Oregon forest fires blamed on federal ban on logging

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We’re here to help you! The logging industry is blaming the increased number of severe forest fires in Oregon during the past three years on the federal ban on logging in federal forests.

Logging on federal lands was first limited in the early 90’s. More severe limits on logging on any roadless federal land were then passed by President Bill Clinton in 2000, essentially ending the practice on federal lands.

[Andrew Miller, CEO of Stimson Lumber, one of the state’s largest lumber companies] said this was a huge mistake. “As soon as the ban on logging took effect, fire conditions worsened,” he said. “Four or five years after the ban was put in place fires started to really ramp up.” The reason for the increase is simple, he said. When logging in these areas stopped, more and more trees began to fill the lands. These trees, particularly ones that have died and become dried out, rather than be chopped down by a logging company, give the fire easily combustible fuel. “Once logging was stopped the forests got older and older and more and more trees died off,” Miller said.

The article is well written, and includes a response by a Forest Service official, who dismissed the lack of logging as the cause and instead blamed the increase in fires to extreme weather and less snowfall in the western states.

I am willing to bet that a close look at the weather in the Northwest will find that the only extreme weather they have seen in the past three years has been snow, contradicting the Forest Service official’s claim. I do not know this, and could easily be wrong, but I am still willing to bet.


  • wodun

    The governor up in Washington blamed the fires on global warming. Anyone who has lived in the area for an extended period knows that Eastern Washington is part desert and prone to catch fire. Every year we have big fires, this year is just a little worse than others.

    It is not just a reduction in logging that leads to increased fire danger but also fire suppression. Fire is a natural part of life for forests and suppressing fires causes an increase of fuel buildup.

    To make our forests really healthy, we would need to go in and limb the lower dead branches off trees, pull out a lot of downed trees, and clear underbrush. It is highly labor intensive and would cost a lot of money, so it will never be done.

    Oregon is no stranger to big fires either. There is a book called, The Big Burn, that is about a big fire in the early 1900’s.

    I don’t think the PNW has had any “extreme” weather this year, although there wasn’t much of a snowpack, which is also fairly common. People can come up with any excuse they want but the reality is that fire is a part of nature in the PNW.

  • wodun

    Also, check out wundermap. Click off weather stations and scroll down and click on fire and active fire but not fire risk. That’s a lot of smoke!


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