Logging council backs Trump on forest management as factor in wildfires

by WorldTribune Staff, November 20, 2018

There is “truth” to President Donald Trump’s statement that poor forest management was a significant factor in the devastating California wildfires, the American Loggers Council said.

President Donald Trump views damage from wildfires in Paradise, California on Nov. 17. / AFP / Getty Images

“President Trump blamed poor forest management for wildfires in California and throughout the West, and there is truth to statements he has made,” said Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, a coalition of state and regional associations that represents independent contract loggers.

While Trump said California’s poor forest management contributed heavily to the fires, Gov. Jerry Brown attributed the fires to global warming.

“It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management – including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning – are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” Dructor said in a statement.

The American Loggers Council notes that some 60 million to 80 million acres of national forest are at “high, to very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.”

The council said forest thinning and prescribed burns are effective methods to reduce wildfires but noted that “only a small fraction of high-risk acres are being treated.”

“The federal government does not have resources to treat every forest by itself. Yet America’s forest sector has the infrastructure to manage and improve the health of our federal forests. The raw excess material from overgrown forests can provide renewable energy and a number of American-made products and provide thousands of family-wage jobs,” Dructor said.

“Loggers are America’s ‘boots on the ground’ to conserve our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire,” council president Chris Potts said in a statement.

“We work in the woods every day, we understand forestry and see the dangers every day, and we know what needs to be done. Without forests, we are out of business. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats on needed reforms that will help to sustain our forests and protect our forests and communities from wildfire,” Potts said.

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