Unhealthy forests, wildfires and few dollars add up to tragedy in the West

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  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    Nov. 20, 2018 7:00 p.m.

    Forest management doesn't mean clear cutting for lumber or not cutting anything for owls.

    Forest management needs to be balanced with selective harvests to thin in some areas and maintain old growth in others. It isn't a one size fits all answer.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Nov. 19, 2018 11:36 p.m.

    The federal government continues to make land grabs, as with the Bears Ears National Monument....,.. with little regard for taking care of those lands.

  • Harrison Bergeron Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2018 12:46 p.m.

    Amy Joi O'Donoghue thank you for your time on this piece. Sometimes I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but articles like this give me hope that it's still alive. I'm very happy to see people in the forest service acknowledge the real problem and propose solutions that work based on free marked principles.

    There is so much common sense in this article, I don't have much to add except this: remove the permit requirement for removal of dead wood. There is absolutely no reason to make people jump through hoops and pay money to help make our forests healthy. We need Smokey the bear to encourage ordinary people to remove dead wood from the forests.

  • Liberal On Planet Zion SLC, UT
    Nov. 19, 2018 12:23 p.m.

    For members of the low information demographic, regardless of the amount of acreage owned in Sacramento {I own a home in Carmel Valley} I direct you to the comment from the president of the Pasadena Firefighters Association, Scott Austin, “Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong, the fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts & help the victims." Well. There you have it. Facts! Once again the Embarrassment and Chief has absolutely no idea what he is talking, and or tweeting about! Forest management has absolutely nothing to do with mountain winds coming down the passes at 70 mph! Or humidity levels in one hour dropping from 35% into single digits, dryer than most deserts. It’s the equivalent of taking funds from the National Hurricane Center until you stop all the hurricanes. How absolutely absurd! These people have experienced tragedy, anguish and suffering enough for several lifetimes yet trump and his minions attack California state officials. Beyond nauseating! Regurgitating misinformation certainly doesn’t t help in the least. Educate yourselves prior to posting! You’re re welcome.

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Nov. 19, 2018 7:40 a.m.

    Yes, Jim Chee, I AM "certified" to be saying what I said. Proper forest management means clearing dead wood from forests and to some extent, taking out a certain number of trees to keep the forests in a good balance of trees and sunlight. Obviously these practices can't happen everywhere, so management practices try to focus on forests closest to "civilization". Unfortunately, that proximity to "civilization" makes it more in the view of people who fight against the practice. And yes, many people rant over this practice, yet it is best for the forest and the neighboring people. Have you heard of hunting being called harvesting? It is the same principle. By allowing some of the animals to be hunted, it thins the herd to a manageable level where the animals can flourish and survive winter grazing ranges.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 19, 2018 7:33 a.m.

    Thanks to ‘environmentalists’ we didn’t put fire breaks in national forests for many years. When President Trump got into office he changed that. He could see the folly of no fire breaks and he put a stop to that policy.

    California still doesn’t put fire breaks in their forests until the fire is raging, This puts firefighter lives at risk.

  • Kodiak2014 Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 11:16 p.m.

    Mad Hatter and my comment of the Sacramento area is the area serviced by CDF out of Sacramento and also the area of responsibility for approval of harvest plans which now has been unfortunately transferred even further away to Fresno. As a native of Sacramento and having lived there for 50 years, I am well aware of not only the topography but where timberlands exist. Every day there is a possibility that government lands not logged will end up with one of my properties paying the price as happened in the Carr Fire. Also the Forest Service does not allow me to manage my own property. Whether it be the yellow legged frog or the spotted owl the Forest Service with its supporters in the Sierra Club or even worse Earth First have crippled the timber industry in Nor. CA. Mills have gone out of business, and Canada in spite of tariffs is laughing at our stupidity. Now that tariffs have been brought up, it should be known that we used to have the ability to ship logs to China through Oakland but because of Trump’s trade war, that is no longer an option and now New Zealand is reaping the benefit

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Nov. 18, 2018 11:13 p.m.

    The eastern US has more rain fall and trees. They seldom have huge forest fires.

    If human activity can effect climate, why not make California more rainy?

  • Sophie 62 Spring City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:56 p.m.

    While the article does a good job of describing forest management as a factor, it fails to mention either the extreme and lengthy drought in the West, or climate change.
    Lengthy drought makes trees more vulnerable to bark beetles and other pests, in addition to making everything terribly dry. It makes attempted controlled burns very difficult to control.
    Some of the big fires in Utah this year started as contolled burns. It isn't a magic bullet.
    We've had occasional years of relief from the droughts, but they're not going to go away. Climate change is real and is one of the biggest factors in all of these fires. It isn't going away just because some people refuse to believe it.
    Responsible logging and careful management of the forests are crucial. And so is getting real about climate change.
    It all costs money.
    Congress needs to quit wasting vast money on foolish tax breaks for billionaires who don't need them and do their jobs properly managing our precious forests.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:39 p.m.

    "Bring the logging businesses back from Canada and allow citizens to pick firewood for their fireplace."

    Heroic trump has already undertaken to do that. Canada, it turns out, has far greater capacity than the USA to produce things like dimension lumber, OSB and pulpwood. The trump tariffs have not nearly as much subsidised American industry as they've made those items more expensive to American buyers.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:03 p.m.

    @Mad hatter.
    I have some understsnding of Western States concerns having grown up in the West, gone to school in the West, and having the opportunity quite frequently visit my extended family in the West. Of course, it’s different than forests Michigan and Vermont. The info I have is from men and women from the West who worked at Interior whose life’s work was protecting natural resources, property and lives of people in the West.

    @Jim Chee.
    Nixon and Reagan were not dictators. And Nixon didn’t really care to oppose the environmental lobby, eventually signing into law environmentalists favorite bureaucracy, the EPA.

    Reagan tried to roll back rabid environmentalism by putting the “Sagebrush Rebellion’s” James Watt in charge at Interior. Enviro-bureaucrats did everything they could to undermine Watt, and he was forced to resign for politically incorrect expression after serving only 2 years. You might want to read Watt’s own writings rather than rabid environmentalists writing about Watt, for some perspective.

    After the lives lost and property destroyed, Active Forest Management ought to be a no-brainer. But, in today’s political climate.....

  • zipadeedoodah Lehi, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:40 p.m.

    I would like to understand what the vegetation treatment means/involves.

    I also would appreciate people to back off the political attacks. Focus on creating solutions instead of destroying things and people. It gets so old.

  • Joe Leaphorn Scottsdale, AZ
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:19 p.m.

    Kodiak2014 - Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 2:48 p.m.

    "This fire, started by a careless act of a private property owner no doubt spread more quickly because of not having been properly harvested."

    No, reports are that the fire in Northern California started from a spark generated by a defective PG&E electrical transformer that was scheduled for maintenance. Apparently the maintenance was delayed.

    The same happened in Southern California with the added problem of the Santa Ana winds spreading it faster than responders could act. Friends said they could watch it race along the ridgeline above their homes in eastern Ventura County toward the Sana Monica mountains. There is no forest in this area. It is all scrub and brush interspersed among areas of residential and commercial development. You had rivers of fire moving in addition to new fires popping up, sometimes a mile from the original fires being fought. The first night was a terror for a quarter million people living in its path.

    Probably the difference in over-all destruction force is the more rapid response of fire fighters and resources in these more urban areas north of Los Angeles and more roads out of the danger area.

    Nov. 18, 2018 8:17 p.m.

    "Unhealthy forests, wildfires and few dollars add up to tragedy in the West"

    The poor understanding of natural processes and humanity's place in that process is the real tragedy. Fire is a natural process that occurred millions of years before mankind and isn't going to be stopped by a perennially underfunded National Forest Service. If we want to continue to build in areas prone to natural disasters we need to build smarter homes that can withstand fires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. We know how, we just choose to pay up only after disaster happens, rather than take the cheaper route of requiring safer, but more expensive buildings.

  • Just want to know...... Northern Utah, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:05 p.m.

    Being a former Alaskan, like Kodiak mentioned in several responses above, it is the environmentalists who cause many/most of the problems-- and the years and years it takes to get permits. Some things just have to go, and old and dead trees out of a dense forest is one of them.

    Those of you who have not lived around forests have no idea how hard it is to get permits these days. Thank goodness we still have the few lumberjacks we have. Many mills closed down in the 80's because of the protectionists, and many jobs went away. Now we are buying most of our timber from Canada. Go figure......

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:05 p.m.

    Why do we have to blame anyone? Nature has done this for centuries.

  • Surf is Up Miami, FL
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:06 p.m.

    @one old man - MSC, UT, while some of what you say has validity, blaming it on Trump is unfair.

    Although some of his current policies (or lack thereof) are not destined to help-- this problem has evolved over decades. Trump has only been president for two years.

    I believe that much of the blame is on the environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, who have lobbied against forest clearing-- all in the name of preventing "deforestation" and other issues dear to the environmentalist heart. The result has been sick forests, too much dead wood, and forests that were under-harvested.

    California has doubled down on based on "climate change" fears. Nobody knows exactly what the changing climate is about, and what really causes it; but knee-jerk reactions taken by people with an agenda other than the welfare of forests etc, have opened the door wide for these type of calamities.

    Government does share a blame too IMO.

  • Mad Hatter Santa Fe, NM
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:05 p.m.

    Kodiak2014 - Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 2:48 p.m.

    "I have 4000 acres of timber in what I call the Sacramento area. North to Redding and East to Tahoe. I lost 150 of those acres in the Carr Fire. I am in the process of logging 900 acres just South of Pollock Pines . . . "

    My comment is related to what you refer to as the "Sacramento area". There are no forests in the Central Valley. Pollock Pines is in the Sierra Nevada mountains beyond the foothills. My point is that much of the conversation in this thread is over "forest management" where these fires are not in forested lands.

    Sure, you can make reference to Sacramento and Redding within the Valley, but the forests are to the East. It was just to correct a geographical reference. Paradise was also in the Valley, outside the Plumas National Forest. It was wooded, but not with trees loggers would necessarily want to harvest. And unlike Southern California with the scrub and brush, a discussion of forest management is appropriate for other regions along the Sierra Nevada front from East of Fresno to North of Redding.

    As you know, the Central Valley stretches from Fresno to Bakersfield like a massive, elongated serving dish.

  • FelisConcolor Layton, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:01 p.m.

    Pine beetle infestations, which are a supposed harbinger of Climate Change, are actually a natural occurrence that benefits fire-dependent species such as lodgepole pine.

    Back in the early 1980s, during the previous major pine beetle infestation in the West, hundreds of thousands of acres of mature lodgepole pine forest were killed.

    The Forest Service responded by clear cutting large amounts of dead and dying pine trees, thus mitigating the fire danger. You can see the results of the clear cuts today along Highway 20 in Island Park, Idaho, and Highway 191 from Flaming Gorge to Vernal.

    The National Park Service, which was restricted from logging by law and was promoting the "fire is good" philosophy, did nothing but let Nature take its course.

    During the drought in the late 1980s, the Uintas did not burn. But large chunks of Yellowstone went up in smoke.

    Careful use of logging can prevent massive forest fires. It should be used whenever and wherever it is possible.

  • bullet56 Tumwater, WA
    Nov. 18, 2018 6:29 p.m.

    I wish the news story here would have detailed what is involved in "treatment". There are consequences to each and every action done in the forest. Song birds and other animals depend on the under brush for their life needs. Dead trees are of value to Raptors, and some mammals, as well as wild mushroom collectors. There was no mention of how the average Western U.S. temperatures are climbing year to year, and how drought years play a role. Don't make my National forest look like a golf course landscaped for a single purpose.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 5:36 p.m.

    pro logging" does NOT mean a person is pro clear cutting forests! Removing old growth, deceased and dead trees simply provides a way to promote a healthy forest, where new growth can occur, and animals can survive and thrive..

  • Kodiak2014 Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 4:42 p.m.

    Marxist, AGW is a cop out and Governors such as Jerry Brown wringing his hands over it and putting the blame on GW is sticking one’s head in the sand and feeling sorry for one’s self. Harvested trees not only don’t burn, they make it harder for a crown fire, the fastest burning type timber fire, to even exist. Also if drought is responsible for the unhealty forests, harvested trees don’t need nor use water. Control burns are also not the solution. A pine, fir, or cedar has a life span of between 125 to 150 years. The old will die if not harvested and the young replacement seedlings are killed off in a control burn. The only answer to our forest problems is sustained logging and treating our forests as we would any other crop. Thinning is an important part of management and also provides needed funds.

  • olsarge8 Boulder, MT
    Nov. 18, 2018 3:30 p.m.

    Yes, always Trump to lay the blame on, right! But rather, why not consider that over populating various areas of scrub brush, scantily treed forests, etc like in California, where people decide to have their own personal hill or hill side , mountain tops covered with scrub brush and build houses thereon to get away from it all, or to look down upon the folks down below!

    Did anyone ever consider or even think about that the environment once fresh and clean, irrigated naturally, and regularly, that these areas simply cannot handle the strain of the invasion of these lands because of the pressure of over population! One simply has to go back some years ago,and look at how many of these areas burned up through wild fires, and compare them with today rampant wildfires today! I speak of California, and where was Trump back then?

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Nov. 18, 2018 3:15 p.m.

    When a lumber company buys trees from the U S Forest Service, the money goes directly to the U S Treasury. It does not go into a Forest Service account, so when money is needed to clear brush or fund a control burn, it has to come from a congressional appropriation. The US Congress has been very reluctant to fund fuel reduction on the National Forests. Blame for this can be placed on Congress, regardless of which party is in control for the last 60 years.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 2:59 p.m.

    AGW is driving the disease process in our nation's forests. In time we will acknowledge this, but by then we will have lost most of our conifer forests.

  • Kodiak2014 Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 2:48 p.m.

    Mad Hatter, I have 4000 acres of timber in what I call the Sacramento area. North to Redding and East to Tahoe. I lost 150 of those acres in the Carr Fire. I am in the process of logging 900 acres just South of Pollock Pines so please don’t lump me in with those that get their information from the news conservative or otherwise. I know how hard it is to get a plan approved. I also know what it is like to have the enviro terrorists that seem to control the CA government put lengthy halts to the process. I also don’t think I need to be reminded of the type of landscape surrounding Sacramento to the North and East. Environmental and pro pot policies of CA are a huge part of the problem. When I first moved to Cedar City, to get away from those policies BTW, I went to Cedar Breaks and saw the unhealthy forest ready to be ignited. I even heard a young ranger sing the praises of the bark beetle as a part of proper forest management. 9 months later in that very same forest the Brian Head fire erupted. This fire, started by a careless act of a private property owner no doubt spread more quickly because of not having been properly harvested. Harvested trees don’t use water

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Nov. 18, 2018 2:24 p.m.

    The fix is very simple.

    Bring the logging businesses back from Canada and allow citizens to pick firewood for their fireplace.

    Of course! California government officials are going to be against this.

  • Paul8777 Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 2:17 p.m.

    We will only solve this problem when we all rake like our lives depend on it. The President said it, and we need to follow his sage advice.

  • Mackenzie Iwamoto Bronx, NY
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:58 p.m.

    PhxAggie - Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:42 a.m.

    "President Trump is pointing out a problem in the West that has become worse over the past several decades . . . Instead, the "hands-off" approached promoted by the environmental left has allowed forest and public lands to grow."

    I think you give the environmental movement too much power since most of these "past several decades" have been under conservative, business-friendly governments hostile to the environmentalists. However, people may be convinced by environmental concerns and want better planning and remediation efforts.

    It might be good to have this discussion come out into the open since Donald Trump said that it is a "forest management problem" and those responsible for protecting our wildlands and forests what they are doing and how they came to their decisions. This is better than having a group of uninformed politicians and media talking heads discussing the issue when they have no expertise on the subject.

    Obviously, Trump is only repeating something he heard on television, probably Fox News. He does not consult with people from the Interior Department and only yesterday saw the devastation that the fires create.

  • Mad Hatter Santa Fe, NM
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:47 p.m.

    Kodiak2014 - Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:00 p.m.

    "The Sacramento area, a place where a lot of large fires have developed, is especially a culprit."

    It appears that many of the pro-logger comments are from people getting their information from conservative media sites and are not aware that these fires were not in heavily forested areas where loggers want to harvest trees. Even more alarming is the suggestion that logging would have prevented the fires from spreading and destroying lives and property in Southern California.

    As for the Sacramento area being a place of "large fires", a question arises about your knowledge of the Sacramento area. You do realize that it is in the Central Valley and the area extends north and south in the Valley, right? Also, to the West is low hills of the Coast Range and to the East the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, right? So how does lumbering and "good forest management" apply in this area?

    Now, if you go further East into the Sierras, following U.S. 80 toward Reno or U.S. 50 toward Lake Tahoe, you get into dense forest, but the fires in the Sacramento region are much like the fires of Southern California, dry scrub and brush.

  • robin138 springfield, VA
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:40 p.m.

    While on active duty in the USAF, I served at Arnold Engineering Center in Tennessee. It is an enormous base, with many trees. The Facilities folks practice controlled burns to get rid of the undergrowth and lessen the likelihood of a fire. It is a practice that costs money, but is very effective. So are wide, bulldozed firebreaks when done in advance of wildfire and maintained as a fire break. It all takes money. Clear cutting by logging companies with resultant mud slides is not the answer. Building roads in advance helps fire fighters get to and control blazes works, but the road network needs to be well thought out and done in advance. It is effective but costs money. Everything that prevents wildfire is expensive. If people choose to build in an area that may burn, they are taking a risk and should pay an impact fee to develop fire prevention measures and much higher home owners insurance.

  • Mad Hatter Santa Fe, NM
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:21 p.m.

    Vermonter - Plymouth, MI
    Nov. 18, 2018 7:55 a.m.

    " . . . the Environmental Lobby and their related organizations (Sierra Club, etc.) must take the lion’s share of the blame."

    You need to take a trip out to California and you will find it very different from Michigan or Vermont. It's dry. And the areas you blame environmentalists for are not the lush forests of Vermont or Upper Michigan, but the scrub and brush of a desert.

    The Paradise area is not thick forest, but foothill country interspersed with pine trees. It is nothing like coastal NorCal where the environmentalist waged their battle to save the redwoods and the Spotted Owl. Also, you suggest the Sierra Club has monumental political power when conservatives ran both the nation and the state.

    The issues are complicated, to be sure, but corrective action needs attention. The fires in California this Fall were started by power transformer malfunctions according to the reports, with sparks getting into dry brush. In SoCal, the only trees involved (except for small scrub growing in the hills) were landscape trees in people yards and along the roadways which dried out due to the fire and then burned themselves.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:10 p.m.

    Not one use of the term "climate change" in that whole article!

    Yup, it's all our fault because we don't rake the leaves.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:09 p.m.

    Old Chinese proverb:

    "You get what you vote for".

    South America, California, Africa, Detroit, Mexico, and most of the world through history.

    With greater leadership,--California could have avoided most all of its problems.

  • Jim Chee Lahaina, HI
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:06 p.m.

    Vermonter - Plymouth, MI
    Nov. 18, 2018 7:55 a.m.

    "This has been brewing for close to 50 years. Shortly after the first Earth Day in 1970, the new younger generation at the Department of Interior scrapped active forest management as environmentally unsound and even damaging."

    Please explain yourself. Richard Nixon was president and Ronald Reagan was governor of California. It is difficult that these two men would have been harboring hippies liberals in their respective administrations. Although there is some controversy over forest management, these administrations were not anti-business and therefore anti-logging.

    One of the other issues is that by removal of vegetation, including dry or dead vegetation, can result in destabilization of soil held by the roots and lead to increase risks of mudslides. We saw this in previous years where wildfires burned up the brush and rains later caused hillsides to slide into homes in Southern California, trapping and killing residents.

    Those who clamor for removal of trees and other vegetation need to understand that even a dried-out plant has roots that hold the soil in place. Good practice includes planting trees and smaller plants.

  • one old man MSC, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 1:01 p.m.

    Herbert Gravy - Salinas, CA
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:27 a.m.
    @one old man

    President Trump is not "The Lone Ranger" here.

    There is plenty of "ignorance" to go around. This situation has taken MANY years to develop to its current level of seriousness. It is so easy to lay the blame on President Trump.

    Ignorance on this particular subject can be shared by you, me and many others including some of our fellow posters.


    Herbert, I wasn't blaming trump for the existing situation but for his abject ignorance of the HISTORY of the mess. A history replete with lawmakers who have simply ignored what has been learned by science and professional forest managers.

    Exactly the same kind of dismal dimness that is preventing us from dealing effectively with climate change.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:46 p.m.

    Well, we've exposed a number of the causes, the sins of the past that have created this problem. Government, of course, and environmentalists, and political correctness. The cause, and I agree with this sentiment, is not trump. However, we keep overlooking the fact that he's supposed to be the solution. He's vanquished those old foes, political correctness and government. Demonised the environmentalists. Banished science. Imposed the tariffs on those evil Canadians and their lumber. We're well on our way to solving this problem, with our fearless leader in charge. Or is he just out raking weeds?

  • madirishman Seattle, WA
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:31 p.m.

    Great ideas. Let’s pay the lumber companies to harvest the forest for the wood no one wants. Then let’s hire tens of thousands of rual workers without jobs and pay them millions of dollars to go through the forest and cut the underbrush. Then we can build acess roads through all the roadless wildness areas. We will throw money from the federal government at these unproven and untested suggestions . Who says people from Utah lack critical thinking skills ?

  • Joe Leaphorn Scottsdale, AZ
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:26 p.m.

    "At 6:15 a.m. on Nov. 8, a PG&E high-voltage line near the Poe Dam generating station in Butte County malfunctioned. A report of fire came at 6:29." -- Los Angeles Times

    This is how the devastating fire that destroyed Paradise, CA, started in the foothills outside of Chico, CA. It was not started by a lightning strike. Nor was it started by an unattended campfire. Instead it came from a electrical transformer which had been scheduled for maintenance that was delayed. It is debatable whether to call the area "forest", but it was not like in Southern California where there is only scrub and dry brush. Here were dry trees, dry pine needles on roofs ready to respond to a spark, and a situation so representative of California.

    Fire season to California and other parts of the West is like hurricane season in the coastal Southeast United States. Although I am not familiar with the Paradise area, I am familiar with other parts of the Northern California Central Valley that extend into the foothills. Not quite the Sierra Nevada mountains, but just on the edge where people and nature are in close proximity. Good forest management practices don't apply here. People management does apply.

  • Jim Chee Lahaina, HI
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:06 p.m.

    Opinionated - Sandy, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 9:57 a.m.

    " . . . environmentalists rant and scream every time someone wants to cut down a tree. Government caves to these radicals and doesn't allow proper forest management. "

    Are you a forester? Do you have responsibility in natural resources management? Are you getting your information from television? What are "proper forest management practices"? Indiscriminate logging? Exactly how do you know that "environmentalists rant and scream every time someone wants to cut down a tree"?

    Of course there is the move to protect old-growth redwood forests from lumber interests. And there are habitat concerns for endangered species, but there is not "rant and scream" when a tree is scheduled to be cut down. Proper forest management means just what it says. We protect our forests and manage them properly. There may be controversy in this, but there is potential controversy in everything we do. We want to protect our national parks, and certainly hunters and fisher people want to protect those areas where they enjoy their sport.

    And then move out of the forest and consider those greater areas of human-wild lands interface like you have in SoCal.

  • Kodiak2014 Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:00 p.m.

    The Forest Service is only starved of money because the environmentalists have made it so difficult and unprofitable to log the forests. This agency used to make a profit rather than cost us money. CA is the worst of culprits where it can take 3 to 5 years to get a harvest plan approved and over $50k. Sometimes money is paid out on a plan just to not be alowed to log at all. In the mean time we import timber from Canada because of cost which puts our small logging companies out of business. The Sacramento area, a place where a lot of large fires have developed, is especially a culprit. Sierra Pacific has a lock on the market left, and has bought and closed down 6 mills that were losing money because of theses imports. You want the Forrest Service to have money, make it easier to log our Forests. This will also put loggers to work and make it possible for mills to remain profitable. If not, continue to cave to environmental extremists and no amount of pain will be out of reach

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 11:34 a.m.

    When we lived in Germany the government cut down the dead and diseased trees. Some of the wood was sold to citizen's for their fireplaces, which I know creates another problem. The trees were labeled and the citizens came to that spot and cut up the tree and hauled it away. The point is they cut down the dead and diseased trees, eliminating fuel for fires. Courts told the tree huggers to go back to America.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 11:00 a.m.

    To "one old man", you say "The TRUTH is that the Forest Service and other land management agencies have begged for funding to try to reduce fuel loads only to be ignored by Congress." Now if you are really an "old man" you will remember how decades ago forestry management was handled by the forest service marking designated trees that could be "harvested" by lumber companies who actually PAID the Forest Service for the rights to harvest these trees. In addition, these logging companies would build roads at their expense to haul the trees out, thus creating better road access to the remote areas if and when a fire should occur. Then the so called environmentalists (naturalists) got involved to stop ALL logging, block access to the logging roads, and "let nature take its course". The bottom line here is not for Congress to provide more funding for "proper management" but to let private industry do it at a profit to the Forest Service.

  • Biscuit Orem, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:51 a.m.

    You can either maintain the forests or fight forest fires later on.
    Maintaining forests is way cheaper.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:44 a.m.

    These solutions take money. After the GOP gave millionaires, billionaires and corporations 1.5 trillion dollar tax cuts, there's no money left for trivial things like forest management, clean air and water or future planning.

  • PhxAggie Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:42 a.m.

    President Trump is pointing out a problem in the West that has become worse over the past several decades. No government entities from the Forest Service to the Interior Department, EPA and local governments are properly managing the lands to mitigate fire potential. Instead, the "hands-off" approached promoted by the environmental left has allowed forest and public lands to grow without thinning of the forest, building of roads for fire lines and treating low lying grasses and vegetation. Fires then burn out of control. I see it every summer in Northern Arizona and in Utah. Finally in Arizona the Forest Service is adopting some common sense measures to create fire lines. Trump has a very good point and maybe it's not completely the Forest Service fault, but all the groups that manage our public lands are out of control and are failing to manage it properly. Yes, let's identify and cast blame at the problem and then fix it. I don't understand the comments to not point fingers. How will we fix it if we ignore the people and groups that are causing the problems? These groups will still resist change and cling to the idea that nature should have uninhibited growth.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:31 a.m.

    Lumber companies don't want the dead trees that are ideal to be cleared, so they generally have to be paid by the government to clear those and that gets expensive.

    Thinning of forests has been shown in studies to have a temporary effect, only buying 10-15 years of reduced explosive fire risk until it grows back in in such a way that it's actually even worse than it was without any clearing at all so we'd have to repeated pay for plenty of locations around the country.

    With the Camp Fire, a sizeable chunk of that burned area burned in a previous fire 10 years ago (Humboldt fire between Paradise and Chico) so that section would have been less vulnerable but it easily got engulfed anyway.

    And the area near Malibu affected by the Woolsey Fire... that's not even a forest.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:27 a.m.

    @one old man

    President Trump is not "The Lone Ranger" here.

    There is plenty of "ignorance" to go around. This situation has taken MANY years to develop to its current level of seriousness. It is so easy to lay the blame on President Trump.

    Ignorance on this particular subject can be shared by you, me and many others including some of our fellow posters.

    It is so much easier to be a critic than a problem solver.

    I think most thinking people would agree.


  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:17 a.m.

    @Impartial 7

    President Trump, overall, seems to have a much greater "grasp on reality" than most of us, it appears.

    Forests need to be managed, just like everything else in our lives. President Trump has accomplished a lot by facing realities that his predecessors either ignored or overlooked.

    By allowing grazing on forest lands by both cattle and sheep would help a lot. Goats would get the last of the undergrowth.🤗

    My "thoughts and prayers" are with you, me and everyone else who has an interest in solving this problem.

    Failure to do so will result in the loss of lives and family homes and other properties.

    Time for us all to wake up. What are we thinking?


  • whatsup1 Kekaha, HI
    Nov. 18, 2018 10:07 a.m.

    Lumber companies want lumber, they don't want to bid on forest service trees because it's unprofitable, it's unprofitable because the forest services has made it so. Private people who can still use fireplaces would love to harvest a tree or so for firewood. Ranchers would love to be able to get fence posts, and lumb e companies would like to make a profit.

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 9:57 a.m.

    RE:oneoldman "It's far too easy to cast blame." I noticed. You are so good at it though.

    I find it interesting this article points out that there is little demand for wood products. Everyone screams to "save the forest" by asking people to not use paper products. That reduces demand for wood products. Kind of a catch-22, correct?

    Then environmentalists rant and scream every time someone wants to cut down a tree. Government caves to these radicals and doesn't allow proper forest management. Well, guess what? Fires like these are the results. Proper forest management requires harvesting trees. If that becomes politically incorrect, houses and communities are destroyed instead of trees.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:56 a.m.

    Let's manage CA like Trump's pal in Finland, they have relatively little forest fires. Because Trump says "they rake the floors and clean and do other things, so it's not a problem". Someone needs to show him a globe and explain that in Finland it snows much of the year and rains during the 2 summer months where temps get to 65, not 105 with 60 mph Santa Ana winds. Finland is described, technically as mostly marshland while CA is categorized as Mediterranean desert.
    But, Trump says that he wants "great climate" for California, and "so we're going to have great climate". Is anyone else concerned about Trump's perception of reality?

  • Delcore Draper, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 8:28 a.m.

    There has been a war on lumber and grazing in utah for decades, and now we wonder why we have a problem with tree and vegetation overgrowth. It is so frustrating. If you spend decades killing off the small lumber companies you shouldn't wonder why they aren't there to help when you ask. Now they want the tax payers to fund hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain their manufactured problem. I says kick them all out and go back more common sense before we give them another dime to waste.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Nov. 18, 2018 7:55 a.m.

    This has been brewing for close to 50 years. Shortly after the first Earth Day in 1970, the new younger generation at the Department of Interior scrapped active forest management as environmentally unsound and even damaging. The old guard at Interior put a fight. But they were on their way out the door through retirement (in many cases, forced retirement).

    Assign blame where you may (Congress, the Forest Service, California Government officials beholden to the environmental lobby), but over a 1000 people are likely dead, and billions in property destroyed because California and Western States have failed to actively manage their forests for the past 50 years.

    You can blame Congress or President Trump (how I don’t know), but the Environmental Lobby and their related organizations (Sierra Club, etc.) must take the lion’s share of the blame. To say it was an epic fail is a huge understatement with all the death and destruction.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 7:44 a.m.

    Excellent article and addresses several of the points I have tried to make but no one ever listens to. Mainly, the forest service is starved of budget and literally does not have the funds to do controlled burns properly and remove dead timber. You can't starve an agency of money and then complain that they aren't doing their job properly.

    Second, there just isn't that much interest in lumber in this state. Everyone blames the forest service for logging not happening, but as the article pointed out they put out lumber permits and they almost always go unclaimed. People act like the lumber industry is just salivating at the doors and the forest service just won't let them in. In reality there just isn't that much interest in harvesting timber in Utah.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 6:54 a.m.

    If you never mowed your lawn for 30 years, your house might burn down.

    No roads, no grazing, no timbering contributes to a hazard to people, wildlife and property.

    Yet, that' s what the Central Wasatch Commission (old Mountain Accord) is promoting today with its new federal legislation for 79,000 acre of new roadless, no grazing, no timbering "Recreation and Conservation Area"

    Very poo and unrealistic r thinking, poor policies, and poor forest management have created very unhealthy forests. The Forest Service management bears liability and should pay for the portion of the damage they caused.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Nov. 18, 2018 6:07 a.m.


    Thank you for making suggestions to mitigate the problems that we will be facing for many more years to come.

    Blame is easy, but blame doesn't solve problems. Time for the Administration to propose and lobby for the money needed to protect our heritage forests and our homes. Most likely this will take bitter pills to both environmentalislists and conservatives. However, the house is literally on fire and solutions, imperfect though they may be, are mandated.

    When it is all over, if it is over given climatic changes, we can sort out who/what caused this and other disasters. Until then, we should all tell our representatives at all levels of government to make this a priority. Our lives and our homes are at stake. And "thoughts and prayers" don't cut it.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:46 a.m.

    Blaming Trump? Really?
    As if the dead vegetation just appeared in the last two years...

    The EPA also has a large budget. They spend part of it on monitors for anyone working on right-of-ways ( railroads, telecommunication lines, pipelines, etc) and make sure they don’t cut down any of the overgrowth. Ironic, but the EPA actually is making our forests less healthy.

    One solution is to require those working on right of ways through forest ground to clean a certain amount of overgrowth and actually use those monitors to help improve the forest.

    Another partial solution is to offer lumber companies free access instead of trying to make money off of bids (which aren’t happening anyways)

    No single silver bullet, but I would volunteer a couple days a year, another partial solution.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Nov. 18, 2018 12:25 a.m.

    Clearing these forests of dead trees needs to be done now. But funding must be made to do it. This is a critical infrastructure need!

  • utahcoyote St. George, UT
    Nov. 17, 2018 10:45 p.m.

    when congressional officials acknowledge their role in this via their continual cutting of the budgets of the national park service, the forest service and the bureau of land management it will be time to have an honest debate on the issue.

    radicals always want the private sector to come in an clear cut everything, including adjacent to national parks.

    fires are part of the cycle of forests, but proper management can mitigate it. that said, it costs money to do so, and in the era of ever increasing tax cuts that money is dwindling rapidly. what money they do get is often misused due to influence of certain congressmen and local politicians.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Nov. 17, 2018 10:41 p.m.

    @mr Boris

    The article stated the lumber is not highly desired wood in a lot of areas, so it requires money to manage versus having private mills bid for lumber they don’t want.

  • Mr. Boris Layton, UT
    Nov. 17, 2018 10:20 p.m.

    Why does the Forest Service have to do this? Government messes up everything. This situation can be blamed directly on "environmentalists." The trees can either be cut down and used productively or nature will eventually burn them down. It's called a natural cycle just like the weather.

    Let private corporations do the work and let the people and the economy benefit.

  • one old man MSC, UT
    Nov. 17, 2018 9:29 p.m.

    This paragraph from the article tells the story:

    "Unhealthy forests in desperate need of vegetation treatment are one of the culprits, with the U.S. Forest Service buckling under the weight of unfunded projects to clear dead strands of trees, kill invasive species and thin overgrowth."

    It's far too easy to cast blame. It's much more difficult for our lawmakers to acknowledge their responsibility.

  • one old man MSC, UT
    Nov. 17, 2018 9:26 p.m.

    No, the truth is that the Forest Service and other agencies have been hamstrung by Congressional decisions that have left them limited in what they are allowed to do, and are funded to do.

    The mess now is actually a direct result of political incompetence by those who control the purse strings.

    But we don't talk about things like that because our politicians are very good at covering their tracks.

    Nov. 17, 2018 9:04 p.m.

    one old man

    Dead and diseased tree fuel management (removal) has been handled by the lumber companies. But the forest service has refused to give out many permits, even in the stands of trees that have been killed by the pine beetles. The Forest service has lost money on the loss of lumber removal.

    Paradise is surrounded by forest, and with the burning embers from the forest covering the town, they didn't have a chance.

    After the fires in Utah this year, the discussion needs to involve the entire west.

    Nov. 17, 2018 6:11 p.m.

    Trump was right?

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    Nov. 17, 2018 6:03 p.m.

    It is really unhealthy policies and decision making on the part of the National forest service that has inflicted tragedy in the west. Controlled burns that become uncontrolled, slow and and I’ll equiped responses to small fires, and policies made on a national level that hand cuff sensible solutions. Fires would be best fraught when they are small, and diseased forests would be best thinned and logged responsibly. The heavy guns are always on scene when it’s an uncontrolled tragedy, so it leaves one to wonder where are they when it is small. Most problems are best addressed before they are large. They need to get their act together.

  • one old man MSC, UT
    Nov. 17, 2018 5:36 p.m.

    trump is blaming this on poor forest fuel management.

    But the TRUTH is that the U.S. Forest Service and other land management agencies have begged for funding to try to reduce fuel loads only be ignored by Congress. Under the trump administration, already low budgets have been cut even further. Then there was that thing called "sequestration."

    Add to that the FACT that the town of Paradise was not federally managed land. What burned there was fuel found in the backyards of people who live there.

    And while it's true that "other countries manage forests differently," those other countries don't have the vast acreage of forest lands that exist here.

    trump's ignorance is on full display. As usual.