Kurt Steele, the U.S. Forest Service district ranger in Tofte, is accepting public comments on the environmental assessment of the proposed Windy timber sale through July 11. The sale would lead to the clear-cutting of 4.2 square miles adjacent to the Wilson Lake community, where 32 families have homes. Steele indicates the homes will burn if a wildfire should start in the area.
He does not take action to apply the fire-damage-risk-reduction methods developed by a Forest Service employee. Jack Cohen, a Forest Service fire physicist, spent his career researching ways to keep homes from burning in a wildfire. He recommends removing fine “flash” fuels that will burn quickly within 300 feet of homes.
Appendix A of the environmental assessment, page A-15 states, “The primary objective of reducing hazardous wildland fuels in this project area is not to reduce structure ignitions from wildfire or “fireproof” important areas. Rather, by reducing hazardous wildland fuels, we aim to decrease potential wildland fire behavior.”
Tell the Forest Service your homes are more important than “getting out the cut.”
The writer is retired from the U.S. Forest Service.