If you believe Senator Steve Daines, the serious forest fires this summer could have been prevented by allowing more logging in the Montana national forests. Senator Daines and many of his Republican compatriots in the U.S. Congress and the Montana State Legislature consistently offer simplistic solutions to complex problems, and this is no exception. During the last century Montana has experienced major booms-busts in the timber industry periodically, devastating local economies in the process. The causes vary from timber supply to new technologies to the importation of cheap Canadian lumber. Senator Daines prefers to blame environmentalists for both this summer’s fires and the decline of the wood products industry in Montana. However, the devastating 1910 fire occurred after decades of intense logging on national forests and serious drought. Devastating fires occurred eight times between 1914 and 1934 in Region 1, during periods of heavy logging. Forest fires occur during times of serious drought, which is the case this summer and will continue to occur as the climate heats up. While 95 percent of the world’s climate scientists attribute the warming climate to human activity, Senator Daines has chosen to ignore their concerns.

Brian Shovers

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Helena

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