Letters to the Editor
Proposed Logging in the Los Padres Forest is Unacceptable.
As a life-long resident of Ventura County I realize how lucky I am to live between the ocean, two rivers and our majestic mountains in the Los Padres National Forest. Many local residents enjoy recreating in the Los Padres at Pine Mountain, Mount Pinos, and other wild areas.
The US Forest Service is currently proposing the removal of thousands of trees and old growth vegetation at four locations in our backcountry; an area that totals over eight square miles. The Forest Service argues that this project will improve wildland health and improve fire safety for forest-adjacent communities. I object because this plan goes far beyond those goals.
Forest scientists tell us that removal of trees and native vegetation increases solar access to the forest floor creating drier conditions and increasing the presence of non-native grasses. These grasses dry out earlier in the year and are much more flammable than native chaparral.
We must reject ineffective forest vegetation removal projects that diminish critical carbon storage in our forest and instead invest resources into hardening wildland-adjacent homes to withstand ember casts. There are simple, inexpensive ways that homeowners can prepare their homes for wildfire: clearing combustibles within the first five feet of structures and native plantings. Advanced vent covers are more costly, but worth the investment to prevent embers from invading attics and crawl spaces, the main cause of losses during the Thomas Fire.
The Forest Service should focus their efforts near population centers, not in the middle of the wilderness. We need to work from the home out rather than from the forest in. This has proven to be the best strategy for protecting communities as well as our native ecosystems.
Never try to tell everything you know. It may take too short a time.
~ Norman Ford