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Letters to the Editor: Old-growth forests fight climate change. Ban clearcutting to prevent ‘gigafires’

Smoke hovers over the forest amid the August Complex fire on Sept. 22.
Smoke hovers over the forest amid the August Complex fire on Sept. 22.
(Mike McMillan / U.S. Forest Service)

To the editor: It’s staggering to hear Gov. Gavin Newsom say that the size of the August Complex fire in Northern California “makes up more than all the fires that occurred between 1932 and 1999,” and that more than twice as many acres of land have burned so far this year than in previously record-setting 2018.

It’s not just that “climate change and other factors such as mismanaged forests are worsening the state’s fire danger.” Mismanaged forests, particularly the logging industry’s practice of clearcutting old-growth forests, worsen climate change itself.

Old-growth trees are far more effective at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the replacements the loggers plant. We need these old trees now more than ever.

Better forest management must include a ban on clearcutting. Old-growth trees must be protected to prevent hotter temperatures and more devastating fires in the future.

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Leslie Lange, Ventura

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To the editor: Why use the word “giga” to describe a fire that has burned 1 million acres? Wouldn’t “mega” suffice (and be accurate as well)? After all, a true “gigafire” fire would burn the equivalent of 10 Californias, as the entire state is about 100 million acres.

Worse yet, one has to read through most of the article before reaching the salient point that fire management experts have been telling us for decades now: Forest land mismanagement is the fundamental problem affecting fire in the western U.S.

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So, why would you scaremonger with the absurd use of “giga” and relegate to minor significance what actually is most important to the topic of wildfire management?

Terry Cavicchi, Thousand Oaks

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To the editor: I read a lot of opinions as to why these fires are unprecedented but little about how to deal with them in the future.

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How about building large tanker drones that can move large amounts of water to fight the fires without risking humans to fly them? Small pipe-fed pools could be placed at many locations in the forests to supply the water for the drones. These aircraft could be remotely controlled.

Let us think outside the box. Could the Boeing Co. build such a drone? Ask!

Douglas M. Chapman, Santa Ana


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