…the disdain for (and, in recent years, sometimes legal banning of) human “management” of the woods plays a role in the rising of dangerous wildfires. Time to drop the illusion that everything can be natural in a society of 285 million citizens. People are here and we’re not going to go away; people and forests and brushlands are in closer contact all the time; this leaves us little choice but to return to some version of managing lands to exert power over natural fire.
…Note that, since it is fashionable to deride George W. Bush’s environmental policies, the president’s “healthy forest” initiative, unveiled months ago, contains many provisions aimed at exactly the sort of pragmatic management that would reduce wildfires. The “healthy forest” bill was blocked in the Senate by Democrats and enviro lobbyists, who expressed horror at the thought of artificial intervention in the forest. Wednesday, as San Diego burned, the Senate passed the legislation 97-1. Bush’s plan is far from perfect, but will move forest management back toward realism.
Read Gregg Easterbrook for the full and very thoughtful analysis.