Commissioners hit Forest Service with vote of "no confidence," but they stand alone
By Curtis Hayden
Originally published in Sneak Preview on March 1, 2018 (Grants Pass and Medford) and April 1 (Ashland)
The timing was impeccable. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were visited by some friends from Portland, Tom and Laura, and when I mentioned that I was writing a story about the Josephine County commissioners and their vote of no-confidence in the ability of the U.S. Forest Service to handle catastrophic forest fires, Tom went out to his car and returned with a book he was reading, Timothy Egan’s The Big Burn.
I figured the book was about the Tillamook Fire of 1933 because I’d heard a lot about that Mother of All Fires over the years.
“The Tillamook Fire was nothing,” Tom said. “It only burned 300,000 acres. This book is about the fire that took place in northern Idaho, Montana and Washington in 1910, which burned over three million acres.”
On Friday Februray 16th the following article was posted online by the Washington Post, featuring the work of Forest Legacies director Dominick DellaSala.
The 15-year-old boy who started a wildfire that torched 48,000 acres of one of the northwest’s most coveted scenic regions entered the courtroom stoically Friday. Wearing a beige suit, a black necktie and with his hair neatly combed, he admitted to all 12 of the misdemeanor charges against him, and when he spoke to the courtroom, he apologized.
He apologized seven times.
The wildfire he admitted to sparking along the Eagle Creek Trail — in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area — started Sept. 2 when he hurled a firecracker into a dry ravine as a group of friends filmed him with a cellphone. On that scorching-hot afternoon, the state was in the midst of a burn ban.
“Every day I think about this terrible decision and its awful consequences,” said the Vancouver, Wash., boy, who is being identified by the judge only by his initials, A.B. “I know I will have to live with my bad decision for the rest of my life.”
This story from E&E News is especially timely. We've been pushing hard here at Forest Legacies on the fire fix funding as there are really bad logging provisions being proposed by Congress that would usher in massive logging on national forests, eliminate roadless and old growth protections on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and bypass landmark environmental laws. We recently with law makers and the reporter below while in DC. This is a big push nationally to maintain public lands protections that we are involved with.
By Marc Heller and Geof Koss, E&E News reporters
Originally Published at E&E News on Thursday, February 8, 2018
The battle over federal wildfire funding and forest management will go on, given that a broad budget deal between Senate leaders failed to resolve the issue.