Environmentalists naturally opposed any sort of clear-cutting. In their view, when man comes into conflict with nature, man must give way, even if massive forest fires and environmental damages ensue. The Sierra Club Web site still tells readers that it is a myth that "Salvage logging after forest fires is needed to remove dead trees to prevent future fires." Rather, it says, "Trees downed by forest fires provide habitat for wildlife and nutrients needed to help keep forests healthy." Greenpeace avers: "Natural and controlled forest fires are integral to the health of all forests. They restore nutrients to the soil, create habitat for fish and wildlife and help eliminate the smaller brush and saplings that compete with the forests' large and fire-resistant trees."
As of Tuesday, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace Web sites contained no mention of the forest fires raging out of control in California.
Ironically, environmentalists oppose clear-cutting and promote forest fires even though forest fires are the sources of materials most dangerous to air quality -- far more dangerous, in fact, than the smog environmentalists fret over ad infinitum. The California government has issued a health alert for the Southern California area.
According to government officials, anyone who can see, taste or smell smoke should stay indoors. Schools in the region have been told to keep children inside rather than allowing outdoor sports. The smoke caused by the California wildfires contains hundreds of natural chemicals and gases, including formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. The smoke also contains microscopic particles that are easily inhaled into the lungs, where they often become permanently lodged. Those who prolong their exposure to particulate pollution may experience retarded lung growth.
Meanwhile, some Senate Democratic pawns of the environmentalist movement continue to stall President Bush's Healthy Forests Restoration Act. At the start of October, Senate Democrats threatened to filibuster HR 1904, forcing advocates to find 60 votes in order to pass the bill. The prospects for passing HR 1904 look good. Unfortunately, it's too little too late for those in California who tensely wait and watch as the wall of smoke draws ever nearer.