In the past few years many states have experienced devastating forest fires. Dry weather, coupled with a build-up of underbrush, has resulted in fires nearly impossible to stop. We have not experienced major fires in Whatcom County and can thank the logging industry for helping to protect us.
Responsible and sustainable harvesting of trees has helped eliminate underbrush and reduce fire danger. What will happen if the county assumes control of forest lands and stops logging? Is there a plan to remove underbrush from nearly 9,000 acres of land? Who is going to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do the job?
What about liability for fires that spread from county-managed lands to adjacent land? There are hundreds of homes that could burn as a result. The cost of fighting lawsuits would be immense, not to mention damages awarded. What about the cost of fighting the fires? What about resulting mudslides and silt pollution that would pour into Lake Whatcom, Bellingham's drinking source? This would be a nightmare of liability with staggering financial consequences for the county.
It would be gross mismanagement by the County Council to assume management of this land. There is very little to gain and a huge amount to lose.