William L Baker is of course the go-to guy for those who oppose thinning. Baker’s doctorate is not even in a relevant field, his PhD is in geography. Latching on to Baker to justify an anti-thinning, anti-prescribed burn position is no different than the oil and gas goons latching on to a bought-off lunatic fringer to disprove global warming. In both cases they are absolutely unrepresentative of the scientific consensus.
The truth is that low-altitude ponderosa ecosystems are fire-dependent, and informed, thoughtful thinning regimens are needed to restore them to a condition where they can undergo low-impact burns again.
This thinning is needed in overgrown ponderosa forest to restore the optimum habitat for the goshawk. WildEarth Guardians and their ilk just don’t get it.
All forests in the American southwest have plants and animals that have evolved with regular fire for thousands of year. Before 1900, wildfire happened frequently, virtually everywhere in northern New Mexico. Those fires made smoke and “managed” the trees and plants and the wildlife. The US Forest Service started putting out fires in 1903 near Santa Fe, and the consequences of that fire suppression combined with more than a hundred years of overgrazing by livestock and some logging has profoundly messed up our forests.
The best way to repair our watersheds is by putting fire back in when conditions are right and letting well behaved fires burn over large areas. Prescribed fire and lightning fires allowed to burn can only help lower future fire intensity and protect human property if the fires happen when conditions are not too dry. Prescribed fires are set under carefully measured conditions but the right conditions are increasingly rare as climate change causes warmer, dryer springs and falls.
The public doesn’t like fire smoke and the Forest Service and the National Park Service regularly deal with public anger about smoke from prescribed fire. Yet, prescribed fires lower the intensity of the inevitable wildfires that put out far more smoke and usually cannot be controlled. The public must learn to bear with the smoke as a necessary and natural part of life in the West.
We focus on the Santa Fe watershed but the Tesuque watershed, just to the north is fuel-chocked also and will burn intensely should fire start in the dry summer. The best answer to protect Tesuque and Tesuque Pueblo from subsequent flooding would be to set very large prescribed fires at all altitudes to take a first swipe at the fuel buildup.
Thinning is expensive and time consuming but it does create jobs. The public must help restore our forest health and protect flood prone properties by tolerating temporary smoke and encouraging prescribed fire on a scale that will really help on many levels.
SANTA FE, NM
BLUE CORN, DEC. 11: “HOP OFF THE BUS, GUS”
A CITY, DIFFERENT
I was born and raised here; I went to school and left to the Marine Corps. This city is the one of the best working cauldrons as far as the melting pot goes. There are hurdles, as with any city.
It has become more diversified as far as culture could be addressed. The only area of distance is economically. People from here can’t afford to live here unless they have property on their side. I felt fiscally stable enough to come back and raise my sons. I remember the bus station on Ortiz off of Water, it was the first place I found a pinball machine that wasn’t a bar.
The only thing I can attest to with new people coming into our blessed city: Enter with compassion, you were called here for a reason. If you embrace the diversity of our beautiful city your experience will embrace you with warmth and love.
NEWS, DEC. 4: “ENDING THE RAPE CULTURE”
Excellent article. I’m sending copies to my daughter for her to think about and talk to her kids about (when they’re a little older).
This is a wonderful article. Rape culture is real, and I’m happy that there are groups like IMPACT and the Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center that are working to promote positive, consensual sexual experiences.
The restaurant review published in the Dec. 11 edition gave the wrong name for the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.
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