Now that Southern California's catastrophic fires are nearly out, the blame game has started. Fingers have been pointed at President Bush, deforestation, arsonists, global warming and eco-terrorists.

They all miss the point that a century of governmental mismanagement and a quarter century of Green non-management of our forests has turned them into ticking time bombs, awaiting any spark to become a conflagration.

Since the formation of the Forest Service in 1905 the policy has been to stop all fires as quickly as possible. Thus, once healthy, open, park-like forests slowly became filled with thick duff, underbrush, and thickets of small diameter trees. So when fires now come, instead of moving slowly and coolly along the ground they explode into forest-destroying infernos. They destroy wildlife and habitat, watersheds, and sterilize the soil.


The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 was intended to cleanse the forests, remove excess fuels, and thin the dense dog hair thickets of smaller trees.

But a Green straightjacket of non-management, called "natural regulation" and amounting to a let burn policy has exacerbated the forest tinderbox conditions.

It has become literally impossible to manage the forests. The Greens have halted insect, beetle and disease control, removal and salvage of dying and dead trees, and thinning of trees. They argue that such activities will "disturb" endangered species. For fear of disturbing Northern Spotted Owls in the forests of southwest Oregon, the Bisquit Fire eliminated 44 pairs of owls and their critical habitat forever. Ditto with the Mexican Spotted Owls in Arizona's Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. 11 pairs gone forever.

If we are to ever again have healthy forests, wildlife, habitat, watersheds and forest communities we must at last begin to return the forests to a natural condition and end the Greens' policy of “Burn, Baby, Burn.