Despite the media hype about the 7 million acres of forest land that burned this year, that number was well below the 1916-1999 U.S. annual average of 13.9 million acres.
Huge sums were expended fighting fires in remote areas (where there was) no risk to property. Fire is a vital, life-giving force that plants and animals depend upon for nutrient recycling and diversified landscapes.
Thinning, debris removal, and prescribed fires are the new panacea for a century of Forest Service fire suppression and forest cattle grazing.
The "Flagstaff Model," promoted by a Northern Arizona University School of Forestry professor and pro-logging Western senators, is simply industrial logging of large trees under the guise of "fuel reduction."
The Flagstaff Model is truly ugly a few "telephone poles" remain, surrounded by deforested wastelands of slash waiting to be burned. Congress just voted this (initiative) $1.8 billion. It will start off by scalping 180,000 acres in Arizona. Logging the biggest trees sacrifices the trees least likely to burn, erodes topsoil and degrades entire streams and watersheds.
Forest Service experts say the 125- to 200-foot zone around homes is the zone to protect. The Flagstaff Model, however, starts miles outside of Flagstaff. It is a logging scam having essentially nothing to do with protecting property.