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U.S. Forest Service cannot log its way out of the climate crisis

January 18, 2022
Adam Rissien, WildEarth Guardians, 406-370-3147, arissien@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
MISSOULA, MONTANA—Adam Rissien, WildEarth Guardians’ ReWilding Advocate, released the following statement in regards to the U.S. Forest Service’s new 10-year strategy, “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis.”

“The U.S. Forest Service simply cannot log its way out of the climate crisis or effectively protect homes and communities from wildfires by dramatically increasing industrial logging of National Forest System lands. The research by experts like Dr. Jack Cohen, retired U.S. Forest Service fire behaviorist, is crystal clear: To protect homes and communities from wildfire we must focus efforts within the Home Ignition Zone, an area 100 to 200 feet from the home.

Unfortunately, the Forest Service’s 10-year strategy emphasizes logging and road building across National Forest System lands on an unprecedented scale as a means to spend nearly $3 billion Congress authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. which President Biden signed last year.

We can create fire resistant communities by focusing limited time and resources within the Home Ignition Zone, yet despite the evidence the Forest Service is once again doubling down on massive logging plans to cut down trees across vast landscapes, up to 250,000 acres at a time. Not only would the Forest Service’s proposal increase carbon emissions through intensive logging and road building—in the middle of a climate crisis—but this increased logging would further imperil sensitive fish and wildlife species throughout the American West.

For at least the past twenty years, the Forest Service has literally been barking up the wrong tree when it comes to effectively protecting homes and communities from wildfire. We urge the agency to immediately reverse course and abandon what is clearly just another ‘strategy’ to increase industrial logging on national forests.”

Example of logging and road building on National Forest System lands billed as “fuel reduction” by the U.S. Forest Service. Photo by George Wuerthner.