Roads in forests lead to fires

By MARK BOSLOUGH, Ph.D., a member of REP’s New Mexico Chapter

AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT: Letter to the editor of the Albuquerque Tribune, July 18, 2002


RE: “HIKER Feared for Life”

The woman who started the devastating Chediski fire was not a hiker. She was with a motorist who ran out of gas after getting lost on a back road through the forest.

The distinction is significant. In fire-prone areas, roads provide access for motorized vehicles, creating more opportunities for fires to be started by careless or inexperienced people. Off-road recreation advocates have wasted no time in reporting on the web that this fire was started by a “hiker.”

Fortunately, the National Forest Roadless Area Conservation Act (HR 4865), would protect 58.5 million acres of our national forests from the kind of motorized intrusion that led to the Chediski fire.

The off-road lobbyists who support more forest road building have successfully managed to spin the “lost hiker” story in their favor. I hope our Congress members do their own research, recognize that more roads mean more fires, and support HR 4865.