Once A Forest Statement & Call to Action
First, we want a pause on cutting and burning until the pros and cons have been heard in a public hearing.
We want our elected officials to oversee and review federal projects to make sure they are in the best interest of the health and well being of New Mexicans. We want the Forest Service to do an Health Impact Assessment for our community before continuing to burn.
Many Forest Service projects are called “restoration projects.” They include a lot of prescribed burning (fuel reduction) which is very controversial. We need a detailed definition of “restoration.”
We are not opposed to all prescribed burns. Like DellaSalla, the well known forest scientist said, "a surgical burn is okay." That means small, to a purpose, with site specific studies. Forests that have burned once are more, not less likely to burn again.
We want the Forest Service to stop burning during nesting season, on windy days, and when we are in extreme drought. We want the Forest Service to discontinue cutting down the big old trees. We want them to minimize burning because the smoke is deadly. Our air quality is already bad; we have gone from an “A” to a “B” rating from the American Lung Association in the last few years (The New Mexican, 4/21/16, Santa Fe Slips to a B....). These burns exacerbate climate disruption.
We must find alternative ways to live with the forest without killing thousands of animals and birds. We suggest contour felling, planting trees, developing firewise communities with defensible space, having firewise building codes, burying power lines, and enforcing laws about campfires.
We must protect the life and diversity of the irreplaceable forest.
Please go to OnceAForest.org and sign our petition requesting an environmental impact statement.