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Tue., July 16, 2013

Clearing dead trees costly

In response to Elizabeth McConnell’s letter of July 6 concerning the deadly wild fires “because the Forest Service won’t cut down dead trees,” I must ask her to consider some numbers. There are 193 million acres of Forest Service land. If someone were to just clean one acre, that would be a day’s work. If that one person worked six months a year (considering weather), it would mean that one person could clear 126 acres a year.

At $100 a day, that worker would cost taxpayers $12,600 a year. To clear all the 193 million acres, the Forest Service would need 1,531,746 workers, not to mention management, equipment, etc. Are taxpayers ready to spend $12,600 each for that work force? Much of that land is wilderness, making it impossible to clear.

This is just National Forest lands. The Bureau of Land Management controls 245 million acres. Then there are lands owned privately or by corporations, and state and national parks where fires also occur.

To act as gardeners to all of these lands, the cost would probably rival that of our national defense.

Jan Hobbs

Spokane Valley

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