Tag Archives: forest fires

Oregon forest fires blamed on federal ban on logging

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.

Finger Rock Fire update

During the night the fire seemed to subside somewhat, and today it is raining. I can still see smoke, but no flames. However, the cloudy weather, plus morning is a poor time of day to observe details in the Santa Catalinas because of the angle of the sun, means that this is not a certain observation.

The Forest Service has sent crews up to check on the situation and will report an update later this morning. This news report says nothing about the fire spreading into Ventana Canyon, as it appeared to do to me last night. Hopefully I was wrong and the fire only appeared larger than it was.