Recently local politicians have been using the region’s fires as an excuse to push for additional logging, and more broadly an anti-wilderness agenda. Their position is not supported by science.
The science shows that wilderness and other areas protected from logging are not particularly prone to fire. The premise behind the local politicians’ proposals to reduce environmental protections are all based on the premise that protected areas burn more intensely. Repeated studies show this to be false.
For example, a 2016 study looked at the intensity of 1,500 forest fires affecting over 23 million acres during the past four decades in 11 western states. They tested the common perception that forest fires burn most intensely in wilderness and national parks while burning less intensely, or not at all, in areas where logging had occurred. The scientists found the opposite. They found that fires burned more intensely in previously logged areas, while they burned in natural fire mosaic patterns in wilderness, parks, and roadless areas, thereby maintaining healthy forests.
As the scientists point out, “Consequently, there is no reason for reducing environmental protections.” This study is not unique. It has been shown time and again.