DAILY SUN NEWS EDITORIAL
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has apparently heard the cry of rural West residents plagued by more intense wildfires and burdensome forest regulations. His move yesterday directing federal land management agencies to aggressively “consider using fuels management” is music to our rural ears.
Zinke’s call to remove dead and dying trees is long overdue. His call to thin forests is long overdue. And his call to clean up the forest floor, too, is long overdue.
Zinke appears to be bringing some common sense back to public land management, something that has been missing in recent decades, particularly in national forests. His simple words of wisdom: “Fuel management is more effective when undertaken before fires break out.”
But Zinke’s action goes further than just trimming trees and clearing forest floors, he also directed land managers to bring forest roads back up to par. “Where our roads have narrowed over the years as vegetation and trees have encroached, even into ditches and shoulders, we should be clearing this vegetation away,’ he said.
That’s something rural residents have long advocated.
Zinke’s actions come as many residents of the rural West are dealing with unhealthy air quality conditions as a result of this year’s fires. While his actions are sure to help improve our future air quality and forests, they may also bring a return of rural economic prosperity to some communities.
We’re glad to see someone in Washington, D.C., finally bringing some common sense back to forest management.