demagoguery of some politicians trying to take advantage of it."
(Former Rep. Pat Williams, Era of the Big Fire Is Kindled at West's Doors, The New York Times, June 23, 2002)
(Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, on NBC's Today Show, June 24, 2002)
"Although every summer seems to bring another analysis of the "fire problem," America does not have one fire problem. It has many fire problems. Some, like the construction of houses along the forest fringe, are amenable to technical solutions, like zoning laws and fire codes that would abolish wooden roofs, for example. Some, like the need to accept fire in wilderness, must be dealt with politically. Others require site-by-site assessments and site-specific practices."
(Dr. James Pyne, Arizona State University Fire Historian, Meeting Fire on Its Terms, The New York Times, June 25, 2002)
The Editorial Boards
A Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial: "For centuries beyond counting, the great forests grew, then burned, then grew again as the ageless cycles of the earth played out. Then came the pioneers, and the settlers, bringing the trappings of civilization -- including the idea that nature's cleansing fires were not to be allowed -- and the pattern of random small fires was interrupted." The paper adds: "Nature can be blocked, but not conquered. Eventually, it will have its way."
"'In Colorado, three roadless areas are on fire right now,' said Keith Williams a House Agriculture Committee spokesman. The Bush administration has been unable to go in and do preventative work because of the Clinton administration's edict, which 'essentially makes these roadless areas wilderness areas, which they're not,' said Williams. 'That's not what they're intended to be. The Forest Service is I supposed to go in and be able to restoration management after a fire and also go in and prevent a fire. They're unable to do that and that's in large part why we're having these fires.'"
"[Arizona Governor Jane] Hull and U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, visiting the site, said the devastating fire should be a wake-up call to environmentalists and governments to change the way they manage the nation's forest."
"The policies that are coming from the East Coast, that are coming from the environmentalists, that say we don't need to log, we don't need to thin our forests are absolutely ridiculous," Hull said. "Nobody on the East Coast knows how to manage these fires and I for one have had it."
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