When logging is discussed, many people may not consider its potential use for preventing
fires. I believe that, when done correctly, logging is a valuable method of reducing the severity and
probability of fires.
The risk of fires in the United States can be reduced through sustainable practices such as selective logging and helicopter logging. These reduced-impact logging practices remove dead and dying trees and thin overgrown forests, significantly reducing fuel loads.
Even though the common argument against logging is that it destroys land, fires destroy even more land in the U.S. each year. Fires today destroy two to seven million acres of land each year in the U.S. This amount greatly overshadows the amount of land destroyed by logging in American every year.
Logging can also indirectly help global warming by decreasing the severity and risk of fires. Fires in the U.S. have been releasing an increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the air each year. As fire seasons become increasing longer and stronger each year, the problem continues to exacerbate itself. Using proper logging techniques can significantly reduce the amount of dead and dry fuel that is available for fires, as that is the main fuel for fires.
I have experienced this first hand on my property. We selectively logged one area of our property before fire season started. When a nearby fire reached our property during an especially strong fire season, the un-thinned area contained so much fuel and the fire burned so hot that it completely destroyed all of the vegetation, even the mature trees. However, when the fire reached a portion of our property that we had thinned, the fire slowed and the fire fighters were able to stop its advance. This likely saved our home from being destroyed.
Though many oppose logging, done correctly it can be beneficial to the environment. Reduced-impact logging techniques reduce the amount of fuel available for fires, therefore reducing the severity and risk of fires. If it was not for selective logging, my house could have been the victim of a raging forest fire.