July 07, 2005

Let It Burn

Last month the local Forest Service district ranger sent a form letter out to everyone on his mailing list about proposed changes in the fire-suppression policy. It proposed that naturally occuring fires more than one-half mile from private land be allowed to burn unless other conditions occurred, such as "unacceptable effects on cultural and natural resources."

The fire burning right now near us borders, maybe slops over onto, private land, but it that is part of a ranch. It is more than half a mile from anyone's home, I think.

A former co-worker, a reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper called around two o'clock this afternoon, fishing for quotes to add "color" to her story on the fire. I did not say what I was really thinking, which is that I am humbly grateful that thousands of dollars are being spent to save my house--and some others. (In case you are wondering, this house was built about 1965.)

The FS has been trying prescribed burns in this area for several years--I reported on one of them myself. Most years, the window of opportunity--after the spring blizzards and before the woods dry out and before passarine birds are nesting--is quite narrow, so narrow, in fact, that the proposed burns never happen or are cut short.

Now we are getting our proposed burn in the "natural" way.

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