CalMatters Op-Ed: California Must Spend to Manage Forest Health

By November 23, 2020Advocacy, News, News & Info

The Creek Fire burns in the Sierra National Forest, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, near Big Creek, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Robert Dugan, chair of the Placer County Water Agency Board of Directors and a board member of the Sacramento Regional Water Authority, and Jeff Harris, vice mayor of the city of Sacramento and a board member of the Sacramento Regional Water Authority.

The uncontrolled wildfires that raged across California this year devastated lives, homes, forests and entire watersheds. We set a dubious record for most acres burned in a single year: 4.1 million and counting.

It takes a long time to recover from such intense fires. In 2014, the King Fire burned 97,000 acres of vital American River watershed in Northern California, and we’re still managing the consequences.

As representatives of urban and rural communities in this watershed, we appreciate that our lives are interconnected by the effects of wildfire. We understand how uncontrolled fire in our headwater forests can trigger cascading negative impacts on our water supplies, environment, recreational resources and economy – from the Sierra foothills to Sacramento’s urban core into the Delta and beyond. We also know that the way we have historically managed our forests must change.

Read the full op-ed here.