Forest Fire Management Policies

1116 Words 5 Pages
The national landscapes in the United States are some of the most abundant and well-managed regions in the world. They provide our country with ample resources and aesthetic, spiritual, and socio-cultural values. Unfortunately the effects of climate change are deteriorating our national forests. Drier summers and wetter winters are already affecting regions in the West, causing projections for forest fires to increase in severity, frequency, and scale. Forest fire management policies have changed throughout history, but recently policies have shifted away from suppression in order to allow for the natural environment to go through the stages of succession. With the changing climate and uncertainty of forest fires, policies need to develop new …show more content…
Since forests were never able to exceed their natural severity and scale during this time, the ecology was altered. Scientific research about the importance of fire wasn’t developed until the 1960s. This work completely shifted the U.S. Forest Service policy of forest fire management by allowing fires to burn when appropriate. Unfortunately with a growing population and more people living in rural areas, it has made it even more difficult to manage wildland fires. “Since 1960, the six most extreme wildfire seasons have been in the past fifteen years” (Caohuu, et. al. 2015). This has nearly tripled the budget for fire. In 2015, The U.S. Forest Service spent 62% of its budget on fighting fire (Davis 2016). The U.S. Forest Service is now restricted in spending money on other resources such as land restoration and forest thinning. The problem that ensues for future policy makers and U.S. Forest Service chiefs is developing a plan to balance management and letting fires take their natural course. This can affect people from all across the country, but mostly for people in at risk fire regions of the United States due to their proximity and potential for property …show more content…
Unfortunately people benefit from timber in different ways, which often clash. Some people benefit from trees in a spiritual and cultural way, feeling connected to the land and nature. They often want to conserve the most amount of land possible to expose others to the “greatness of the outdoors”. Other people benefit from timber sales, cutting down trees to provide lumber for various resources. These different benefit perspectives make it difficult for managers, economists, and sociologists to come to a consensus on forest fire management. People also can view fire as “bad” because of the history of the USFS suppression policy along with the lack of education on fire ecology. Making the public more aware of the benefits of natural wildfires could influence perspectives and change policies for future fire management actions to

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