Vulnerable to fire

It was interesting to read the comments regarding Elk River. As I understand, the writer is of the opinion that the Elk is more vulnerable to future severe forest fires because much of the watershed is wilderness (Grassy Knob and Copper Salmon Wilderness Areas). While I’m not an expert in fire management, I am a forester and have six seasons of firefighting as an employee of the U.S. Forest Service.

My experience has shown me that the Elk is less likely to burn because so much of it is old-growth fir, cedar, and hemlock on the north-facing slopes, and tanoak on the south-facing slopes. Generally, after those types of forests are logged and converted to plantations, the young trees and associated brush burn like gasoline.

Firefighters try to push a fire out of the plantations where it is crowning and into the less brushy old growth conifer stands where it can burn along the damp shady ground, or into the tanoak where it generates a huge quantity of steam which cools the fire and slows it down. Because the wilderness has conserved the old, fire-resistant forests, it helps protect our river’s watershed from fire.

Of course, we can only speculate on the future impacts of global warming. It may be that warmer conditions will prevail and formerly wet places will become much drier, making it easier for fires to start, grow quickly, and become harder to control and extinguish. Nevertheless, conserving big old trees, not logging them, is the best way to start making forests less vulnerable to fire.

Jim Rogers

Port Orford

Stand tall

Please stand tall with your fellow journalists fraternity across America and let us hear you say, “We are not the enemy of the people.”

Kay Atwell


Management needed

I read with interest the letters from the fire resistant tree folks. The myth of the large fire resistant tree does not apply in today’s fire regimes. In pre European times this may have been true, but a walk in the Kalmiopsis will dispel this fairy tale.

The intensity of today’s large fires is fueled by over dense stands and abundant ground fuels. The solution to this problem is intensive management, not environmental obstruction. The fight to save every large tree in the forest is the root cause of environmental appeals.

So, while the environmentalists try to save their sacred large trees, the rest of us can watch them all go up in smoke. What’s wrong with this picture? Call or write your elected officials and demand that the third party clause be removed from the clean air, clean water and endangered species act. Then the gridlock will stop.

Robert Angelini


Enjoy the giggles

Start the day with a laugh or giggle: you can do this by reading Scott Graves’ columns. His imagination is way out there (wherever “there” is). So keep on writing, Scott, and I will keep laughing and giggling.

After crossing the Chetco bridge, going south, you can turn down onto Lower Harbor Road and see the port and all the fishing boats. But one of the most interesting things on the drive heading up the hill onto Benham is the chalk artwork on the cement wall.

There was a group of happy faces just as you made the turn and they were really an upper seeing them smiling. Then the chalk got washed off, but the imprint of them was still on the wall. Now, some wonderful person has color chalked them again and they are smiling again to make a foggy day (and we have a lot of them this summer) an enjoyable moment. So, thank you chalk persons. You are all appreciated.

Doris Westoby