The spark that started the fire.

When anyone mentions wildfires in the news, we immediately want to know how the fire started. Was it intentional, accidental or the result of negligence by the agencies tasked with protecting our forests? The book “Running Out of Time: Wildfires and Our Imperiled Forests” focuses on the latter. The two authors living in opposite parts of the country each witnessed forest fire devastation and its long-term impact. They did not know each other until years later when their respective businesses brought them together on a project involving aerial firefighting and forestry management. As a result of many conversations and a common interest in stopping uncontrolled wildfires a spark was ignited and the book research began.

“We discovered this story required an analysis of forest management,” states co-author David Auchterlonie from California. “More than 100 million acres of poorly managed federal forests are catalysts for intense and devastating wildfires. This book is our focus on government bureaucracy’s neglect of our forests for more than a century and counting. The new book describes wildfire suppression and forest management, including the agencies responsible, costs involved, assets utilized, and practices employed. It includes global information for comparison to the worldwide challenge of forest management and wildfire suppression. It also explores increased global temperature and the task involving carbon dioxide sequestration linked to forests.”

Research and Solutions

The researchers and authors analyzed the current situation in the U.S. and propose realistic, incentive-driven solutions to fund the significant costs needed to restore our neglected forests. Annually, the cost of this neglect in the form of devasting wildfires exceeds $300 billion. Toxic carcinogenic wildfire smoke impacts two-thirds of the U.S. population. National and state park closures significantly impact recreational use. Watershed and wildlife suffer severe loss, all of which is unacceptable.

Co-author Jeffrey Lehman of Georgia adds “Our blueprint complements the already extensive research performed by academics, forestry experts, and government agencies to help achieve a reduced number and ferocity of wildfires, a lower volume of toxic carcinogenic smoke, and improve the health of our forests. We recognize the excellent effort of the federal, state, and local employees who do the work to preserve our forests and prevent and suppress wildfires. Many dedicated people are performing unheralded tasks. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the leadership in many of the bureaucratic agencies.”

The Flame

“Running Out of Time: Wildfires and Our Imperiled Forests” due out Spring 2023 sheds light on the mismanagement of the Forest Service and its impact on the prevention of wildfires. Written by experts in the field, the book explores the factors contributing to the increase in wildfires, including climate change and forest mismanagement, and provides recommendations for improving forest management practices. With insights from industry leaders, policymakers, and scientists, “Running Out of Time” offers a compelling case for urgent action to protect our forests from the devastating impact of wildfires.

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