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Forest Firefighting To Be More Selective

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In the past, the National Forest Service has classified a variety of small fires in remote areas as “managed fires,” allowing them to burn in those areas for the resource benefits they provided.  However, last year every fire was suppressed unless it was officially designated a managed fire.  As a result, the Forest Service spent in excess of one billion dollars fighting fires last year.  Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell now has said they will not take that aggressive of an approach.  That means, says Timothy Inglesbee of Firefighters United For Safety, Ethics and Ecology, that there will be more flexibility in making such decisions, which he says “enables fire managers to use fire to benefit the ecosystem, especially those ecosystems that depend, or require, wildfire to maintain their ecological health and integrity.”  Inglesbee says the efforts to address all of the fires was intended to keep the fires small in the high fire year, but that led to the expenditure of millions of dollars to do so.  This year, the forest is to return to suppressing fires selectively.

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