A cluster of controlled fire and tree-thinning projects approved by forestry officials but never funded might have slowed the progress of the massive Rim Fire in California, a wide range of critics said this weekend…
The wildfire is the sixth-largest on record in California. It burned over 220,000 acres over the past two weeks while penetrating Yosemite National Park and threatening to befoul the Hetch Hetchy reservoir providing the lion’s share of water to San Francisco.
“This is a colossal unfunded backlog of critically important fuel reduction work,” said John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center and a former Forest Service fire fighter. The projects “would have inarguably made the Rim Fire far easier to contain, far less expensive and possibly not even a major disaster.”