Sierra Club Big Bear Group
The Sierra Club's
7-Point Plan to Protect Communities
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The Sierra Club Big Bear Group is very grateful that our beautiful forest and community are safe from the recent wildfire.  In addition, our gratitude goes out to the firefighters, law enforcement officers, city and county personnel, elected officials & all of the many "Big Bear Heros" who served our community so well.

We also recognize that in order to ensure the ongoing protection of our forest environment and community, much more work lies ahead.  We look forward to working well within our community to accomplish this goal.

Finally, we are conscious that some people in our community may have false impressions about what the Sierra Club's philosophy and policies are pertaining to healthy forest management and protecting forest communities.  Our fundamental belief is that, as much as possible, forest management should try to re-create what would occur in nature in a healthy forest.  This includes the thinning of smaller, new growth trees and clearing brush which, in nature, is the role of fire in the ecosystem.  With that said, we present the Sierra Club's 7-Point Plan to Protect Communities, detailed below, and hope it will educate and provide a basis for mutual respect and collaboration on this most important work.
7-Point Plan to Protect Communities
To secure the perimeter around the Community Protection Zone (500 yards around a community), the Sierra Club has developed a seven-part plan modeled on research by Forest Service fire scientists.  We are calling on the Bush Administration and the Forest Service to adopt it as a blueprint for the next five years.

1.   Do the most important work first.  Make protecting communities from fires the Forest Service's Number One Priority.  Reduce fuels in the Community Protection Zone - the first 500 yards out from buildings.

2.   Provide meaningful funding.  This program should be a minimum of five years and funded at $2 billion a year to go directly to fireproofing homes and removing hazardous fuels in the Community Protection Zones.  This funding should be secure so the Forest Service bureaucracy cannot shift it to other activities.

3.   Match personnel to work.  Shift Forest Service personnel skilled in preparing brush clearing and thinning projects away from backcountry, low-priority areas to Ranger Districts near the Community Protection Zones.

4.  Immediately carry out the vast majority of fuel reduction projects in Community Protection Zones that raise no significant environmental issues.  Work together with communities and environmentalists to plan fuel reduction activities that may involve critical wildlife habitat.

5.   Restore fire's natural role.  Prescribed burns can help to reduce fuel buildup and restore healthy forest habitats.  Every dollar spent on prescribed burning saves seven dollars on fighting large fires later.  Restore the natural role played by small fires that preiodically sweep across the forest floor, add nutrients to the soil, clear out brush and trigger trees to release new seeds.

6.   Protect our ancient and wild forests from logging and logging roads.  Forest Service studies show that 80 percent of fires in western forests start in areas with roads.  Focusing around the Community Protection Zones will produce quicker results and less controversy.

7.   Stop the attack on forest protection safegurards.  Ensure full public participation in decision-making in National Forest management as the best way to deter bad logging practices that increase fire risks.
For additional information on the Sierra Club's Forest Protection & Restoration positions, policies and programs, CLICK HERE