Re "Making the Rim fire worse," Editorial, Dec. 24

The emotional need to make the black go away after a wildfire, in addition to financial incentives, lead to counterproductive actions such as salvage logging, massive tree-planting projects and irrational clearance of valuable chaparral, California's distinctive shrubland habitat.

Instead, we need patience; The Times' editorial makes this point clear.

Salvage logging would only make the Rim fire damage worse by interfering with the natural healing process, encouraging the spread of flammable weeds, and would repeat mistakes the U.S. Forest Service made after a 1987 fire in the same area. These mistakes created dense tree farms that helped the Rim fire spread and produced an ecological disaster through the extensive use of herbicides.

Rather than thinking we know better, it is usually best to leave post-fire environments alone. One wonders how nature survived without us.

Richard Halsey

Escondido

The writer is the director of the California Chaparral Institute.

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