Letters, Sept. 22

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    Wildfire control

    Despite events like the recent local presentations about smoke, I’m not seeing any near-term fire containment proposals focused on the forests west of Grants Pass, which have been generating the “megafires” that have been smoking out Ashland and Medford. Why not?

    We hear that the “wilderness fires” are so devastating (in part) because firefighters simply can’t get to them until they have already consumed tens of thousands of acres. Why don’t we build a network of forest roads that would criss-cross the wilderness and similar public lands every few miles, which would permit firefighters to safely get to a new fire quickly?

    That might require a re-definition of what “wilderness” means, and/or a modification of the “wilderness experience.” That seems like a fair trade-off if it comes with a significant reduction of smoke and all of its impacts across Southern Oregon.

    I doubt that such an approach would cost more than years and years of fighting megafires, and years and years of stunted economies in the whole region.

    Ward Wilson


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