The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 22, 2002

Press Briefing by Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, James L. Connaughton
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Medford, Oregon

9:56 A.M. CDT

MR. DICKENS: Chairman of the Environmental Quality, Jim Connaughton.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: What I want to do first is just give you a background. You saw the video. I want to give you background on the fire season, on the fuel situation that you heard about on the video, the build up of fuels, and then walk through what the President is going to do, each step related to the what's being called the Healthy Forests Initiative, which is what we'll be talking about.

This fire season is one of the worst in modern history. Even this far into the season, we exceed the amount of fires the acreage that is burned of the 2000 fire season. Fires have occurred in every state and Puerto Rico so far this year.

The fires are burning with greater speed and intensity. When you watch the video, what we wanted to demonstrate for you, is after a century of complete suppression, we've had such a build-up of dead wood, and of densely packed trees and underbrush that it creates bonfire, tinderbox-type conditions. And so not only is the number of fires, are we seeing more of them, but the intensity of the biggest ones are catastrophic.

I want to couch that. Fire is a natural part of the ecosystem, as you saw. What we are talking about here, and what the healthy forest initiative is addressing is the non natural conditions of some of our forests. And that's what we're going to be focusing on.

To give you an example of the difference, a non natural condition with the Rodeo Chediski that occurred in Arizona earlier this summer, that fire was able to grow from 800 acres to 46,000 acres in just one day. Those are the tinderbox kind of conditions we're talking about.

To give you a sense of scale, of how many fires crop up, just yesterday 281 new fires were reported, five of which have become large fires those are fires over 100 acres in California, Idaho and Utah. We have 21,000 people supporting fire-fighting efforts on 33 wildland fires that are at these large fires, greater than 100 acres in size.

Q I'm sorry, how do you characterize large fires?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Greater than 100 acres. The areas of greatest fire potential today, and then through the rest of the fire season, include all of the Western states, the Dakotas, Kansas and Nebraska in the Midwest, and then Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in the Northeast.

As I mentioned, fire is a natural component of most forest's ecosystems, except when you get these build-up conditions that the video demonstrated. And what's particularly important about the situation is, not only does it threaten people and their homes, it's killed 20 firefighters this summer so far; it's damaged a lot of private land and private property with the fires going off public lands into nearby private lands. So it's actually putting at risk private property. But what also is not well-understood or well-recognized, it's ecologically catastrophic.

You saw on the the gist of it on the video, but let me give you some details of what happens when you end up with these searing fires that strip everything out. One, it damages fisheries, because it creates increased sedimentation, takes away the cover, and actually chokes off the ability of fish in their natural habitats to survive. We've seen a massive wipeout of endangered species habitat as a result of these fires.

To give you one example, the Biscuit fire that we're going to fly over on the way in to Oregon, and on which the President is going to get a briefing, that has destroyed 125,000 to 150,000 acres of Spotted Owl habitat.

The fires also sterilize the soils, because it burns deep, sometimes as deep as 12 inches into the soils, which kills everything, which means you don't get natural revegitation as a result. You then have to go in, take out all the dead material from the fire and essentially replant the forest to get it back. It can take decades for those kinds of forests to recover.

The soil erosion becomes a major problem, and it's very difficult to control when you've essentially wiped out the entire forest ecosystem. And that not only creates effects in the topography, but then it also gets into municipal watersheds. And again, one of the major fires this year, the Hayman fire in Colorado actually had a real impact on the municipal water system in the nearby communities. They had to spend a fortune to upgrade their system to get rid of the silt and some of the other sedimentation that was going to be choking out their water systems.

The other thing is, when you have these sort of area clearing fires, it becomes a breeding ground for invasive speeches, those are the weedy, low brush species that themselves are highly flammable.

Q What do you call them?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Invasive species, so it's not natural plant life and vegetation that wouldn't otherwise occur in that kind of a forest region.

In addition, in the burned areas, they then become ripe for disease and insect infestation, which then threatens nearby healthy forests. And that's a situation that's occurred in a number of forests this year, and that poses it's an aftermath threat; it's one of the threats you get with a lot of standing, dead trees that then fall and rot and provide homes for disease and insects.

Finally, and it perhaps goes without saying, but I want to make the obvious point, the air pollution and air quality impacts are quite extreme. The particulate emissions off these conflagrations are huge, and we see them for hundreds of miles. We are going to fly over the Biscuit fire today, and you will see the smoke off that fire, and how it spreads much broader than just the fire region itself, creating major air quality standards harming air quality in a significant way.

The Denver fire was actually resulted in the highest level of fine particulates ever recorded in the state. just came from the catastrophic fires that occurred in Denver this year.

Now, what the President is going to do today, is he is going to arrive at the Medford airport and receive a briefing on the Biscuit fire, which was actually the combination of two fires that grew rapidly together over the last three weeks. The Biscuit fire is the largest fire in Oregon's history.

And I just wanted to show you some quick visuals to show you how quickly these things spread. And this is what the President will see. A month ago, if you look at these two sort of red and blue smokey areas, two fires started naturally. That was on

Q start date?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: That was on the 21st.

Q What is it called?


Q Why?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: It's the name of the region. It's the name of the geographic region. On July 29th, which is just one week later, you can see how it spread massively. The two fires have grown dramatically in size, and are beginning to merge together. Last week the fires had merged, and are now the entire areas up in flames, and it's rapidly spreading toward the Oregon coast. Just to give you a size a sense of a scale

Q So it hasn't been contained at all?


Q It hasn't been contained at all?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: We will get the report this morning when the President gets his briefing. I think it's now 50 percent contained. But just to give you a sense of the scope in southeast Oregon of how much land mass this fire is taking up.

Q Do you have a specific acreage on that?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Yes, I do have the acreage. Let me see

Q It's 386,000.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: It's in the book. I think it's 386,000. I'm sorry I don't have the specific off the top of my head. I'll get that to you.

Q the size of Rhode Island, roughly -- New Hampshire.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: That's correct. New Hampshire, the size of New Hampshire. This fire itself is the size of, and then the entire fires take up several states, if you add them up.

Q The book says it's actually the all the fires together are New Hampshire.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: The size of New Hampshire. And actually as of yesterday, we've exceeded 6 million acres burned. Also, to give you a sense of the scale, we're talking about hundreds of millions of trees killed many more burned and impaired, but hundreds of millions of trees killed as a result of these catastrophic fires.

Q Biscuit is 471,000.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: So what the President will receive is the update on the Biscuit fire by the regional commander, who directs all the fire fighting activities. But different from other events, the President then is going to travel up to the Squires Peak area to witness the aftermath of a fire. Typically, the fires themselves get the attention, but not the aftermath of the fire.

And what the Squires Peak area will demonstrate, it's an area that by which six years ago the Bureau of Land Management proposed to do a major thinning project in the Squires Peak area, 24,000 acres. The analysis process, the appeals process, the litigation process took over six years before they could get a 430-acre part of the project approved. They were then able to move forward at just a portion of that, and get some thinning done.

Okay, so it was a 24,000 acre that needed thinning. Only 430 was approved after six years, and they only were able to do some of that before the fire came raging through.

Q So you are saying if they had done it, all the fuel would have been cleared out, and the damage wouldn't have been so

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: The fire would have been a low impact fire and, in fact, would have been much easier to contain and would have recovered. And what you'll see when you go up there -- and we've got the before and after pictures and you'll see it for yourself -- on the side that was unthinned, it's a moonscape, with standing burned trees. On the side that was thinned, for most of us -- because I come relatively new to this issue, as well -- you'll see what looks like a pretty healthy forest stand. So the area that was thinned survived the fire.

Q It took six years of litigation?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: It was the administrative processes, the environmental analysis processes, the rounds on all the documents that they have to prepare. Then there were numerous appeals, which are before you get to court numerous appeals with the Bureau of Land Management, and then two lawsuits that took it to court. And then they go through several rounds of negotiating where the project should be, and they negotiated the judge denied basically kicked out the lawsuit with respect to just the 430-acre plan. Everything else was still sitting on the shelf, the other 24,000 acres.

Q What's the argument against doing it the way you I mean, what was the litigant's point?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: There are some groups are opposed to any intervention at all in the forest system. And so the idea is to stop any activity that is indicative from removing wood from national forests. And there's a coherent effort to block every project that would propose that.

So there are concerns and then what happens is, you layer on every concern about the ecological harm of the project itself, and then what gets overlooked is the ecological harm of not doing the project. And so you'll see in the Healthy Forests Initiatives document, what we want to do is reset the balance. We want to look at the short term effects of doing some of this work, because some of it does involve getting mechanical implements in, getting in thinners, getting in trucks. It does involve taking out brush, it does involve taking out small trees that are living, and it does involve some commercial grade.

Most of this is non commercial grade material that the taxpayer has to pay to remove. Some of it is commercial grade material. But the idea is to thin it out, not to clear cut it. This isn't about clear-cutting. This is about thinning it out, to get the stands back to their natural condition.

Now, to give you one a photo essay that is in your books, that was not in the video, this is the Bitter Root National Forest in 1895, the forest in its natural condition. You'll see it's like you'd want to see it. Now, as a result of a century of fire suppression, you can see how the forest is now densely packed. Now, again, you'd look at that, and you'd say, wow, that looks beautiful, it's densely packed with a lot of green trees. The problem is, when fire comes through, as it did in 2001, everything is gone.

An analogy that's often used, when Lewis and Clark made their trek across the West, they could walk through these forests. They couldn't walk through them today, that's how densely packed they are.

Q What kind of are there any protections, though, in the President's plan for the larger trees? Because it seems like the root problem here is really the thinner trees. But if you talk to the timber industry, they are pretty excited about the prospects of also being able to chop down some of these larger trees. They definitely view this as part of the plan.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Well, the plan is to go after all of the material necessary to get thinning to a point of more natural to restore natural conditions. So that includes the brush, which is non commercial grade right now although it would be good to find commercial applications for it, because that would help defray the costs. The small trees these are trees one to five inch in diameter trees. Right now there is no commercial equipment that can process that. So that gets taken off and is wasted, where again, there, too, if we can create an infrastructure by which those smaller trees could be commercially utilized, that's good that would be good use, and to restore forest health. So we're getting, again, a balanced outcome.

In addition, in some of these areas, there is commercial grade lumber. And so this would involve the removal of some commercial grade lumber, but it would done in the context of a thinning project, and maintaining the forest canopy, the forest canopy you'd want to see.

Q Are there any limits, though, on how many of these larger, commercial grade trees can be targeted?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Well, I think let me talk about the limits in this way: It's recognized there are about 190 million acres of forest that is subject to these conditions. So forget about all the rest, the hundreds of millions and billions of other acres; there is 190 million acres of overgrown, unnaturally dense forest.

Q This is all wildland, or is there some urban wildland interface in there?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: No, urban wildland interface, all the way to wilderness areas. The wilderness areas to cities. I mean, actually quite urban areas. But 190 million are estimated to be in this condition, out of the billions of acreage. We were able just last year to do thinning, because of all the processes that are required, to do thinning on 2 million acres. So if we just stayed at the current rate, in these high priority areas alone, it's going to take us a century. And the President wants to speed that up.

So if you're looking if you're interested in getting thinning done, and there's an interest in getting commercial grade timber, the best place to get commercial grade timber is in the context of these thinning projects. So why not go there? And that's really what this is about.

Now, we still have timber sales I mean, that's an independent issue it's independent from this initiative outside of these priority areas. But inside these priority areas we have a lot of work to be done. And if it's commercial-grade, and we can defray the cost of getting the work done, it's good for the taxpayers, it's good for jobs, it's good for the environment. And also it brings commercial timber industry into this kind of balanced, win win situation, in bringing the timber out.

Q Is the streamlining then, the reviews, the environmental review streamlining that you're talking about, does it only apply to the 195 million acres that you've identified as of risk?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: The answer to that, with the Healthy Forests Initiative, is, yes. But, quite frankly, it will be a significant portion less than 190 million acres.

Q I understand, but all these changes would only apply to that 195 million, potentially the 195 million. It wouldn't apply to all the other forests that are under federal control?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Correct, that is correct. And in fact, what we're going to do, is out of that 190 million acres, what we are going to do is identify the highest priority areas. So it's the Wildland Urban Interface, which is called WUI, and that's right where you get these wildlands, right near where people live, in areas of sensitive watersheds, so municipal watershed areas, where if you had these catastrophic fires you'd actually harm people's water supplies, any kind of water systems. And then other key areas, like some of our most cherished habitat areas where, as I indicated, I don't think anyone wants to see 200,000 acres of endangered species habitat just go away. And so we can identify some targeted, high priority, high density areas that will come out of this 190 million acres.

Q Does this cover all the states that you mentioned previously?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: The initiative covers -- would cover all the states. But each of them have different priorities and different needs, and we've already started the process of prioritization, but we need to finish it, we need to get it done quickly.

Q Some of it Bush has the power to do today, on his own, it doesn't require legislation. Just to recap, because I'm not sure I understand. That regulatory stuff only applies -- all the streamlining of processes, all that stuff only applies to this 190 million of the most overgrown acres?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: The initiatives we're proposing today, that is correct.

Q Where are you getting 195 million acres?

Q I thought it said 195 million acres in the book, actually.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Whatever the book says.

Q Let's be clear about that.

Q 190 million, about 190 million.

Q And you said last year you were able to thin 2 million of those most densely populated?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: This year we'll complete thinning out 2 million.

Q This year. Of the 190 million most --

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Of the 190 million, correct.

Q That's going to take a century?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Well, if we stayed at the same rate, it would take a century, right?

Q What about the President's plan, how long would it take?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Well, we're going to speed it up as much as we can. That's what we have to work through. The Western governors, you should know, this would implement the 10-year fire strategy that the 17 Western governors signed as a bipartisan strategy. This would implement that on the regulatory side, before you get to legislation. These are sort of the next steps in making that plan happen. That was signed in May of this year.

Q And I guess some environmentalists are concerned that this is a camel's nose under the tent problem, that you're letting the timber industry back in to national forests, and they're going to be able to get infrastructure and other things in there on a permanent basis, and expand their taking of timber out of there.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: As I've said, we've got plenty of work to do on the 190 million acres that are already -- that are subject to these catastrophic conditions. We actually need the commercial timber industry, we need an infrastructure to make this affordable and effective. Otherwise, it just comes right out of the taxpayers' pockets.

Q So it will include road building and other things through the national forests?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: If you take the priority areas, actually, what's interesting is, the priority areas actually have a lot of the existing roads, okay. Then, could there be additional road building to do some of this thinning activity? Sure, that's a possibility, but it would be targeted to these high priority areas that we collectively have identified as the areas of highest importance.

Q Is there any way to quantify what percentage will be defrayed? I don't know if you can put a number on --

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: No, we can't do that now.

Q It's just going to depend on --

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: And let me explain why. The brush -- the largest volume of material is the brush and the small trees. That's the largest volume of material. Right now, most of that is not commercial grade, and because of all the -- because you can't get projects approved quickly, the infrastructure is completely gone for processing that material. It doesn't exist in most states.

For example, Arizona has lost all of its capacity. So it's going to take some time -- the initial few years are going to be taxpayer funded, and that's a problem.

Q Is there a percentage you can foresee commercial interests defraying at some point, if things work according to plan?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Not right now. But I would note, by the way, I also want to avoid the term -- or expand the term commercial interests. There are a number of non-governmental organizations and local communities that want to do this work. So it's a combination of classical timber people, non-governmental organizations and counties that are interested in doing thinning work, under what are called stewardship contracts. So they are contracts that are dedicated to the performance requirements of a thinning project, but by which they could make money off of the material they remove.

Q Can you expand as to what material gets removed? In other words, what role do commercial timber companies have in saying, in order to achieve this thinning, we need to take all this out, or does the Forest Service manage that decision?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: The Forest Service on Forest Service lands, and then the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fish and Wildlife Service on their properties. So each of the services have different portfolios. But they would be part of the prioritization process. And then they would be part of setting the performance requirements for these stewardship contracts, which would have to be conducted in accordance with those performance requirements.

Q What kind of role did the companies have in putting together the policy -- commercial timber companies?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: I guess that's -- in putting together the policy, we developed the policy based on the implementation strategy that was announced in May. That strategy had the input of all the affected interests. So it's all the governors, all the country officials, Native American tribes, the timber industry, environmental groups, other sort of more classical environmental groups, the advocacy groups, and then some of the conservation oriented groups. Who else was involved --

Q So the administration didn't actually meet with timber companies itself, in putting together the policy?


Q Can you explain what you're going to do to try to --

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: It was an internal administration process, based on the record that had been created under the fire plan.

Q Can you explain what you're going to do to try to control the appeals process? I didn't see how that was explained in the book last night.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: You'll see -- on the one page in the book, it explains there are two steps with respect to the thinning effort. One is the appeals process. The Forest Service and -- the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture are going to take a look at their appeals rules to see if they can come up with a way to streamline them, while still assuring the participation by local citizens. Some of it -- there's just a bureaucracy that has been built up over time, into these processes, largely -- again, the record that you have to create just to get a regular project going is gargantuan. And so we try to make these things so bullet-proof that we've built up huge process steps that I think are now recognized as not necessary to get the job done and still meet environmental requirements.

Q How do you stop litigation? I mean, that's what I mean. How are you going to prevent litigation, which is something that has been slowing us down?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Well, hopefully if we can streamline the appeals process, if we can get more projects approved -- get them through the environmental assessment process quicker, projects of like kind, we now have enough experience to know that certain projects are not going to have a significant impact on the environment, and, in fact, you'll have a net benefit for the environment.

So we actually have, under the National Environmental Policy Act, we have a process by which you can make that determination, you can run that through public notice and comment to get these common projects identified, and then get on it. It's an affirmative authorization of projects that will not have significant impacts on the environment. Now, if we can get more of these projects into that category, through the work necessary to do that, then that takes all of those projects out of the sort of litigation mode.

With respect to the larger or what some would call -- what some would make controversy -- what people have made controversies out of, hopefully we can get the processes where we get early involvement by the consulting agencies, so that ones looking at endangered species impacts on ecological impacts, if we can get them involved in the planning earlier in the process, that will speed things up. It will also get the record out sooner for the public to comment on, so hopefully we get consensus around the fact these things will have minimal impacts. Because again, most of these projects will have minimal impacts. You just have to get through all the process to get there.

So we'll be able to speed that up. We'll have better records in the event there are lawsuits. And we hope, just through good old-fashioned education and politics and outreach, we hope that we can build on the consensus that's emerging, certainly after this summer, to get the groups who are filing most of these challenges to file fewer of them.

Q Do you think that public opinion has changed after this summer? You said, and it's really true, when you look at those beautiful green trees that are dense, you go, wow, that's just so gorgeous. Do you think people now understand that you can't just not touch it, that inaction actually does damage? Has the pr campaign been widespread enough, or is just because we've been looking at the fires?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: I think you'll have to be the judge of that. The people in the West have a much finer understanding of that than people east of the Mississippi, or actually even in a sense, east of the Rockies, because they've been beset with this -- they had to live through the 2000 forest fire season.

So this idea, this below the radar screen concept has been discussed quite widely. The academic community -- there's huge consensus among the academic community, you'll see some of them, I invite you to call them -- that thinning is -- it was the important missing link. We need to do some of the prescribed fires, we need to do some of the other good fire management activities. But the thinning, it's now recognized we need to do that and we need to do a lot more of that. There's great -- I mean, I think the consensus among the academic community.

The public at large? That's why the President is coming out here today, to amplify this point. In fact, that's the one message we could get to, that there is a forest -- there are healthy forests, and there are unhealthy forests. Let's go out, let's work on the unhealthy forests. If that's the one thing we could get out of this, that would be important.

Q Where is the resistance coming from then? If it's not coming from the big governors, the Western states, the people in the West understand it and the academic community understands it, why is it taking us so long to get to this point? Where is the resistance coming from?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Well, the why is it taking so long -- let me go first. We've actually, I think, at the more technical sort of expert level, among governments, there's no resistance. Okay, there is no resistance. We signed the 10-year plan last May, bipartisan East-West agreement on how to proceed. So, at that level, there isn't resistance. But we have inherited these terrible conditions. There's a lot of work to be done. We've inherited a build up of what the Forest Service Chief calls, process paralysis, where we have to do so much work, and so much is required, to prove so much, in terms of impact, that we're just running around in circles before you can work done.

The Forest Service estimates with some of their activities, 40 percent of their budget goes to evaluation and planning, and 60 percent goes to thinning. Now we need to narrow that. We need more money to go toward thinning. So we need to find ways to, again, streamline these assessments, lump projects together, take a look at the numerous steps by which groups who are opposed to any -- touching the forests at all can continue to block projects. The procedure requirements of our environmental laws are not supposed to reek environmental havoc, and that's what some of them are doing. So we need to get beyond that.

Q But isn't this a little -- back to the years when a lot of projects went through, the science wasn't right, things were cut, so now everything is winding up in court to stop every action. The pendulum has kind of swung back the other day. For years there was a lot of clear-cutting, which did untold damage to a lot of forest, so then lawsuits started being piled on everything, because before, when they said, oh, no damage would be done, there actually was being damage done, so now everything is tied up in court. How do you get back that trust and convince people that really we can go in here, and the science is good, and it's not going to be like it was in the bad old days, where they said, oh no, we're not doing any damage, and you wind up with like Gull Creek in Montana. It's horrible. How do you get that trust back?

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Well, we're talking about the unhealthy forest areas. There are still some out there who will never be content. But when you look at the 10-year fire strategy, and the people that participated in

that, and the consensus that reflects, you have trust across a broad spectrum of people who care about forest health and care about protecting their local communities, so it's there.

Now, we've got to do it right. We have to learn. One of the things we do these days is called adaptive management. You don't go in -- we can't do all 190 million acres if we wanted to. And you don't go, I'll do it willy-nilly. You get good work done, you get the information back from this year, you do it better next year, you get that information, do it better the year after that.

So you're right. We have to have a continual process of evaluation in order to be succeeding in our goals. But that doesn't mean we should wait to try to succeed in our goals.

Q Is there money in this plan for homeowner education? As more people move out into the West and they live in these areas -- because I've been on 10 wildfires in the last two years. The firefighters are spending a lot of time going into areas where there are million-dollar vacation homes, and the owners haven't done enough to protect -- the fires are risking their lives and taking their resources to protect the home, when normally they could be off fighting the fire. Is there money -- is there homeowner education to where the homeowners need to take more care of their land, and the firefighters can be off fighting the fire and not worried about protecting individual homes.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: Yes, actually there's a very significant education component to the 10-year fire strategy. I don't have the budget numbers, the resource numbers on that, but we can get those to you. There will be some of the technical people from the services will be on site. And that is a critical component.

Q Because the firefighters have a lot of resentment. They've got crews up here working on houses when they could be fighting other fires.

CHAIRMAN CONNAUGHTON: This is one where everybody has got to be part of the solution -- everybody, including the homeowners and local communities. Some of the most progressive communities are putting in place good practices. Homeowners are being educated. You saw the video, and example of where the thinning work was done near a residential community, the catastrophic fire burned all the way around, the community was saved. There's universal consensus on that.

Q -- fire and some of it, they just hadn't done it. It just rolled right up to the houses.

Q Thank you very much.

END 10:31 A.M. CDT

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