Why Seattleites Should Give a Damn About Washington Wildfires

Comments

1

Historically there are fewer wildfires now than 100 years ago because of humans. You know, before carbon panic set in and folks insisted their second homes in the mountains be protected from natural fires.

1895:

"Mr. Twain, as chairman of the reception committee, allow me to welcome you to the capital of the youngest and most picturesque State in the Union. I am sorry the smoke is so dense that you cannot see our mountains and our forests, which are now on fire.’ Mark said; ‘I regret to see—I mean to learn (I can’t see, of course, for the smoke) that your magnificent forests are being destroyed by fire. As for the smoke, I do not so much mind. I am accustomed to that. I am a perpetual smoker myself.’”

https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2018/08/northwest-wildfires-are-we-seeing-new.html

2

Big Gubmint! Locker up! Deep state!

3

"These plans also empower forestland owners of all types—state, federal, tribal, and private—to restore the health of forests across the landscape, bringing them to a more natural, fire-resistant state.

This isn’t about 'raking the forest,' as our President has laughably suggested."

I would have like to read more here on how this is to be accomplished. If it isn't about our idiot president's latest whacky utterance/idea, what is it about?

"This is about transformative work to save our forests and protect our communities."

In all those words, I must have missed your prescription for healthier forests. Is that in your Bill, 5996?

Also: "... we allowed forests to grow unnaturally overcrowded."

Are we talking actually forests, or 'managed forests' of one type of tree only, like douglas fir, for example? Can a monoculture be considered a forest?

Can / does that also contribute to fire susceptibility?

Thanks!

4

Damn!
How do I return all those rakes I ordered from IKEA?

5

It sounds to me like we should save our money and just let nature take its course.

6

@3

Hmm, I wonder what happens when I copy and paste these words from the editorial into the GOOG:

"DNR Wildland Fire Protection 10-Year Strategic Plan"
"20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan"

Heyo, look at that, links to documents!

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/rp_wildfire_plan_summary.pdf
https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/rp_wildfire_strategic_plan.pdf
https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/rp_forest_health_20_year_strategic_plan.pdf

Neato!

Who knows, there might even be a definition of "forest" in there that answers your pedantic leading questions, too!

Only one way to find out, right?

7

"These plans also empower forestland owners of all types—state, federal, tribal, and private—to restore the health of forests across the landscape, bringing them to a more natural, fire-resistant state."
To me this sounds like code for "open season for the timber industry under the guise of fire prevention."
Unless we're talking about major expansion of controlled burns in order to try and restore the balance of natural forests with the least devastating fires possible, I'm dubious of any proposal made in the name of "forest health"

8

@7

Yeah, if only we the people had access to those secret plans the DNR has drawn up, right?

Guess we'll never know, though, since the whole thing is a totally closed process that only the oiliest lobbyists are invited to take part in. Probably best to just assume the worst!

9

Thanks, rbs, and yes, if i gotta, I will, but i think my point remains valid --

"I would have like to read more here [and there was Lots] on how this is to be accomplished. If it isn't about our idiot president's latest whacky utterance/idea, what is it about?"

10

@9

Before I dipped into the detailed plans, I already knew from reading the editorial that the purpose of the proposed bill is to generate additional funding for existing programs.

I also happen to know that those programs have had their funding slashed in the past decade or so, so maybe it would have helped to mention that (or maybe not, it could have come off as whining).

I think maybe you've misread the purpose of the editorial. This is not "We're making significant changes to our complex forestry policy and here's the rationale for each of the various components," this is "Hey we have a bill coming up that will raise your taxes, and the benefits you'll get from that, broadly, will be cleaner air, plumper salmon, sexier campsites, and saved whales. For more detail, see here, here, and here."

It's a little breathless and uses more happy-talk than I'd like, but it's pretty clear it's not trying to propose any new forestry or wildfire policy-- it's just a bit of cheerleading for some new funding.

11

Considering the majority of fires are caused by people, banning campfires and other open flames all summer long should also play a part. You don't need a fire to enjoy the outdoors.

12

DNR’s new plan to fight forest fires: instead of extinguishing fires, we’re going to extinguish forests.

13

@11

We already have burn bans, when the hazard is high enough.

Imposing them when it isn't won't accomplish anything, beyond pissing people off-- but I suppose that might be exactly what you had in mind?

14

While I totally support the methods and aims of the Wildfire Prevention and Suppression Account and, yes, I totally agree that "...In one way or another, wildfires and forest health affect everyone in Washington, and that’s why we must all contribute to the solution."
So I wonder...why tax only those who pay homeowner's or casualty insurance?
DNR is captive to the timber industry anyway, screw it, let them pay.

15

@14

I mean, yeah, I support a state income tax, too. But absent that, are we supposed to just keep underfunding every last thing we need the government to do until we're all dressed in spikes and leather and battling each other over fuel and water?

16

Apparently, it's not enough for Commissioner Franz that my homeowner's insurance premiums have risen by 70% in 7 years --- now she wants to raise the tax rate on these premiums, further aggravating the situation.

The DoR is awash in sales tax revenue as collections have vastly outpaced projections. Go talk to them if you want more money. This bill should die in committee.

17

Thank you, State Land Commissioner, Hillary Franz. I am just as concerned about wildfires as you are. I don't live in Seattle, (not since 1997, anyway) but Bellingham's air quality was terrible last summer from a combination of wildfires from British Columbia, Eastern Washington, and as far south as California.

@2: Take your stupid MAGA cap off and just STFU already.
@14 kallipugos: I agree---the timber industry should be held accountable by paying taxes to maintain healthy forests. Weyerhauser in particular has made a big mistake replacing the majority of Washington's old growth forests with seedlings. The young trees are drying out, are more vulnerable to extreme heat and parasites, and the forests do not have the protective ground cover to properly nourish their ecosystem like they once had. Climate change is indeed, real. Just ask anyone in Oso, Washington, who lost a family member, friend, neighbor or relative in the landslide on March 22, 2014. An old-timer was quoted in The Seattle Times as saying that after the ridge above the riverfront development of Steelhead Haven was razed, there was nothing left to hold the mountain up during the rainy season. 43 lives were lost.