Disappointed with the Eagle

I, as a longtime resident of Grant County, am extremely disappointed with the Blue Mountain Eagle for allowing the insert "Wildfire" to be sent out with the May 19 issue. For the few dollars that the paper may have gained, you have effectively sold out the economy and the people of Grant County.

Our economy has been and will continue to be driven by our proper management and harvest of our local forests. There are some statistics in this article that are compelling, however, while attending Oregon State University for agricultural and natural resource economics, I used these same statistics to come to completely different conclusions. The quote, "This is only 40 percent of the annual average of 13.9 million acres that burned from 1919 to 1999," neglects to tell you that the average fires were only 10 acres in size! Fires of this size, however more frequent, do considerably less damage. Small fires can be helpful in our management practices, while big fires are "devastating."

I will close by again, letting you know how sorry I am that for a little profit you have aligned your paper with the far left environmental groups that would have our community shut down, so that they can have a playground for the rich and famous.

Scott Officer

John Day

Not a balanced discussion

The inclusion of the recent insert "Wildfire: a natural part of life in the American West" (May 19) could not be described as a balanced discussion of forest fire management and policy. I would hope to see a future issue discuss particulars found in this publication. That is what I expect as a customer of the Blue Mountain Eagle.

In reading this publication, I discovered multiple misleading statements, half-truths, statistics skewed to develop factoids ... all prepared by a group of radical preservationist organizations. Apparently they would have me live in a 200-foot greenbelt surrounded by thousands of acres of unmanaged burned forests. Their Eden is my worst nightmare.

"Fire facts or fire hysteria" is one question they ask, and then use as examples the Biscuit fire of 2002 and the B & B complex of 2003. I have direct knowledge of both those fires, having long tours on both as a firefighter. It does not take a high-intensity wildfire to kill all the trees in a given area. Wildfire intensity as used is a summation of fire effects on a variety of resources, timber being just one part of the equation. Trees die just as dead in a low-intensity wildfire, as in a high-intensity event.

The majority of forested types in Grant County is likely ponderosa pine. The authors use two photos to illustrate this forest type, in conjunction with a short discussion of pine ecology. They at least mention the poster, "88 years of Change in Ponderosa Pine Forest", however do not describe the series of photos one will see. The change over time is common sense and dramatic, however not really the point of the discussion. Neither photo shows a typical ponderosa pine stand in this area now, and yet wildfire in dense, overstocked stands is to be considered natural? As much a part of Western landscape as snow, wind, sun and rain? In the interest of brevity, I'll not continue with the absurdities I found.

This misinformation borders on propaganda and, while mentioning or using helpful science, is really just another statement of a special interest group's agenda. Their main interest is in financing further confrontation and litigation. It was an unfortunate choice to include this in the Blue Mountain Eagle.

Scott McDonald

Mt.Vernon

'Distorted piece of rubbish'

I am writing to express my extreme displeasure at the "Wildfire" insert in last week's Blue Mountain Eagle. These remarks are my own and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the organization I work for.

The insert is full of distortions, half truths and outright fabrications. Such as "... forests that have experienced extensive commercial logging and road building experience greater fire severity than unlogged and unroaded watersheds and forests."

When I talked to the Blue Mountain Eagle staff I was told that this piece was sent to the East Oregonian and directly inserted without being reviewed by the Blue Mountain Eagle as would normally be done. One would have to ask ... if this is a credible piece of work why would the promoters have to stoop to these tactics to get it distributed.

The caption under the picture on Page 3 states that "forests are not destroyed or lifeless following a fire." I would suggest anyone believing that, should drive from Sisters going west on Highway 22 and see what is left of that forest area.

I am disappointed that the Blue Mountain Eagle, in your attempt to show both sides of issues, would allow such a distorted piece of rubbish to be distributed by your company.

Ralph Goodwin

Canyon City

Editor's Note: The Blue Mountain Eagle offers advertising or insert space for purchase for any side of the economic or political spectrum, as long as it meets standards of decency and is not libelous. The insert mentioned is a political piece and its insertion does not necessarily represent an endorsement by this paper or its employees. The Eagle believes it is the right of a group or individual to purchase space to share their views, just as it is the right for people to submit letters to the editor for free to share theirs.

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