TV Commercial Kicks Off Campaign to Restore Mendocino National Forest

Nov 21, 2008

MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA — A new television commercial that begins airing today marked the launch of an educational campaign aimed at increasing support for the Forest Service to conduct more controlled burns in California’s Mendocino National Forest. The “Restore the Mendo” campaign seeks to boost awareness of the role such burns play in restoring forest ecosystems, protecting people and property, and saving taxpayer dollars.

“People from many different backgrounds are working together to get away from the timber-war mentality and start managing our forests better,” says Rich Fairbanks, a fire specialist with the California-Nevada region of The Wilderness Society. “The science is pretty unanimous and so is the common sense about the value of using controlled burns on our forests: A series of small disturbances now can prevent a very large disturbance later.”

The campaign includes the TV ad featuring local rancher Bill Burrows airing in cities such as Arcata, Eureka and Redding, media outreach, speaking engagements, and a blog that explores the subject of controlled burns in detail.

“Here I am a redneck rancher sitting down with environmentalists and working together because I agree that we need more controlled burning on the Mendocino,” says Burrows, owner of a multifaceted Tehama County ranch that’s home to enterprises including 150 cattle, hunting trips, and a reservoir providing fresh fish to local restaurants. “Low-intensity burns refurbish vegetation for wildlife and livestock and they’re a must for environmental enhancement.”

The growing coalition of campaign supporters already involves:

Controlled burns are fires ignited by teams of fire scientists and firefighters in a designated area so that they can accomplish a number of important goals. Among other benefits, controlled burns:

  • reduce threats to people (homeowners and firefighters) and communities by removing the debris that can lead to larger fires later
  • restore forest ecosystems
  • allow for greater control of smoke irritation than uncontrolled, large-scale fires
  • save taxpayer dollars by burning in conditions favorable to firefighters rather than fighting fires during hot, dry summers

“Controlled burning, planned and implemented by professional fire managers, works,” says Jesse Jones — a registered professional forester who supports the Restore the Mendo campaign. “It protects natural resources, human lives and property in a cost efficient manner. It’s time to support our natural resource managers so they can get to work protecting forests and communities from wildfire.”