Tom Gaman’s Letter to the Editor

Bay Area Chapter member Tom Gaman recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Independent Journal, the Marin County daily newspaper. His letter was published March 15, 2022 and was in response to an opinion piece written by Rene Voss and Chad Hanson titled Catastrophic wildfire risk: Concerns about fuel reduction that was published in the same paper on March 5th. Tom’s letter is included here.

One thought on “Tom Gaman’s Letter to the Editor

  1. Tom Gaman’s comments are nothing more than smoke. As an RPF, I know that I can’t cure the world or the forest. Insects are part of the ecosystem’s dynamic nature. Fire is a part as well. Ecosystems constantly change (growing, dying etc.) Just when you think you are getting a handle on reaching some desired result global warming enters the picture. When exactly do we have a healthy ecosystem?

    A human perspective suits human needs and desires. We humans have been escaping the urban environment at a rapid rate since the 1960s. The California Division of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) warned us of the increasing fire danger associated with the expanding Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), but its message didn’t hit home with urbanites and county planners.

    “Fuel reduction is essential on almost every acre,” Gaman wrote. Maybe, but how practical is that?

    I have been a Registered Professional Forester for more than 20 years, and I guarantee you Tom Gaman and I cannot solve the WUI problem.

    If you want to keep wildfires small you need to hit them fast, and hard. Fire suppression is not the problem. Who does the fuel reduction if it’s not fire suppression crews or loggers, both of which have been reduced in numbers significantly over the last 40 years?

    Wildfires used to be smaller because we knew they would get large if we didn’t get them out soon. How simple is that. Fuel reduction and fuelbreak construction is not a new concept. I worked on fuelbreaks in the 1970s and it wasn’t a new concept then. Every winter there were fuel reduction projects using controlled fire. None of this is new. What is new is the concept of watching lightening fires burn under observation during periods of high fire potential. Eleven people died as a result of the Bear Fire of the Northern Complex in the Plumas National Forest.

    All forests a wildfire resilient. We, the people, are not.

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