Government failure in preventing, fighting wildfires 'unarguable,' Mitt Romney says

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  • Kona Magna, UT
    Aug. 11, 2018 11:44 a.m.

    L.A. county has done tremendous work! In all the canyons, which all have homes. They have the home owners cut down trees too close to the home, get rid of vegetation next to the homes, don't remember how away you have to plant things. Require every homeowner with a pool to have a pump for their property! They have made tremendous progress! Are you suppose to remove every 200 yr. old tree up a canyon? You are missing the whole point Mitt! Which has always been your problem!

  • not status quo Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 10, 2018 11:32 a.m.

    this is the first time i have agreed with Romney on anything.

  • Sophie 62 Spring City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2018 10:58 a.m.

    Ultimately, if we refuse to mitigate climate change, the fire situation is only going to get worse. In fact, it's going to get worse before it gets better, because it takes time, political will, and a lot of money to make the changes necessary. And a lot of work.
    More grazing, more thinning (not clear-cutting) more clearing of the forest floors, while leaving enough habitat for the wild creatures, less home building for now in remote fire-prone areas .
    These changes aren't just so we can have pretty forests. Our watersheds must be protected, we need rain and snow every year The forests help cool and oxygenate our world and make it more livable. We need lumber to build with.
    Where to get the money? I suggest we employ our military. Let's put the Army and National Guard to work on clearing the forests of the dead wood. Not all is usable for construction as logs, but could become MDF and other products.
    Let private citizens remove deadwood.
    Better to spend money to prevent fires than spend billions fighting them. And losing trillions in burned homes and valuable timber and habitat.
    Write your senators, your president, your legislators. Vote for people who care about the earth.

  • Silvex Salt Lake, UT
    Aug. 9, 2018 3:08 p.m.

    There are some who point to anthropogenic global warming (agw) as a cause of forest fires. Rather than debating whether or not agw is real, let's examine the merits of "doing something" about agw as a solution for forest fires.

    Point #1 - Imagine for a minute that we immediately returned to pre 1950s levels of carbon dioxide production (the 1950s are the earliest that humans could be blamed for global warming). Even if we did that, there would still be a problem with forest fires. Most of the largest fires in recorded history predate the 1950s.

    Point#2 - Agw is a highly politically charged issue. Non-believers would bring up point #1 and accuse the believers of using forest fires to advance a political agenda. We would get political gridlock and accomplish no actual results.

    Point#3 - Clearing out forest fire fuels will reduce the number and severity of forest fires, which will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. This accomplishes one of the goals of agw believers and the non-believers will not care.

    Nobody wants to see the forests burn. So let's all work together on common sense solutions that (most) everyone can agree on.

  • scottfrazier Alpine, UT
    Aug. 9, 2018 11:59 a.m.

    I would recommend a meta analysis done at Northern Arizona University to anyone interested in understanding the effect of thinning on the severity of wildfires. (I'm unable to post a link, but you can Google " effects-of-thinning" This website references eighteen studies on the subject, including the study cited by Frozen Fractals, of the Hayman fire in Colorado. The overwhelming consensus of these studies, according to this website is "Thinning of both canopy and ladder fuels is generally needed to reduce crown fire potential." Isn't this also common sense?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 9, 2018 7:59 a.m.

    I thought god was going to "confirm" the Earth's flood baptism with fire in the last days. Looks like he's started the confirmation process. /s

  • olsarge8 Boulder, MT
    Aug. 8, 2018 9:59 p.m.

    First off, global warming and effect on forests is hogwash! I am old enough to have witnessed and or heard of just as severe forest fire destruction today! Difference is, the population wasn't as great, nor, as much pressure on the forest s for whatever reasons as there are today! Population growth could be considered a problem as more and more people want to get away from the crushing crowds and move to the hills! Demands for forest by products, for an increasing population and need for those products, does not help the preservation of our forests either!
    Whining against the government's so called inaction, especially against the republicans, the current administration, solves nothing either, except make certain fell better by venting one's spleen!
    Perhaps a solution to the ever growing problem of forest fires, would be to give current federal government control to the states! Yep, give the all the forests within any given state's border s to do with as they please! Forest harvesting, recreation, sight seeing, climate change, anything we currently use the forests for, how we take care of forests now, the states to handle it!

  • Rtpetersonmd South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 1:06 p.m.

    Very disappointed that Governor Romney did not have the courage to name climate change as a significant contributor to the increase in number and severity of forest fires. He knows better.

  • storm3033 Vernal, Utah
    Aug. 8, 2018 12:29 p.m.

    I would hope a Romney would advocate for rolling back the 50% cuts on USFS and BLM operating budgets. I also hope for a reassessment of funding for the military in the face of longer and hotter fire seasons. We need more bombers and helicopters carrying fire suppressants as the fleet is aging. Romney should also be key in implementing a universal health care program to handle the increased health problems arising from these fires. We have spent the summer inside because of the smoke from these fires. I cannot imagine what it is like for those directly in line of fire and the hazardous air quality they are living in.

  • Paul8777 Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 11:25 a.m.

    I cringe when I see headlines like these and then read the article and statement from the candidate. Many of the comments are equally cringeworthy. I spent seven summers of my life on a Forest Service fire crew. The most destructive fires I worked on were in heavily managed (read "logged") forests. Can fires be chalked up to government failures? Certainly, but not in the sense that Mr. Romney and many on the right would like to believe. Sorry about that. No amount of conservative dogma about cutting down trees is going to have an impact unless there is also acknowledgement of the reality of 1) climate change and the need to address and reverse it, 2) the contributory effect of population growth and development patterns in the west, 3) the ongoing disinvestment in natural resource and fire management by the GOP controlled Congress, and 4) an embrace of scientific fire management. Notice, I said management, not suppression. 150 years of very successful fire suppression, combined with climate change, population growth, and disinvestment got us where we are today. Relaxing environmental laws isn't going to change that.

  • byronbca Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 11:04 a.m.

    This is a perfect example of why global warming denying is costly.

    Republicans don’t believe in climate change, so they won’t put money in fighting climate change, so wild fires caused by climate change are larger than they should be because the government is unprepared.

    Now republicans are blaming government for not being prepared for a situation Republicans continue to deny is real.


  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:57 a.m.

    After reading through the comments, it looks like everyone would be against clear-cutting operations that indiscriminately cut down healthy living trees along with the dead. So let's take that off the table. On the other hand, it seems most are in favor of letting individuals or low impact commercial operations remove deadwood. So let's with something most everyone can agree on.

    Currently the forest service charges $15 - 75 for wood cutting permits. Arguably it's not a lot. But there is a hassle factor in getting it.

    *Step one: eliminate the permit requirement for gathering dead wood. Actively encourage people to do it.

    Also, the forest service in Utah currently gives out 9 different wilderness pins and badges for visiting each of the 9 areas. You send in a photo, agree to leave no trace, etc., to get the award.

    **Step two: offer healthy forest pins and badges to people who send in photos clearing dead wood from areas with explosive amounts of fuel.

    The national forests belong to us all. Given encouragement, people will gladly do their part in removing forest fire fuel. We mainly need the Forest Service to remove the barriers and offer a little encouragement.

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:53 a.m.

    Counties and city governments need to stop issuing building permits for houses that are located in areas prone to wild fires. What do you expect if houses are built in areas prone to wild fires. Developers an real estate interests have too much influence as to where development occurs.

  • FastestFalcon Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:35 a.m.

    Forget the government. Let logging companies harvest the dead timber and we can make some tax money off of it.
    When the government is over 20 Trillion in debt, you have to be thinking about how to MAKE money, not how to spend it.

  • Ron Swanson Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:29 a.m.

    How about we send someone to a heavily forested country to observe and learn proper forest management? Sweden does a great job thinning forests. Yes, Sweden has more moisture than Utah, but I rarely hear of major fire problems in Sweden.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:29 a.m.

    As one who has become disgusted with the partisan politics and lies of the Republican Party, I must confess that on this issue, I agree with Mitt. I agree with Mitt because he sounds so much like a "librul", "we need the gubmint to save us" on this one.

    So much for "principled" leadership in the Republican Party!

  • Rightasrain Heber City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:24 a.m.

    What needs to change are the laws and regulations which prohibit the thinning of forests, the cleaning of underbrush and the cleaning of rivers by both private and public entities. We should be thinning our forests and preventing wild fires. It happened for years and we had a robust timber industry in the United States. We have lost much of that.

    Those who start fires should also be held accountable. Why are we not naming the individual who started Dollar Ridge? Government officials know who it is. Rumor has it that he is a friend of the Governor and was burning some weeds and trash which got away from him. It is time to come forward and show some accountability, whoever you are.

    Change the laws, change the culture, save the forests and private property.

  • Johnny Triumph Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:21 a.m.

    Romney is missing the boat here, this issue is much larger than they're making it out to be. Invasive grasses and fire suppression policies have combined to create a tinderbox. When we see fires now they explode rapidly and we work like crazy to put them out. Let them burn, protect structures, and then provide budget to immediately follow the fire with native seeding processes.

  • someguyaaron Parowan, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 10:08 a.m.

    We had a small problem with “The bark Beatle”. Environmentalists fought and fought to stop spraying and won! So now, virtually every pine tree, of that species is gone, IN THE WORLD!
    As far as clearing of the trees. It would cost nothing, infact The logging companies would harvest the trees and make the roads at the same time. That is done by loggers regularly.
    By clearing areas in this fashion, it leaves all of the rest of the ground cover in place, therefore much less if any flooding.
    There is much that can be done, at not cost to anyone.
    But I guess if you are an angry Democrat you have a crystal ball that gives you power to point out the idiocy of us “anti-feral-gumming” people, to not be able to come up with any valuable Thought.
    I was so angry when Mitt Romney lost to President Obama, but I got over it in a few days. Not everything that a Republican says, is not automatically wrong!

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 9:37 a.m.

    Pine beetle infestation - exacerbated by climate change
    Extreme drought - climate change
    Hottest summers on record -climate change

    Possibly worst fire season ever - Government bureaucrats?

    Didn't we elect the current congress and presidential administration to ignore climate change? Which way do we want it?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 9:37 a.m.

    Mitt is already supporting and soothing the Donald's ego to get power in DC for his billionaire buddies. Watch him remain silent or support the Donald when possible.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 8, 2018 9:36 a.m.

    I wonder if Romney knows that controlled burns an easily get out of control?

    It happens more than you might think.

    Just this summer in Florida, 36 homes were destroyed when a "controlled burn" became uncontrollable.

    With as hot and windy as it is now, controlled burns are not a wise choice. Hot ashes can fly quite a ways.

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 9:10 a.m.

    It was entertaining to read Romney's comments and those of the locals. There is a whole lot of flip-flopping going on here.

    Romney wants the Feds to pay for sweeping the forests clean, which means higher taxes, a Republican thing.

    Romney hooked the locals that are "anti-feral-gummint" people that believe the private sector can do a better job. Now those people and Romney are saying the Federal gummint can do a better job. Which is it guys?

    Romney never says how he is going to pay the $billions to create all these new roads, clearcutting, cleaning the forest floors or thinning smaller trees.

    Republicans come up with great ideas on how to spend more money, but never a single idea on how to pay for their fantasies.

    Let's just use the Federal credit card. After all, Dick Cheney said deficits don't matter.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 9:01 a.m.

    Perhaps Mitt should call for more funding of the agencies that deal with these issues, including hiring more scientists. This would include the EPA. No more tax cuts. Let's properly fund our government. Mitt won't do that because he is a reed in the wind and will cave to the whims of the GOP in Washington.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 8:59 a.m.

    To Mike Twain, from Colorado, How could you possibly disagree with Romney on this issue? Have you not noticed the horrible forest fires of a couple of years ago in the Fort Wayne, Colorado area, that burned for weeks because of how much dead wood there was? Have you not noticed how many forest fires there are right now in Colorado? And the best you can do is criticize a candidate in Utah for wanting to do something to help the situation? You need to get out more, and away from your computer long enough to see that Mitt Romney is absolutely correct on this issue.

  • utahcoyote Saint George, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 8:59 a.m.

    year after year of budget cuts do make an impact on government organizations like the national park service and the national forest service. they have less and less money to do more and more with. then they have some politician appointed yahoo deciding how to spend the money, usually in some visual way with a fancy park museum or some such that isn't needed. you also have many politicians trying ensure that their relatives or the adult children of friends are hired as part of the annual summer hire by these organizations, instead of trained personnel.

    its easy for politicians like romney to blame the bureaucrats, even though those same bureaucrats are fighting a losing battle because of budget cuts initiated by the politicians. lot of the fires also burn in areas that are incredibly hard to access (yellowstone and yosemite fires). there could definitely be more done to eliminate some of the dead fuel in some areas, but many of the remote areas that is difficult to do. there is no easy solution, but any solution would require dramatically increasing available money during the fire season, and no one wants to discuss that.

  • wilson-kelly Nampa, ID
    Aug. 8, 2018 8:55 a.m.

    "Graze it, log it or watch it burn."
    And please point out in the Constitution where the Government is supposed to control wild fires.
    Really? Are they going to use super powers I am not aware of?
    Don't we have BLM agencies to manage the land? Oh. Not such a good example there.
    States need to control state land. That's Constitutional.
    I thought maybe Mr. Romney had found time since '08 for his lawyers to go over the Constitution with him.
    Maybe this year.

  • tryingtosmile salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 8:42 a.m.

    After listening to forestry experts on NPT yesterday. The trees that need to be cut are NOT what the loggers want. They want the giant trees not the small thin ones which are causing the problems. So the government needs to pay people because the lumber companies don't want the others. The government tried to get a separate bill through to handle this last year and it didn't pass. Yep lets to log all the beautiful redwood giants in Yosemite and along the coast. Trump said nothing about helping the fire personal. Just bashed something he doesn't understand. They have giant fire breaks cut into the forests. But it takes money which has been stripped from the budget to keep it maintained. So does Romney want all the old forest cut down too. There is only 1 percent left.

  • BestSolutions Orem, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 8:36 a.m.

    If Mitt wants my vote then he needs to get rid of aerial fireworks which started 12 fires in Orem this past July each of them near an acre. At least California did the obvious thing and banned fireworks. What about it Mitt, will you get rid of the Aerial Fireworks?

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    I think we should do what the forestry scientists.
    Do the scientists say we should do?
    Do they think we should do more prescribed burns? Fine.
    Do they say we should let people take more of the bark beetle dead wood out? Fine.
    Do they say that we should let nature take its course and let the fires burn? Fine.

    But I can guarantee that they dont believe that crisscrossing our national forests with roads so companies can clear cut our forests is a good idea.

    And much like they pretend to be 'constitutional scholars' and trump pretends to be presidential, I think that many posters are having fun pretending they are forestry scientists.

    You are not*.

    *Unless you actually are.

  • Mike Twain Palisade, CO
    Aug. 8, 2018 8:02 a.m.

    Mitt's gone off the deep end with the "The Donald" and Mike Noel. Let's oversimplify forest management and blame it all on the feds. I doubt if there is currently a National Forest in Utah that doesn't encourage fuel wood cutting, which won't make a dent in the fuel loading on NF's. And when it is cut, where are they going to burn it for firewood, the Wasatch Front in winter? That ought to help the miserable air quality. As for logging, let's build millions of dollars worth of roads with the taxpayers money, to get a pitiful amount of defect laden crap out of the mountains, that won't begin to pay for the road construction alone. Mitt must be mistaking Utah for Northern Idaho. Most of what burns in Utah is Pinyon-Juniper anyway, with virtually no commercial value, except for fuelwood (see above). Also, the biggest threat to grazing in Utah, like Colorado, is existing ranches (base property for the grazing permits) being sold and sub-divided for housing, hence no more ranches. I'll bet if you look at NF grazing allotments outside the Wasatch Front, they probably permit as many AUM's as they did 20 - 30 years ago.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:56 a.m.

    You tell 'em Mitt! Ignore that we're in an unprecedented drought. Ignore climate change. Just preach about how if we'd just cut all the trees down there'd be none left to burn.

  • Lia Sandy, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:53 a.m.

    But---but--trump said just the opposite...
    I'm confused.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:41 a.m.

    Utejb - Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 6:45 a.m.
    As I recall, the terrible Yellowstone fire about 25 years ago was a result of a “controlled” burn gone out of control. People were furious at “the government ”. I’m not sure that Romney’s right on this one...


    No, none of the Yellowstone fires started as controlled burns. One was chainsaw, others were lightning, and some causes were never determined. But none resulted from using fire as a management tool.

  • D Van Duker Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:37 a.m.

    Utejb: Actually, the Yellowstone fire was NOT a controlled burn. It started as a lightening strike. However; NPS decided to experiment, letting the original fire go as a "natural-burn;" figuring it would clear nearby deadwood...and then, burn itself out. When that didn't happen, NPS then made a second affirmative decision to let continue "naturally," as there weren't any structures in the expected path of the fire. The fire exited the park onto private property, the situation was an absolute mess.

    A LOT of people were unhappy with both the government's decisions and the outcome that burned a large swath through the park and surrounding private property. The Yellowstone fire was never a controlled burn. It was a series of bad [government] decisions.

    Ironically, NPS is STILL attempting to put a "happy face" on the mess. They have links on both Yellowstone's & the NPS webpages discussing how much we learned from the 1988 fire--that "fire is part of nature's natural cycle or renewal." In other words NPS says they made the right choice.

    This is one of the few subjects Mitt & I agree on.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:36 a.m.

    So we are to blame agencies that have not been allotted enough money by Congress to properly manage forests and who have been hampered by Congressionally mandated micromanaging that forced the agencies to bypass scientifically based environmental needs?

    Got it.

    Seems kinda funny -- in an unfunny way -- how Congress and candidates for Congress manage to hide their own responsibility for our problems by blaming those "awful bureaucrats."

  • InMyOpinionAlso sandy, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:29 a.m.

    A drive up U150 through the Uintas show that more than 50% of the trees are dead from the pine beetle infestation. I worry that the Uintas could go up like a match right now and we could have another "Yellowstone" on our hands. I and many others have purchased permits and harvested wood for years in the Uintas. This really helps thin out the dead material. I can't do that anymore because all the wood 100 yards from dirt roads is gone. If the forest service would bulldoze more temporary roads through already dead forest and let us get the wood out we could help reduce the fire danger. The damage of a few temporary paths that would grow back is well justified to reduce the danger to the whole forest. Let's help protect our forest and not let it burn like California.

  • OldSalt94 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:23 a.m.

    We thin our gardens and take out the weeds, we mow our lawns. Sometimes coerced by “the government” to do so. Proper management of OUR forests can be achieved if we get involved. Government by the people, for the people, of the people. Administrations swayed by special interest groups are an issue.
    I do like the idea of a Smoky the Bear patch.
    Every summer camp, the Boy Scouts are asked to help clean up dead and down trees.
    Maybe there needs to be a study done as to whether forest fires are more damaging to the air quality than a few hundred wood stoves/heaters.

  • StateTheFacts Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:20 a.m.

    Once again, Mr. Romney is spot-on. We the people complain about these horrible fires; but, we the people must demand our government manage our natural resources. Historical perspective can guild smart thinking and action to avoid the destruction to our environment. Better house-cleaning; i.e. forrest-cleaning will assist fire protection in the furture.

  • shirl Reno, NV
    Aug. 8, 2018 7:13 a.m.

    Romney does not say how he would pay for his ideas....what about this...every year the western states spend millions fighting fires...if the fires are early detected and properly prevented with the new technology Romney describes, those millions are available. ssj.

  • Allen C Christensen American Fork, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 6:48 a.m.

    One problem is tinder-dry grass and shrubs. A mixture of cattle and sheep and even goats can be run in forest lands to somewhat minimize that problem. The deer, elk and moose populations are not sufficient to control forest mast or the undergrowth that can be so explosive during droughts. We have eliminated the practice of grazing with by domestic livestock in some of our forests in the effort to get back to pure nature. Perhaps we need to revisit grazing practices and policies that could reduce the accumulations of mast levels that can and have led to such nasty and difficult to extinguish range and forest fires. A mixture of cattle and sheep is more effective that either species alone as they tend to graze and browse on different plants.

  • Utejb Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 6:45 a.m.

    As I recall, the terrible Yellowstone fire about 25 years ago was a result of a “controlled” burn gone out of control. People were furious at “the government ”. I’m not sure that Romney’s right on this one...

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 6:05 a.m.

    Mr. Romney's comments are the conservative thinking on this. We need better forest management to reduce the damage. Still fires are not worse this year.

  • Mark from Montana Davis County, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 5:32 a.m.

    For once, just once, I would a politician to say how they will pay for what they propose. After the huge tax cuts for the wealthy, we are now facing annual deficits of over a trillion dollars each and every year. It is sad that the last president to balance the budget was him of the 'blue dress'.

    For the first time in my life, I will not vote for the Republican nominee. The Republican Party has become the spend and borrow, spend and borrow party. As a veteran, I would rather see defense spending cut as national security is enhanced by improving our fiscal picture rather than adding more ships that break down.

    If Romney wants to add another billion or two to the budget for fighting fires, he needs to man up and say where the money will come from. He needs to propose real solutions that help fight increasing temps.

  • 3grandslams Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 4:53 a.m.

    I agree with Romney. The environment is ruined (look at our skies) because of misguided policies. The money spent on having clean, healthy forests, would be offset by spending less on fighting fires. Also clean forests prevents beetle infestation which is much more destructive than fires.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 4:34 a.m.

    Funny so many want to attack his wise comments on this issue. Yes thinning does reduce the severity of wildfires. Look at last year's Brian head fire, it burned for three days on State and private lands that had been responsibly cleared, and after those three days it had burned a total of 600 acres. Then it reached NFS lands that had not been cleared in decades and it exploded by 10,000 acres over night and continued to grow rapidly.

    And whatever the cause of the increase in fires, be it mismanagement, drought, or climate change, where is he wrong in proposing more resources and quicker federal response instead of leaving it at first to small understaffed rural volunteer fire Departments that often have little more than a grass truck as specialized equipment for such fires.

    Yes he is a politician, and yes what he's proposing will cost more money, and he fails to identify how it should be paid. But quicker responses by federal resources may prevent more fires from becoming these massive fires that consume far more resources to fight.

    Don't attack the idea just because of who proposed it, or because it might cost money. His points are valid suggestions.

  • reriding Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 1:15 a.m.

    The important sentence in the article is the final one: "Romney does not say in the essay how he would pay for his proposals."

    Logging companies certainly don't want the hassle or expense of cleaning up the dead wood or harvesting the small or diseased trees. They want the older, more substantial lumber, and to clear cut for their convenience.

    The Forest Service budget has been reduced to subsistence levels. Neither they nor the Dept of Interior have the money to clean up the forests, since they must pay to fight the fires each year.

    True to form, this problem has been ignored for dozens of years. Instead of going away, it has grown into a disaster.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 12:33 a.m.

    I’m not really in favor of the federal government getting more involved than they already are. Droughts and forest fires are natural.

    However, as many have already correctly pointed out it makes no sense for the government to prevent people from removing dead wood from the forest.

    And rather than charging people for permits, they should be thanked and given a smoky the bear badge for their public service.

    It makes no sense to watch it all go up in smoke in a giant conflagration while spending millions to try to put it out when it could be safely burned in a fire place or campfire.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 11:07 p.m.

    Fire season is 12 months long because of climate warming.

  • slackoff green river, WY
    Aug. 7, 2018 10:57 p.m.

    You are rite water rocket. how many of you have spent any time camping in any forest? Having been sternly chastised for pushing over a tree that was long since dead and told not to use any wood in the mountains for my cam,. That i should have brought my own, I learned how really stupid some of our ideas of forestry are. The government cannot prevent forest fires, but their policies don't do much to mitigate them.
    Romney is a politician, this essay should surprise me one. Politicians think government can and should have more control.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 10:37 p.m.

    To every single comment posted here I vehemently disagree! Removing dead trees does, in fact, help with fire prevention, as well as fire control. If you have ever been around dead pine trees when they are set on fire, they are so flammable that it is like gasoline was poured on them (and every bit as hot!). Years ago the forest service actually did allow the removal of dead and deceased trees. But the environmentalists argued that fire was nature's way of taking care of the problem, therefore we shouldn't interfere with the "natural processes" of nature. They further argued (perhaps correctly) that fire ashes actually help enrich the soils. What they fail to recognize is the flood potential, the loss of wildlife habitat, the watershed damage, and the loss of forestry products in the form of lumber that are lost, not to mention the pollution in the atmosphere that they are so determined to blame on us. Mitt Romney is not saying that we can prevent all forest fires, but we can mitigate them to some degree.

  • liberate Sandy, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 10:32 p.m.

    Let's just have the government fix everything.

    It's comical to me how these guys go back and forth depending no the issue and time of day. No, the federal govt should not manage OUR lands. Yes, they should be responsible for fixing any problems that come up.

    Which is it, guys?

  • Legal? Saint George, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 10:27 p.m.

    How do Mr. Romney's comments disrespect fallen firefighters?

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Aug. 7, 2018 10:27 p.m.

    Some reasons for forest fires:

    * Forests need to be thinned out and dead wood cleared. Government regulations has restricted logging and picking up dead wood for fireplaces.

    * Natural occurring lightning.

    * People purposely setting fires. Sometimes creating good paying employment to fight them and other times because of mental illness.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 10:12 p.m.

    Studies have actually shown that thinning a forest doesn't really do all that much to slow fire spread and even results in more trees burned, like in one 2003 study looking at the 2002 Hayman fire in Colorado where as a result of the fire the lost 50% of trees in the unthinned forest but 90% in the thinned forest because it burned hotter thanks to the layer of debris from the thinning and all the grasses/shrubs. The fire even moved faster in the thinned area.

    In that study and others you need prescribed burns to reduce problems, but of course the problem with those is that you can't really do them near structures and well... sometimes they get out of control.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 9:58 p.m.

    How does government prevent wildfires?

  • eldonp Parowan, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 9:59 p.m.

    Is Mr. Romney taking a page from the presidential playbook here: change the subject and blame the government? Perhaps. A closer look at his reasonable essay reveals that he wisely admits to having not a great deal of expertise on the subject of wildfires. Yes, it would be good if people could find common ground on this subject. But first it's necessary to define the problem. Half of wildfires are human caused. Is the government to blame for this? When wildfires start on private land, as the Brian Head fire did, is the government to blame? Has the government caused the spread of bark beetles, decreased snowpack or global warming? Again, the answer is clearly no.
    Even if we accept the premise that "the government" can do a better job of managing our forests, it's a simplistic cop-out to blame it for all these disasters. What is actually "unarguable" is that the problem is way more complex than simply pointing a finger at Uncle Sam.

  • stevo123 Driggs, ID
    Aug. 7, 2018 9:27 p.m.

    This is a huge disrespect of fallen wild lands firefighters.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 7, 2018 9:01 p.m.

    Where do you stand on climate change and the science that finds we will be leaving a burning, dried planet for future generations? Listen to the scientist instead of the political pundits.