Our industry-serving politicians came to Lolo to fan the wildfire flames with lies promoting logging. They ignored that this summer is again setting records for heat and lack of rain as the climate warms. They also ignored the fact that logging increases the rate of fire spread.
According to the Forest Service’s “Living with Fire” publication, fire spreads at 15 acres per hour in the dense conifer forests so demonized by the timber industry and our politicians. Thin those forests into an open pine forest and fire spreads at 150 acres per hour. Clear cuts with young trees spread fire at 650 acres per hour. Brush and grass spread fire at over 3,000 acres per hour.
Cut down trees and you get more brush and grass that dries out faster due to less shade and more exposure to wind. Research shows most of the carbon released by fire is from brush and the forest floor. Only 5 percent of large tree carbon is released because only the needles, bark and limbs burn. The tree trunks remain, continuing to store their carbon and providing absolutely essential habitats for wildlife – unless the same lying politicians force the Forest Service to log the dead trees.
Logging removes trees, their carbon and nutrients from the forest. Fire releases only a fraction of the trees’ carbon and returns nutrient-rich ash to the soil.
We have longer and more severe fire seasons due to global warming, not environmentalists. As a former logger and Forest Service firefighter, I think the politicians are putting up a smoke screen so their buddies can steal carbon-storing trees from our public forests.
Keith Hammer, chair
Swan View Coalition