Letter to the Editor

Controlled burn myth

San SimeonSeptember 27, 2013 

Our culture perpetrates three epic myths that result in great harm; one is the belief that controlled burns are necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The menace of myth was heavily in the air on Sept. 19, when the collective lungs of North Coast residents took a beating from State Parks, Cal Fire and other dubious authorities who decided to play with matches, under the guise of a “controlled burn.” The smoke was thick, relentless and nauseating. Who can say, with any honesty, that “no permanent harm” was done?

Controlled burns are under increasing investigation; labeled a “wayward tool” with the dire consequence of causing, rather than preventing fires. As for “enhancing” the plant community in a Mediterranean-type landscape: researchers at the University of Western Australia concluded that “… it is naive to assume that prescribed burning regimes can be applied with impunity.” The paper said “preventing an increase in fire frequency, instead of prescribed burning, could be crucial for maintaining soil integrity, water supplies, water quality and biodiversity.”

The Air Pollution Control District is too soft in its approach to State Parks and other reckless destroyers of public health.

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