Letter to the Editor: Aug. 20, 2020

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Fire is beneficial to the range

Dear Editor:

I was very excited to read BLM Deputy Director William Pendley’s article in last week’s HT about the value of fire to our western ranges and his claim that the BLM was using fire as a land management tool. He even cited the historical use of fire within the region by Native Tribes. The extensive benefits of fire, both to rangeland health and fire mitigation, have been a rally cry of local ranchers for decades and we are thrilled to see the BLM echoing our sentiments. 

Shortly after the paper came out the media began reporting that President Trump now plans to withdraw his nomination of Pendley following complaints about Pendley from environmental extremists who have very little on the ground knowledge of our western rangelands. This is a disappointing step, as it will once again leave the BLM directionless and slow to action. It’s the same situation we’ve been in for a decade. 

Without the leadership of Director Pendley I would like to encourage local Field Managers, including our own Kent Walter, to take this understanding of the need for fire and run with it. Many local ranchers have plans set in place with the office for designated areas that should be allowed to burn, in addition to numerous requests for controlled burns submitted unsuccessfully over the years. Perhaps now we can take a second look at these plans and really do some good for the range, the livestock and the wildlife. 

Jennifer Hill