In August of 2015, I was 13, watching a devastating wildfire burn through hundreds of thousands of acres on the Colville Reservation. When my home was put on a level two evacuation, my mom took my brothers and I to a family friend’s home. However, my dad stayed behind to care for our animals and work on protecting our home in case the winds shifted and the fire turned towards us. I remember the fear I felt for my home and our animals, who were so close to facing a raging fire. It seems that with each passing year, our fire season only becomes worse. This year, Washington’s fire season has seen numbers close to its historic 2015 fire season.
I support logging being used as a preventative measure for severe wildfires. Thinning is being used alongside prescribed burns to restore forests back to healthy conditions as part of a twenty-year forest health strategic plan that has a goal to restore 1.25 million acres of forest. This plan comes from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and more than 33 organizations and agencies are coming together to implement it. Not only will this plan reduce the threat of wildfires, but it will also increase the amount of jobs in rural areas. If you find yourself opposed to logging because you think it’s all about profit and there’s no environmental benefits, remember how rampant a wildfire can turn when it meets tons of dry, unmanaged, overgrowth in fire season.