Letter: More wilderness means more of a wildfire threat | PostIndependent.com

Letter: More wilderness means more of a wildfire threat

While listening and watching the Black Forest Fire over by Colorado Springs, some words really popped up. Of course, low humidity has been a real problem with this fire and the fact that the wind has made fighting it really difficult, if not impossible. I have two grandsons over there fighting this, so I am very concerned.

Those words were “diseased trees.” The media has not elaborated on this, but the scary part is Colorado has lost a huge amount of our forests because of the pine beetle. Apparently it was pretty rampant in the trees. Now at least some of the beetles are dead.

Does it take a disaster like this to make people in this valley and on the Western Slope realize that we don’t need every unhealthy forest on this side of the mountain to go up in flames? There are a number of people (The Wilderness Workshop for example) have tried to make the entire Western Slope into a wilderness area. They don’t want the unhealthy trees cut down.

The pine beetle is rampant on the Western Slope. If you don’t believe that then go out into the forest and check it out. Many people who have lived here for years realize it. The Forest Service realizes it. There is little the Wilderness Workshop can do to save these trees.

You can’t put enough of those clever little sheets on each and every pine tree on the Western Slope in order to fool the beetle. These trees have to be cut down and used up. The northern part of our state has done that. They have tried to get rid of as much beetle kill as possible.

However, here in the Roaring Fork Valley, we have the Wilderness Workshop, which is probably still promising Sens. Bennet, Udall and anybody they can corrupt into putting forth the proposal before Congress to make (most of) the Western Slope a Wilderness Area.

That means you can’t get off of the road to fight a fire. It makes it almost an impossibility to fight a fire with local and or Hot Shot firefighters. As you can see by the Black Forest Fire, it burned so hot that firefighting efforts were at risk. Please do not allow the Wilderness Workshop to continue their life-long ambition in making the Western Slope a huge wilderness area.

We already have 3.4 million acres of wilderness in Colorado. We don’t need any more. If the Wilderness Workshop can continue to focus on the drilling aspect, that would be much appreciated. Just leave the forests to those that know how to care for them.

Jane Spaulding

Carbondale


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