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Fire politics

The recent spate of heavy fire seasons has begun to result in a fire politics too, in rural areas. Some of this played out today in a piece in the Twin Falls Times News.

South-central Idaho is a logical place for it, since this is on the southern end of the hottest fire territory in the country. Three adjacent counties stretching across much of southern Idaho – Owyhee, Twin Falls and Cassia – have been declared fire disaster areas by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Last night, about 120 ranchers and others from these rural areas gathered in the small city of Castleton and fired questions at Tom Dyer, director of the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho. Many of them had to do with the Murphy Complex fire, which reportedly ran to nearly 900 square miles. They asked if the agency could have kept it from becoming so massive if they’d hit harder, earlier? (Current reports are that it is now smaller in size but still only 20% contained.)

Some of them argued that grazing regulations left too much vegetation in place, serving as fuel when the fires took off.

Could go in a variety of directions, but fire looks like a front-burner (sorry – would you rather we called it incendiary?) issue for a while, especially if the fires continue getting worse.

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