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A DC-10 tanker helps put out a wildfire in California. (Photo: Pinterest)

Tree Clearing Measures Used to Slow Wildfires Are Now Easier to Approve

The new program will make tree thinning and clearing permits easier to approve

By Evan Symon, January 2, 2020 7:05 am

On Tuesday the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BFFP) accepted a new program that makes tree clearing and tree thinning permits easier to approve.

The easier to receive permits are designed to either stop or slow down wildfire growth in a timely and efficient manner. Among the time saving measures implemented include using already approved environmental analyses and getting rid of several regulations previously needed for tree clearing.

In addition to the new BFFP permits for firebreaks, the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) is also implemented other wildfire reducing measures, including increased fuel treatment and forest restoration projects.

According to Governor Gavin Newsom, the timeline for cutting down a large swath of a forested area as a fire break has gone down from an average of four years to less than a year thanks to the new tree clearing permit parameters and the CalVTP program.

“I commend the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection for working with the environmental community, state regulators and public safety officials to develop a long-term solution to increase the pace and scale of critical vegetation treatment in a way that safely and responsibly protects our environment,” stated Governor Newsom. “The scale of the wildfire crisis in California is unprecedented, and we need a response to match the scale and severity of this challenge.”

The new regulations by the BFFP have been praised for making fighting wildfires easier in the future but also criticized for not doing enough for larger-scale fires.

“In layman’s terms this is going to protect large swaths of forests,” noted Joseph Ford, a firefighter who has helped fight several wildfires. “When you take out a lot of a forest in a line, it can’t spread anymore. And this makes it easier for large parts to be cut down. You know how they say you have to spend money to make money? Well in this case you have to destroy trees to save trees.”

“Actually it does even better because they’re putting money in to save forests.”

“The only thing this doesn’t do is protect against really bad ones. We’re talking Camp Fire sized wildfires with high winds. If the wind is strong enough it can send embers across fire breaks, or have enough trees fall down that it can carry the fire over.”

“Also you have to worry about regrowth, because if enough grows up and brush accumulates, you basically have tinder everywhere. Especially if a bunch of grass grows and dries out in a few years.”

The new BBFP measures approved on Tuesday have been noted that they have begun to fulfill demands of better wildfire prevention from both Governor Newsom and President Trump.

Evan Symon
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One thought on “Tree Clearing Measures Used to Slow Wildfires Are Now Easier to Approve

  1. The idiotic leadership finally see the light when it comes to forestry management. Clear the brush, make it easier to manage fires, and build homes in fire proof ways, that is how to deal with wildfires.
    I’m sure nutty environmentalists are clenching their teeth at a few trees being chopped down, but sensible environmental management will protect homes, and help firefighters deal with wildfires.
    Climate Change is always blamed for everything nowadays, but the truth is it is merely one background issue, with inadequate brush/forest management and inappropriately built homes that causes the wildfire issues California faces today.
    If only we could have more common sense measures on water, traffic, home supply, climate change etc… not endless regulation, but pro-market policies to deal with our issues. What would be nice is…
    – Build more reservoirs, more desalination, direct water fees to more water supply. If the water rationing law tries setting the limits too low, I’m sure Calif. residents will rebel. We all need to shower and wash clothes!
    – Stop wasting money on HSR choo choos and spend our high gas taxes on roads! Minimum traffic standards for roads, and where tolled lanes or roads make sense, keep funds in the road network and spend revenues on more lanes! Buses make far more economic sense than trains.
    – Climate change… we already have 2 carbon taxes… instead of inane rules making it harder to build homes or build roads, just rely on the market to reduce co2. Alternate fuel tech or a revenue neutral carbon tax would solve climate change in due course far better than our foolish anti-car or anti-single family home policies. Already Chevron is building a carbon capture plant in Texas to capture co2, pump it into the ground to drill for oil, which could yield carbon neutral oil! Technology will solve climate change, we don’t need the other baggage on climate that makes this state more expensive and worsens quality of life. ‘Cap n Trade’ is a scam that wastes money on HSR and other nonsense, making that revenue neutral or just relying on one carbon tax would make everyone better off.
    – Home Production… instead of restrictive policies that once made apartment building difficult, and now single-family homes difficult… make it easier to build the apartments and less dense housing people need so they can affordably live in Calif. A balance of protecting local bits of land for parkland or hiking areas, more important national or state parks, and allowing so many more homes on scrubland would make the state more affordable, and still protect the best of nature. It is far too hard for developers to build the homes people want, with the overzealous ‘CEQA’ and other issues. Misguided NIMBYism doesn’t help either, every ‘save our countryside’ measure always shows photos of high quality recreational areas that people could enjoy anyway, not the low grade land few actually enjoy their ought to be developed. It is such a shame Calif. is increasingly for the rich or poor subsidised, and the middle class pushed out elsewhere. I dislike the arrogant ‘well bye then, go’ comments from privileged left leaning people, rather than seeing the problems our Dem leadership are creating. Yes Trump is divisive and a irritant to many, but how can you say our leadership is good… expensive, bad traffic, homeless, lack of water capacity improvements etc… awful management
    – house the homeless in camps in the High Desert and Central Valley. Most homeless have mental or substance issues and need affordable help to sort themselves out, or hospitalise them. It is unaffordable to build expensive apartments in prime urban locations to house them, and undesirable for residents who have to deal with the associated problems they sometimes cause.
    The real homeless either aren’t seen, or the lower income middle class just leave state unfortunately.
    It just seems the solutions to our problems are simple, but our inept leadership with no opposition just prefers regulation and restrictions and excessive taxes. Such a beautiful state, such poor management.
    What we need is the Calif. republicans to disband, create a new centrist party based on liberal social attitudes, but sensible economic and environmental policies, which could win over republicans and disenfranchised dem leaning voters who don’t like Trump or perceptions the Republicans are too socially conservative. Unfortunately Calif. Dems lean too near the nutty left environmentalist side, and we put up with the associated nonsense. Voters just think ‘Trump Bad’ and not ‘what if Calif. was a far better place with good management’.
    I’m sure OC voters who generally swung from red to blue aren’t rabid far left wingers, they just don’t follow politics much and don’t like Trump.
    A major rebranding operation is needed to give Calif. and other states with similar characteristics a proper opposition party choice that appeals to the right and centre, and cleaves off the left.
    Though Calif. obviously have many nuts who like Dems bad policies, I still think despite the hollowing of the middle class and more affluent residents now, centrist, sensible policies can win, it just needs some time and some hard thinking from the republican and pro-business side.
    All that needs doing is ditching the bad policies on Calif.’s main issues, and sensible mechanisms in its place. California would be a far better place if we could do so. Could be worthy of its ‘Golden State’ branding once more!

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