Enviro Group Report RebutsFederal Fire Policies

(published by Environmental News Service, 16 May 2002)

WASHINGTON, DC, May 16, 2002 (ENS) – The Sierra Club has issued a report aimed at refuting the federal stance on wildfire prevention, fire fighting tactics, and post-fire recovery.

As high temperatures and dry conditions begin to make their annual summer appearance, Americans can learn more about protecting their homes, defusing fire threats and restoring forest health by checking out the report “Forest Fires: Beyond the Heat and Hype” at:

The report charges that the policies of the federal government and the logging industry have increased the risk of catastrophic wild fires, and details steps the nation can take to protect communities and restore fire’s natural role in forests.

“With a few wildfires already burning in the American west and drought conditions in the Southwest and Southeast, the fire season, and timber industry rhetoric, will surely heat up,” said Sean Cosgrove, Sierra Club forest policy specialist. “We hope Americans see the industry’s smokescreen for what it is: an attempt to use wildfires as an excuse to increase the destructive commercial logging on our National Forests, especially the roadless areas the Bush administration has failed to protect.”

The report includes a list of 10 steps homeowners can take to make homes firesafe, including:

  • Clean pine needles, branches and other flammable materials from areas near roofs and gutters

  • Remove any tree limbs extending within 10 feet of any chimney or wood stove flue

  • Store propane tanks away from buildings and clear flammable vegetation from tank areas

  • Stack firewood and store picnic table, boats and other flammable materials away from home

“Decades of misguided policies by the government and logging industry have changed healthy forests and increased the severity of forest fires,” said Cosgrove. “But by using controlled burns, we can reduce brush that has built up from decades of fire suppression. By taking common sense measures, we can help homeowners keep their families safe.”

The report is available at:


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