Last Sunday's Sacramento Bee featured a guest editorial from the retired forest supervisor of the San Bernardino National Forest, entitled "Fire Risk Needs To Be Factored Into Zoning."
It's important reading for anyone who cares about planning in Amador County or anywhere else in rural California. Fire is a fact of life in our state. It's part of the ecology. As long as counties continue to allow sprawl in high fire-risk areas, we will continue to incur huge costs in wildland firefighting -- and lives and property will continue to be lost.
Zimmerman estimates the cost of California wildland fire suppression to be about $1 billion a year. As he points out, most of that cost is borne by state and federal taxpayers, not local residents or county governments. It's a subsidy, pure and simple.
Zimmerman's op-ed follows on last year's Sierra Nevada Alliance report on growth in high fire-risk areas of the Sierra, Dangerous Development: Wildfire and Rural Sprawl in the Sierra Nevada. If you haven't read that yet, be sure to take a look.
I wrote a letter to the Bee regarding Zimmerman's op-ed, which they published today. You can read it here.