When it came time to write this week’s editorial, we drew our inspiration from the two opinion pieces printed on the facing page — Keith Crummer’s insightful and knowledgeable Where I Stand on the elements that need to be addressed regarding wildfires and Lyndsey Theobald’s update on her New Year’s resolutions.
Let’s start with Crummer, a registered professional forester whose 31-year career with the Forest Service included being a district ranger and an ecosystem manager. He understands forests and how they should be managed.
He is also a homeowner — he used to have two —one in Paradise and one in Chester. Now he has one. Take the time to read his opinion on the facing page. It comes from not only a place of deep knowledge on a subject, but from someone who has experienced great loss.
His basic premise is this: “It takes three things for a fire: oxygen, fuel and an ignition. There is another ‘fire triangle’ governing the behavior of wildfire: weather, topography and again, fuel. Of these variables, which is most controllable by humans? It is, obviously, the fuel component. Ignitions are not all man caused or avoidable. But the resulting fire behavior can be altered by managing the fuels.”
Is he preaching to the choir up here in Plumas County. This is after all the home of the Quincy Library Group, a group whose roots go back to the early 1990s and that for decades preached the necessity of managing the forests. What seemed a groundbreaking philosophy at the time has now become the hallmark of how forests should be managed. Is it too late? Is the infrastructure that is needed beyond resuscitation? Is Crummer right? Could it be difficult to find people willing to return to the woods for the backbreaking work required? And even if the work is completed, are there enough facilities to handle the wood and the debris that must be removed?
There’s hope. A local attorney organized a meeting scheduled for today to see if the QLG or some other entity could take the lead locally. Some of that work is being done through the Fire Safe Council and the effort to promote Firewise communities. Of course, it must be undertaken on a state and national level as well. At least the conversation is underway and let’s hope that it leads to action.
The second piece worth reading is lighter in nature, but is something we can control ourselves. Lyndsey Theobald’s approach to resolutions (as initially shared in our Health, Mind & Body issue) is not to commit to a resolution for an entire year, but rather to one per month. She plans to share monthly updates of her progress. In January, she pledged to give up alcohol for one month, which she successfully accomplished.
We like her approach because the odds of success are much greater. It’s far easier to commit to one month, with the possibility of whatever good habits are established during that timeframe to continue for longer, than it is to commit to an entire year when failure is far more likely.
This Friday marks the beginning of February and it’s the perfect month to adopt her approach, since there are only 28 days. Let’s all commit to something for one month — whether it be for personal benefit or for the community. If you’d like, you can share your story after the month has passed just as Lyndsey is sharing hers.