In the article, “Wildfire divisions cloud fire debate,” published on Friday, Sept. 21, Annette McGee Rasch did an outstanding job of explaining opposition by scientists to the removal of fire-resistant trees in the name of forest resiliency. However, I would like to clarify my misleading remark that smoke from prescribed burns is more harmful than typical wildfire smoke.
Wildfires produce far more smoke than prescribed burns, are unpreventable, and are therefore a far greater health concern. The point I wanted to make is that the smoke from prescribed burns has a higher proportion of small, respirable particles than typical wildfire smoke. As explained at the Sept. 15 smoke summit by Dr. Richard Leman, chief medical officer for the Oregon Health Authority, the smaller a smoke particle, the deeper it penetrates into lungs.
Current proposals to greatly expand logging followed by prescribed burning would create many days of insidious smoke, especially from prolonged pile burning of slash, biomass that, ironically, is not consumed in a wildfire. This produces respirable particles that can be trapped under winter inversions. With slash production outpacing burning, and increasing with tree size, fire hazards and smoke increase. This concerns many scientists who favor more practicable options.
Dennis C. Odion, Ph.D.
Wallan not scared
As another smoke-filled Oregon summer passes, the losses mount and the citizens’ frustrations grow.
The losses are not only in precious lives and property. Consider the disastrous atmospheric emissions and health damage from the smoke. Then the many millions spent firefighting, and the untold business losses for 2018. What about the long-term economic costs from the repeated smoky summers in Southern Oregon?
We cannot let frustration and anger just burn us up. We can direct it purposefully. One of the smartest things is to vote wisely this November. From here, that means voting for Kim Wallan.
Kim did not shirk tough fights when she was on the Medford School Board, and she will not surrender to political correctness as she fights for revision of the state’s role in forest policy. There are no easy answers, that will not scare Kim.
Elect Kim Wallan District 6 state representative.
Mary C. Olson
We deserve better
Mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating.
“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” — Unknown.
BLM timber planners acknowledge that the Griffin Half Moon Timber Sale near Howard Prairie will increase fire hazards in the area for decades due to the removal for fire-resilient old-growth trees to make way for timber plantations. This controversial clearcut timber sale is adjacent to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, on public lands that belong to all of us. There are occupied great gray owl nests within timber harvest units. Habitat for the threatened Pacific fisher will be removed without even looking for these imperiled critters.
We deserve better. It is high time for BLM timber planners to propose projects that increase forest resiliency and reduce fire hazards in the forests that surround our communities. Repeating the archaic errors of our past is, by definition, insanity. Congressman Walden’s echoing of timber industry greed is misinforming and perpetuating fear in our communities.
Climate change should be a vehicle for pulling together stakeholders and community leaders to accomplish forward-looking forest management designed for more than making a quick buck.