We must maintain and not neglect the forests
Recently, KOB published a news article titled “105-Year-Old Woman Loses Home in Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire”. Mariquita Gallegos, a mother of 17 and a longtime resident of the area, has already lost two homes to wildfires. Now she lives with her family in Los Lunas and celebrates 105 years of life, even as her material possessions have been reduced to ashes.
Mariquita is not alone and unfortunately even Valencia County is no stranger to wildfires. Just a few weeks ago, the Bosque fire burned down homes a few blocks from mine, and as tragic as it was, it has nothing to do with the wildfires that are ravaging right now. our state. Last week it was announced that the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peaks fire is now New Mexico’s largest wildfire in modern history, having burned over 300,000 acres of our precious land. People lost homes, animals and other valuable possessions, and the governor estimated that more than 1,000 homes could be destroyed. Meanwhile, our firefighters and other first responders are putting their lives on the line and working around the clock to lessen the impact of this colossal blaze.
How could we let this happen? This is a question I get often. While the governor and federal officials are quick to blame the winds, dry weather and lack of rain, however, we cannot ignore the fact that the Hermits Peak fire was caused by a government-mandated burn. and fueled by ongoing neglect.
For decades, radical environmentalists have spoken of impending global destruction while preaching the gospel of land preservation. In many cases, they achieved their goals. Over the years, more and more land in New Mexico that had previously been tended by farmers and ranchers with vested interests in keeping it rich and bountiful was turned over to the government. In turn, these lands have been largely neglected. A lack of management, including proper thinning of forests and restoration of watersheds, has resulted in fuel accumulation and overcrowded forests. As we have seen, it only takes one spark to devastate thousands of lives and scar the landscape for generations.
When it comes to air quality and climate, extremely high amounts of CO2 are generated and emitted into our atmosphere every day due to forest fires. Next time the eco-left pushes its sweeping climate change legislation, we should all remind them how their mismanagement and neglect of our earth is causing more emissions problems than the gas-powered vehicles they want we gave up. In 2020, for example, wildfires in California are estimated to have emitted more carbon into the atmosphere than 24 million cars.
If we are going to deal with the threats of wildfires in New Mexico, we have to stop being inspired by California and start managing the territory. Let the grazers limit the proliferation. Let loggers responsibly clear overgrown forests. End foolish policies such as controlled burns during the windy season. Conserve and manage the land, instead of preserving and neglecting it.
If you agree, don’t just nod your head. Call on the governor, your state legislators, and our congressional delegation and demand that they end the cycle of burn and desperation in our state. It’s time we got serious about forest management before there are no more forests to manage.