Deseret News
Letter to the editor

Recently the Utah Legislature filed a petition to the United States Agriculture Department seeking an exemption to the 2001 roadless rule.

This is an effort to open lands to exploitation by extractive industries under the guise of forest management. This is a fallacy, because there is already language in the rule that allows for exemptions where necessary. Greg Aplet, senior science director for The Wilderness Society, states in an open letter to the governor that the roadless areas were of benefit to fire incident management teams, in that they could focus resources on areas of urban interface and let the fires burn in other zones unchecked. A clear benefit to fire officials.

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Another factor that has a greater impact on fire intensity and spread is climate change. As a retired firefighter, I can attest the length of the fire season is getting longer, due to climate change. Fire behavior is more intense as well, with lower relative humidities, extremely low fuel moisture due to prolonged drought and no real humidity recovery at night.

The exemption to the roadless rule is a giveaway to extractive industries for monetary gain and is not in the public’s interest nor that of wildlife.

Scott Bye