R. J. Smith discusses the problems of forest fires on public land with Fox News:
With 190 million acres of land under its control, the Forest Service is ill-equipped to manage land to prevent fires or protect property once blazes break out, said Robert Smith, distinguished fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment.
“Private owners cannot afford to let their forests die of disease, insect infestations or wildfire,” Smith said. “They are on the job 24 hours a day, unlike 9-5 government bureaucrats. If private owners fail they go bankrupt. If Forest Service managers fail, at worst they are transferred to another forest.”
Smith in part blames the influence of radical environmentalists for blocking the Forest Service from managing woodlands by removing old or dead trees most vulnerable to fire. Critics also say the government’s refusal to open up roadways through forestland makes fighting fires unnecessarily difficult.