As of Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Another day of stifling heat is made even harder to bear thanks to the smoke filling the air.
Another wildfire season is upon us, as the summers are getting longer, hotter and dryer. The smoke brings back memories of 2015 when the air quality was so bad the smell of smoke filled the airplane as we approached Portland and the pilot had to make a reassuring announcement that the plane was not on fire. I am relieved to learn about a bipartisan bill sponsored by Congressman Dan Newhouse steadily increasing the budget for wildfires so that the cost of fighting wildfires doesn’t come at the expense of other valuable forest management programs. This is the kind of climate mitigation effort we will likely see more of.
As the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development points out, the most costly route going forward is business as usual. So, if we the taxpayers want to minimize the financial burden caused by wildfires it is time we demand from our elected officials a comprehensive climate policy aimed at replacing fossil fuels with carbon free energy.
Paying for wildfires without addressing the root cause is like treating a fever without addressing the underlying infection.
Cigdem Capan, Richland