U.S. must invest more in forests, especially fire prevention (2 letters)

An air tanker battles the Waldo Canyon fire, west of Colorado Springs, on June 26, 2012.

An air tanker battles the Waldo Canyon fire, west of Colorado Springs, on June 26, 2012.

Re: “Save our national forests with a simple fire funding fix,” March 8 editorial.

Thank you for your editorial. This is such an important issue, yet many people don’t know where the funding comes from to fight catastrophic wildfires like the ones that hit California last year. 2017 was the most expensive wildfire year ever, costing more than $2.4 billion. With firefighting costs only expected to rise, continuing to pay for them at the expense of programs that could make forests healthier and less fire prone is a vicious cycle that we need to break.

Colorado is no stranger to wildfires. The Front Range has seen the devastation of wildfires such as the High Park fire and Waldo Canyon fire. The Hayman fire, just west of Denver, was one of the largest wildfires on record for Colorado. It destroyed 133 homes, cost nearly $40 million to suppress and severely damaged Denver’s water supply, filling it with ash and debris.

We need to proactively invest in, and maintain, projects and programs that will make our forests healthier and enable us to get ahead of future catastrophic wildfires. This can only be done if we fix the fire funding problem.

Jason Lawhon, Boulder

The writer is forest and fire program director for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado.

It isn’t just fire management funds that are suffering in the U.S. Forest Service. When I started my career in the Forest Service in 1978, we were pretty well funded. Every year after that, our budget was reduced.

I spent my whole career in recreation management in numerous forests, including a stint as district winter sports specialist in the Dillon District. For a while, recreation was aided by timber management projects that benefited recreation. The extensive …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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