Politicians Yell "Fire" in Arizona
Finger Pointing for Wallow Fire Starts Before the Smoke Clears
Snowflake, AZ - Politicians in Arizona, including State Sen.
Sylvia Allen, a Republican from Snowflake and State Representative Brenda
Barton a Republican from Safford, have begun pointing fingers for the Wallow
Fire in Arizona. The culprits: Environmentalists and federal forest policy.
However, weather and drought conditions are the responsible parties.
“Either these politicians are badly
informed or they are intentionally misleading Americans.” Said Bryan Bird an ecologist
with WildEarth Guardians in Santa Fe, NM. “Its shameful to play fear politics
when people are suffering and fleeing the flames.”
New Mexico and parts of Arizona are experiencing the worst
drought conditions in recorded history and combined with windy, spring weather,
extreme wildfires are predictable. It is unlikely that thinning or other
federal forest policy changes can prevent catastrophic fires in these
conditions. The most people can do is get out of the way.
“Under these historic drought
conditions and windy weather, catastrophic fire is to expected and all people
can do is get out of the way.” Said Bird. “Thinning only changes fire behavior
under certain conditions, we are
far outside the range of those circumstances, and answering for a century of
unsustainable logging in the West.”
A century of unsustainable logging and overgrazing combined
with historic drought has left the native forests of the Southwest vulnerable
to catastrophic fire. The dry pine forests evolved with fires of every severity
from low to very high: fire to these forests is what rain is to a rainforest.
The proper response, once the smoke clears, is to reconsider zoning laws and
insurance policies for structures in fire-prone areas.
“Logging is not the answer to the
fires, but rather demanding changes in construction zoning and insurance
policies in fire-prone areas of the West,” Said Bird. “If counties are going to
allow residential development where fires are easily predictable, perhaps they
should burden the exorbitant costs of fire fighting rather than the federal
government. What ever happened to personal responsibility?”
Representative Barton claims spotted owls will have no where
to nest, but in fact, fire is what creates the habitat that spotted owls are
most successful in. The patchy forest landscape with meadows after fires is
where the prey of the owl is most abundant.