Michael Rains’ Letter to President Trump
Thanks to Evergreen Magazine. They are having a series with an interview with Michael Rains. Michael Rains is not only both experienced, and a brilliant guy in general, but has a gift for both budget and politics, so he’s worth listening to.
Here’s a link to his letter.
Please allow me to summarize:
The management of the nation’s forests, especially the National Forests, need immediate, aggressive attention.
Years of shifting resources (skills, money and projects) from non-fire work to the fire effort has created a huge gap in the ability of the Forest Service to carryout forest management actions on the ground. Thus, wildfires are larger and more intense than ever before.
The current 2018 budget; the 2019 proposed budget; and, the latest Senate and House Action on the proposed budget do not address, in any significant way, the required forest management needs of our country, perhaps especially those on the National Forests. Thus, large, high intensity wildfires will not subside.
The so called “fire fix”, if deployed in 2020 can help slow the shift of non-fire activities for the fire effort. But, we cannot let the “fire fix” keep us from understanding that the real brass ring that the Forest Service is searching for is effective fire management resulting from aggressive forest management. That is, the fire fix is only the first step toward a forest fix.
As the 2018 fires season unfolds, it is easy to forecast another destructive fire season and $5 billion will be expended by federal, state and local sources to suppress wildfires across the country.
Funding for forest management actions, including targeted hazardous fuels treatment, is woefully inadequate. In fact, at the current funding level, forest health will continue to decline and the impacts of wildfires on the land and people’s lives will only get worse. A budget increase in the range of +$1.3 to +$2.2 billion is required. Eventually, this amount can be reduced as aggressive forest management enables fire management to take place and fire suppression costs begin to decline.
United States taxpayers are losing $70 to $350 billion a year in wildfire-related damages to infrastructure, public health, and natural resources. Wildfires are a major cause of losses to the forest-products industry and rural communities, especially, are at peril. Fuel accumulations have enhanced high-intensity wildland ﬁres. There are more than a billion “burnable” acres across America and an estimated 120 million people in more than 46 million homes are at risk due to wildfire; 72,000 communities are directly in harm’s way. Thousands of heroic firefighters have died protecting people and property. How many more reasons does it take before we can begin to improve America’s forests so fire can be used as a conservation tool and no longer feared for their destruction. We need your Administration to act. Clearly, now is the time. Positive impacts will be immediate.
Maybe as a Coloradan, and a former worked in R&D, I see a piece missing.. that small diameter material has not markets to speak of and that is what is mostly removed in many places. Putting more trees through sawmills where they now exist can’t be a westwide answer. It makes me wonder how that has worked for the Arizonans who tried to get markets going and I know we have commenters from around there, and I would like to hear from them.
I’m thinking of a competition for cost effective small diameter products like this XPrize for Carbon Capture and Storage.. could even use that model. For techie readers, albeit somewhat off-topic, I recommend taking a look at some of the prizewinners if you’re interested in CCS.
via A New Century of Forest Planning https://ift.tt/YeNBM9