The Wilderness Society – And a Once Skeptical Writer – Join Forest Restoration Campaign

Screenshot from Restore the Mendo Commercial

Moments after I showed up for my first day on the job as a communications director at The Wilderness Society last year, my boss casually mentioned that I would be responsible for promoting the idea that wildfires aren’t always bad.

Images of flames scorching my hometown, Atlanta, raced through my head: We have a rather unique history with fire and are a bit sensitive about the subject.

“Um, what was that you said?,” I asked, looking down at all the paperwork I had just signed and wondering if I had an escape clause available.

I promptly set about applying the journalistic approach of my previous career to examine the issue. Little by little, I learned that it was true: some wildfires are good things. Certain kinds of fires in particular.

Take controlled burns for example. TWS has joined a wide-ranging group of organizations and individuals in a new educational campaign that seeks to increase support for the Forest Service to conduct more controlled burns on the Mendocino National Forest in California. You can see what the campaign is all about by watching a TV commercial featuring a local rancher talking about the value of controlled burns … how they help protect people and property, restore forests, and save taxpayer dollars.

The commercial airing on several cable networks in communities around the forest is part of a “Restore the Mendo” campaign that’s essentially a pilot project on the issue of controlled burns. By focusing on one specific forest, we hope to encourage federal and state officials to dedicate more funding for controlled burns on the Mendocino – increasing the number of acres burned from a few thousand a year to perhaps a few tens of thousands of acres. Forest Service land managers on the ground, meanwhile, need to know that the public understands why they’re conducting burns that can certainly be a nuisance.

You can help us. You could start by acting on the blog’s simple calls to action. We have a few up now that could use your attention. With you on our side, we can protect Mendocino-area communities and restore the forest that people and wildlife alike call home.

photo: screenshot from Restore the Mendo commercial.