Letters: Burn areas aren't dead

Re "Burn areas are alive," Opinion, Oct. 3

Chad Hanson's Op-Ed article on the Rim fire does a great deal to help the public understand that wildland fire is a complicated process. Wildfires cannot be reduced to one-size-fits-all pronouncements that mistakenly lay the blame on Smokey Bear (past fire suppression efforts), the lack of logging or environmentalists.

Big fires are driven by climate and will occur again. The forest will recover despite our hand-wringing.

The problem we have is impatience. Consequently, we disrupt the natural processes by attempting "reforestation," setting the stage for the next fire by creating overly dense tree farms. Much of the area burned in the Rim fire had been sprayed with herbicides, plowed and reforested by the U.S. Forest Service after a fire in 1987.

Let nature heal on its own. One wonders how the forest ever survived without us.

Richard W. Halsey


The writer is the director of the California Chaparral Institute.


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