How we begin our workdays
John McColgan's August 6, 2000 photo of elk eying an 800 degree flame front on the East Fork of Montana's Bitterroot River has become a powerful symbol of everything that is wrong with the federal government's fire management policy. "Wildfire for ecosystem benefit" rarely produces benefits that outweigh the risks or losses. At least half of our nation's 193 million-acre federal forest estate is now dying, dead or burnt to a crisp - a direct result of poor political choices made by people who don't seem care about the damage they are doing to habitat for wildlife, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds, air and water quality, rural communities and outdoor recreation providers.

How we begin our workdays

The non-profit Evergreen Foundation has been up to its eyeballs in the West's wildfire-forest management debate for at least 25 years.

This website holds hundeds of reports explaining the results of lousy forest management decision-making. We are passionate about the science-based and time-tested tools we believe our nation's federal natural resource management agencies must use to confront the ecological, public health and safety risks our wildfire pandemic poses for all of us.

Here in northern Idaho we begin our work days with Mike Archer's Wildfire News of the Day [WNOD], Sharon Friedman's The Smokey Wire [TSW] and Nick Smith's HFHC News Roundup [HFHC].

Archer's WNOD functions more like an old-time wire service that distributes news it gathers from other sources that collectively offer time sensitive perspectives and opinions concerning what is happening in wildfire, fire-fighting techniques and advances in fire-fighting equipment used around the world.

Friedman's TSW offers analysis, perspectives and a wide range of opinions on issues and events that are impacting the scope of management activity on public and private forestlands in the United States.

Smith's HFHC is a speed-of-light version of the newspaper clipping services that prospered for decades before the internet killed their business model. Its offerings span the gamet: Congressional and state debate on new proposals for regulating publicly-owned forests and the impacts of wildfires on forests and communities. Many of the same ideas forest management ideas Evergreen champions for reducing the size, frequency and destructive force of today's wildfires.

We've known Smith for many years and have written op-eds for him, but we've never met Archer or Friedman. We have interviewed them and, in Archer's case, we asked him to tell us the story of how and why he started WNOD. His narrative is fascinating and similar to the Evergreen backstory.

Friedman's story is very different. She holds a PhD in forest genetics from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences and is the recipient of a 2022 Yale Distinguished Alumni Award.

During her long Forest Service career she worked mainly in forest planning. For a time she was the agency's Assistant Director for the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA] in Washington, D.C. and Director of Planning for the Rocky Mountain Region in Lakewood, Colorado.

She is a rock-solid thinker who has done an excellent job of democratizing a wide range of controversial discussions involving federal forest management and the use of thinning and prescribed fire as a management tools. We don't always fully agree with her assessments but we always learn from them.

We hold this trio in high regard. Their reports are required reading for anyone seeking information concerning forests, forest management and its sciences and the impacts our nation's wildfire pandemic is having on all of us - topics that have been front and center with us since 1986.

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