Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice

Manage SCOPE of Forest Fires

In Colorado there are 3.6M+ acres of beetle-kill pine. We are in a sever to extreme drought and it is only getting worse every day.

Current USDA Forest Service policy and budget allow for the protection of human life and residential structures. Forest firest are not prevented from occurring (using thinning of deadwood and other management practices), as learned from the Yellowstone fire.

This beetle-kill is primarily in large contiguous bands, as can be seen in maps provided through Colorado State University. These bands may have over a thousand square miles of explosively flammable beetle kill pine all together.

seems like a perfect storm.

1. Identify critical habitat of endangered species and give their protection, priority. Thin out deadwood in their critical area, as the Yellowstone lesson does not apply to habitat of endangered plant and animal species.

Surround their critical habitat with fire control lines.

2. Break up the contiguous zones into manageable blocks with fire control lines. In this way, fires can be allowed to start naturally, but then their SCOPE is managed. Instead of having hundreds of square miles of precious resource squandered in one superfire, the fire will burn until it reaches the preemptive fire control lines, and run out of fuel.

This all needs to be done quickly, as this summer is looking like the season of superfires.

Note that this issue is even more pronounced in Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia, where their beetle-kill problem is 10x that of Colorado.

Besides loss of habitat and squandering of a precious resource, there are numerous other ramifications. Consider the impact to tourism, for example. Consider water and air quality from such an event. Consider the potential loss of life, and loss of quality of life for the citizens of the affected states.

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Idea No. 67