Smokey Bear the (Unwitting) Arsonist: The Culture War and Western Wildfires

“We held then, and we hold now, that economics alone is not a sufficient basis for determining whether wilderness shall survive or die,” said Secretary Orville L. Freeman in reference to the construction of Interstate 70 in Colorado in 1968. This sentiment, imbued with an almost religious confidence, embodies the defiant attitude of liberal environmentalism that still haunts the United States. As wildfires rip through California, Colorado, and New Mexico, it must not be forgotten how we arrived here.
Smokey needs more paws to get the job done or, at the very least, more cash. In a statement from last summer, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue noted how Forest Service funding continues to disproportionately flow towards active fire suppression over forest management. This reflects research from the University of Arizona which points towards fires becoming both more numerous and larger. The Forest Service is playing catch up with Mother Nature.
Scientific forest management, a

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