New informatino sheds light on a disturbing new practice in forestry. It has recently been revealed that the causes of the Biscuit Fire two years ago were in fact man made and shed more light on a disturbing new practice.
For thousands of years the forests have burned in natural cycles every year. Depositing rich nurtrients to the forest in soil dependant on them for their growth; however plants arn't the only thing to spring from the fires.
A multi-million dollar industry has arisen in the last fifty years to 'combat' this natural process that threatens to destroy the very forest it aims to protect. Wildland firefighting has become an increasingly large industry that has grown tremendously in the last few years. A list of available contractor resources has grown from approxomatly 178 engines last year to well over 450 in the last 12 months. With more and more contractors competing for the same federal funds that reach well into the hundreds of millions of dollars spent every season; this makes the competetion for time on small wildfires fierce.
Despite the environmental problems agressive human interference creates such as larger, more prolonged fires due to the forests inability to rid itself regularly of brush that builds up and explodes fiercely when fire does strike; A new profit motive has been introduced on a grand scale.
Without larger and larger fires many firefighters are left without income for a year when there is a 'slow' season. And new regulations alalowing the harvest of protected lands after a burn open a door to timber companies that was previously closeda
The Biscuit Timber sale was just one prime example of this disturbing new practice, as we can see clearly the devastating results. Once protected federal land, one of our nations largest remaining timber stands has been opened to logging due to Bush Administration rollbacks that allow harvesting on burned lands.
It is a federal requirment that all fires wild and urban are investigated. A law created to ensure profitable arson doesn't go unimpeded, however more increasingly this is being ignored as fires are seen to be a natural, and regular event.
The biscuit is one such case, determined to be human caused fire it was left to burn for an unprecedented two weeks before firefighters were dispatched to it wherein the turnaround is normally hours.
Inreased vigilance is necasary to ensure our public lands remain protected.