Senator Sylvia Allen organized an event on November 17 to remind the people of Arizona of the devastation of this summer’s wildfires and the federal government’s incompetence with forest management. Her constituents from District 5 brought a 40-foot Blue Spruce tree to the Capitol, burned and destroyed in a summer fire. Since the fires were extinguished, the media have been quick to move on to other stories, but the devastation isn’t going away for the people of Arizona.
Senator Allen made the following comments at the event.
The fire season is over but the consequences are not. Arizona forests are still in a state of emergency. We must aggressively thin and log to return our forest to pre-settlement stands of trees that our ecosystem can support.
The fires left thousands upon thousands of trees dead, and the consequences will be a clogged forest of trees that are falling over and emitting CO2 for years to come.
“Studies show that the consequences of the burned soil will impact the regeneration of the Ponderosa Pine,” say the forestry scientists at the Ecological Institute in Flagstaff.
The consequence of flooding is felt every time we have a thunderstorm. The silt has entered our streams and killed endangered fish.
The consequence to the economy of a lost summer of tourism is still being borne by our rural citizens and cannot be overstated.
Further catastrophic fires are still in Arizona’s future. Arizona’s forest is in a state-of-emergency and will be for decades if the federal government does not act now. The over- growth of trees that clog the forest must be dealt with now and the federal policies roadblocks must be removed now.
We must aggressively thin and log to return our forest to pre-settlement stands of trees that our ecosystem can support.
If the Forest Service will not act now, then the State of Arizona needs to step up in this emergency and take over management of our forestlands.