Fire Policy Media Review

I chose to view optional media for this week’s assignment, with the videos covering collaborative efforts within forest restoration and salvage, and a video covering the historical Yellowstone fires. The titles of these videos are as follows: “Collaboration Leads to Forest Restoration”, “Pioneer Fire Salvage on the Boise National Forest”, and “NPR Podcast: Remembering the 1988 Yellowstone Fires”.

Collaborative efforts in forest management really began during the ecological management movement of the late 1960s and early 19070s, with the passing of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969. This act required public input during the decision-making process and acted as a steppingstone for public input on federal land management. Additional policies were implemented that furthered the collaborative process during the Clinton administration –  the Northwest Forest Plan was enacted, which applied mostly to land management activities. The National Fire Plan created a pipeline for forest restoration activities and fuels reduction projects, with the passage of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (2003) further increasing the presence of forest restoration activities on federal lands. The “Collaboration Leads to Restoration” video shows both the need and effectiveness of collaborative efforts and the scale at which restoration work can be accomplished. The approach forest service managers used on the Payette National Forest within this example was very effective in connecting stakeholders at an individual level with the ecosystem in need of repair and allowed them a sense of ownership within the project upon implementation.

Salvage harvests have been a controversial topic across many National Forests, yet successful implementation occurred after the Pioneer Fire on the Boise National Forest. This harvest not only increased public safety across the fire area, but it also increased economic stability at a community level – increased resource traffic through the small town of Idaho City resulted in increased income levels for small business owners throughout the course of the project.

The fires of Yellowstone inflicted great public resentment upon an already stressed agency during the summer of 1988. The podcast presented the public perception of management strategies, and also tended to portray a sense of selfishness upon the natural resources; we as humans have to remember that nature’s timeline is far greater than ours and fire has been present for far greater than we have. The “Let Burn” policy received great criticism from this incident, yet I personally believe it is an important policy in land management.