People, not trees, are the fire risk

Letters

Editor:

Re: “Logging not a solution,” Letters, July 12.

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I would like to echo the concern expressed by Charlene Penner in her letter “Logging not a solution.”

I, too, believe it is inappropriate for a logging company to promote logging as a solution to the tragedy of forest fires. I can’t see how clear-cutting scattered blocks of forest could ever be a solution to forest fires. It seems more likely, as Ms. Penner’s letter states, “that the opposite is closer to the truth.”

Everyone who walks in our forests in the summertime knows that the forest canopy keeps the environment beneath it cool and moist by shielding it from the sun. It also keeps the creeks and rivers flowing through the hot summer months. If, after walking through a cool forest, your trail suddenly spills out onto a wide clear-cut area, strewn with stumps and piles of debris, you immediately feel the oppressive heat of the sun burning down on you. Underfoot, you feel the crunch of dry, crisp debris – completely different from the feel of the lush, mossy carpet on the forest floor behind you. If you’ve had that experience, you know that those exposed areas in the middle of the forest are like tinderboxes. They are surely a much bigger fire threat than the sheltered forests.

As with most of our environmental catastrophes, the biggest problem with forest fires is not trees; the biggest problem is people. One way to help keep us safe from forest fires, I suggest, would be to stop the clear-cutting of scattered sections of forest close to our communities.

Robert O’Neill, Roberts Creek

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