local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 public meetings

 previous edition

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 classifieds info
 internet info
 sun valley central
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Andrus Center releases new report on wildfire policy

Little progress seen in reducing fire threat

Express Staff Writer

Lawmakers have done little in the last four years to address fire-related policies that could help the West move away from a string of difficult wildfire seasons, according to a Boise-based think tank.

A new report released by the Andrus Center for Public Policy contends that little has been done to better respond to fire threats since Idaho’s significant 2000 wildfire season. The report called the situation a "crisis that demands a willingness to take risks, show leadership and act immediately."

With Idaho’s spring snowpacks ranging between 1 and 50 percent of average, Idaho could be on the cusp of another hot and dry wildfire season.

The new report—A Challenge Still Unmet: A Critical Assessment of the Policy Response to Wildland Fire—is an update on a conference on fire policy the Andrus Center convened after the 2000 summer fire season.

According to the new report, the December 2000 conference produced consensus from federal and state land managers, fire scientists and conservationists about what needed to change to reduce the threat of catastrophic fires.

But according to the new report, "… it is painfully obvious that progress on change has been glacially slow."

"At the end of our evaluation, we concluded that many of the issues we identified in 2000 are still not being adequately addressed," said Andrus Center Chairman Cecil D. Andrus, the former Idaho governor and U.S. Secretary of the Interior. "This is a significant failure of both political and policy will, one that has many causes, but the consequences of that failure, as you know, are potentially devastating for the communities and resources of the West."

The Andrus Center report says four issues must receive more attention if national wildland fire policy is to improve:

  • Coordination among federal agencies must improve, and bureaucratic aversion to change must be overcome.

  • Planning efforts must continue to help fire managers to decide which fires must be aggressively contained and which can merely be monitored.

  • Federal money needs to be focused on the West, rather than distributed nationally.

  • Local governments and individual homeowners must assume more responsibility to protect their own lives and properties.

The report concludes by contending that the forest wars of the last century are over.

"The Bush administration could encourage this dialogue with an honest assessment: Industrial forestry on national forests is largely a thing of the past. Today, restoration, forest health and fire prevention are the jobs of the U.S. Forest Service, and all the parties must get on board."

The Andrus Center report is available at the Center's Web site—www.andruscenter.org. A printed copy of the report is available for $5 by contacting the center at (208) 426-4218 or at www.andruscenter.org.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.