Our forest service is planning another assault on our trees, within a few miles of the Santa Fe Plaza, having done no environmental impact study and having failed so far to alert the public.
This is the area of the two reservoirs that supply almost all our drinking water, which might well be contaminated by ash. There are many houses in the immediate vicinity whose inhabitants, already wheezing with seasonal allergies, will have no escape from the smoke. And, since toxic sprays must be used to induce the wet trees to burn, as well as bombs dropped from helicopters, we will all be breathing poisons. The destruction of habitant is heart-breaking, especially as many species build nests and lay eggs in the early spring, while the litters of coyotes, also under assault from trophy hunters, will likely be burned to death.
This policy—burn the forest to save the forest—was initiated under the Obama administration in the conviction that burning would stop wildfires. But, as we saw with the raging fires in California, the attempt has not been successful. And yet it goes on and on…
What is it in men that delights in lighting fires?
I don’t know the answer.
It seems linked to the excitement of causing big explosions in war, in the sense of personal power that comes perhaps only from destruction.
Santa Fe being Santa Fe, it’s likely that a bunch of us will attend Tuesday’s meeting, which has not yet been publicly announced, to insist on an environmental impact statement before the helicopters and the flame throwers arrive…
Only in the west.
[For more on our forest management policies, please see Chad Hanson’s piece in the Los Angeles Times, “Lessons from the La Tuna Fire.”]