Letters to the Editor 6/07/2023


Last updated 6/6/2023 at 2:23pm

Prescribed burns

To the Editor:

George Wuerthner’s critique of controlled burns was on the mark (“Rethink burning in Sisters’ forests,” The Nugget, May 31, page 2).

It has been claimed that they help reduce the threat of a forest fire in a given area and lower the intensity of a fire if one starts there. This seems plausible, but I wonder if the Forest Service has any evidence that a controlled burn has ever contributed to either scenario? As we know, controlled burns throw up a huge cloud of pollution, turning clean air into a sewer. They also destroy ground habitat and are, obviously, ugly.

Moreover, they do not contribute to the health of the forest. I grew up near the woods in Oregon and spent much time in the forest. I can remember that in the 1950s high school kids from the Portland area would go out to plant trees in the vast area devastated by the Tillamook Burn, which has since regrown. If the concept of a “controlled” burn existed then, it would have been mocked. And I think the reason is this: few people lived in the woods in those days. If there was a fire, it usually burned itself out (nature’s way) and one took one’s chances. In the 1950s Oregon’s population was about a million and a quarter. Today it is pushing five million and more and more people are moving into the woods. Not surprisingly, they want protection from fire and they put pressure on the Forest Service to keep them safe.

The response from the Forest Service has been controlled burns, a supposed strategy to protect private property (not the forest). Ironically perhaps, controlled burns are actually a dangerous concept. They can lull one into a false sense of security. If a forest fire were to start near your house, a controlled burn nearby would not save you.

Ponderosa Properties - Sisters, Oregon Realtor

Gary Leiser

To the Editor:

A column written by George Wuerthner (“Rethinking burning in Sisters’ forests,” The Nugget, May 31, page 2) really hit the nail on the head for me.

Wednesday’s prescribed burn made for terrible air quality. I could hardly breathe and had to wear a mask. All I could think of was the damage to our air quality and the destruction to all the homes of the forest animals. I agree with Mr. Wuerthner and his statement that the forests got along many years without human interference.

Let’s stop prescribed burns.

Judy Allen


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