Catastrophic wildfires throw a harsh light on failure of forest management

By / by Peter Aleshire

Fires that have charred 5 million acres on the West Coast and killed at least 27 people have highlighted the long, frustrating, stalled effort to avoid catastrophe in Rim County and the White Mountains.

“The death of our citizens is simply not an option,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran, whose congressional district includes much of northeastern Arizona — including Flagstaff, Rim Country and the White Mountains.

He said the decade-long delay in pushing forward the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) shows the shattered and ineffective system for managing federal lands in the West.