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California is managing its forests — but is the president managing its federal lands?

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The Great Fire of 1910 — believed to be the biggest fire in recorded American history — burned 3 million acres across Washington, Idaho and Montana and killed 86 people. It also helped remake U.S. Forest Service policy. The agency ordered that all forest fires be extinguished as soon as possible, minimizing flames that for centuries had renewed the forests.

The government stranglehold on what had been naturally regenerating ecosystems marked the beginning of forest mismanagement practices that continued for decades, leaving 21st-century California in the midst of what one state commission has called “an unprecedented environmental catastrophe.”

The topic has been pushed to the forefront by an escalating string of deadly wildfires — including last year’s Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the largest in state history; the 2017 blazes that blackened much of the wine country in Napa and Sonoma counties, killing 44; and last month’s Camp Fire, which has killed at least 88 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes, both records for wildfires in the Golden State.

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Posted by on Jan 19 2019. Filed under Forest & Land. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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