SALEM, Ore. — Wildfires that are blackening the American West in one of the nation’s worst fire seasons have ignited calls, including from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to thin forests that have become so choked with trees that they are at “powder keg levels.”
The destruction has exposed old frictions between environmentalists and those who want to see logging accelerated, and it’s triggered a push to reassess how lands should be managed to prevent severe wildfires.
Zinke’s directive Tuesday for department managers and superintendents to aggressively prevent wildfires was welcomed by Ed Waldron, fire management officer at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.
Waldron was exhausted after fighting two fires that have been burning since late July in or near the park, whose centerpiece is a lake that fills the remains of an erupted volcano and is the deepest in the United States. But he wondered where the additional resources