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Burning forests wrong solution for planet

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 8:49 pm
by Wilberforce
My View: Burning forests wrong solution for planet

Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015 7:00 pm

By Jan Boyer | 4 comments

Prescribed burns are exacerbating global warming and poisoning the land, air, and water.

The fires are ignited by dropping toxic spheres (Ping Pong balls) filled with potassium permanganate and antifreeze. Potassium permanganate is a neurotoxin, and after it is burned it becomes manganese dioxide, implicated in Attention-Deficit Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and other disorders. When the trees are burned, we breathe the wood smoke, manganese dioxide, mercury, plutonium, the pesticide DDT and other toxins that were stored. Each acre burned releases 4.81 tons of carbon which creates 14 tons of carbon dioxide.

Sometimes, these toxic spheres do not ignite but are left on the ground, like a land mine, poisoning the animal who bites them. They have been found near streams, with bite marks.

Many other countries and areas in this country have a better plan. They plant trees. India has an ongoing program to plant millions of trees. Even Colombia is planting 8 million trees and has created such a habitat with these trees that they now sell the water to Bogota. Denver is planting millions of trees. Other countries have locals cut the small trees and do contour felling (leave them perpendicular to the slope) to prevent erosion. The Forest Service admits that their burns cause erosion.

Everywhere I walk these days, I see devastated forests, trees trimmed of all branches up to 15 feet, desolation on the ground under the sparse cover, no birds or animals and many trees gone with just stumps left behind. Walk up Atalaya, Hyde Park, near the Santa Fe watershed, Aztec Springs Arroyo or the Rail Trail, and you will see a ravaged wilderness with huge slash piles of tinder, dry and ready to burn. Our beloved ponderosa pines are cut down even though they are fire-resistant and hold the soil and moisture, storing the toxins for us.

There are so many programs to cut or sell or burn the forests that they overlap. Our state is offering jobs to veterans, a $1.8 million program, to cut down our precious trees. The Jemez plan will burn 166,000 acres. These plans used to be 300 acres in size. Now, Santa Fe has joined The Nature Conservancy to burn 600,000 acres. The city gets paid off in grants. That is 1,000 square miles. Can you imagine the size of these plans?

There are still articles in the paper about the Rim Fire in California (2013) that burned 400 square miles and was said to be one of California’s largest. If that was shocking because it was so large, how can we burn 1,000 square miles, on purpose, without even a public hearing? And we are in a desert, in a drought.

The Forest Service assured us it wouldn’t burn during nesting season. Now the service is saying it will burn from in May, during nesting season. All those birds, firebombed. The issue is fear of devastating wildfires. If you don’t want devastating wildfires, put fires out when they start.

Remember reading that, in the old days, if conquerors were especially bad, they would cut down the trees and poison the land?

Call Rep. Brian Egolf, 986-1782 and Sen. Peter Wirth, 988-1668; write letters to the editor, tell your neighbors.

Jan Boyer is with

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