In response to the Aug. 31 letter to the editor, “More logging in forest would curb wildfires,” I must say this is totally erroneous. Past logging practices are part of the reason why wildfires are so devastating.
The large majority of catastrophic wildfires have occurred on either land that has been logged, lands that could be considered marginal timber lands, those without enough timber to be financially feasible, and brush, scrub and grass lands. Old-growth forests, while they do have fires on occasions, even stand replacement fires, tend to burn less often and the older trees are most likely to survive, unlike logged off lands where the older trees are cut down and the new growth are all the same species and same size, which burn more readily.
What is important for keeping our old growth is the fact that 667 species are closely associated with old growth and only around 29 species are found in logged-off areas that have been replanted. Another important factor is that old-growth forests hold onto carbon, releasing it slowly through the centuries, while a recently logged off area pours tons of carbon into the atmosphere almost immediately, contributing to man-influenced climate change.
Environmentalists, or “tree-huggers” as many call us, are not to blame, but rather have been warning about our current situation as far as climate change and wildfires for not only decades, but for hundreds and even thousands of years.
Wildfires have always been part of the equation and always will be, and I shall repeat what was once said to me by someone of authority on the subject. “If it wasn’t for the fire. You wouldn’t have the forest.”