November 23, 2005

Grazing Beneficial in Fight Against Wild Fires

Needles Desert Star / Needles, CA

A friend sent me a copy of the July 20 article "Wildfire" in the East Mojave. In it, the park service disputes the importance of cattle grazing as a means of reducing fuel buildup during wet years.

I spent 28 years with the Bureau of Land Management on the California Desert, and am familiar with the area in question. I can state with some authority that during my tenure with the Bureau, the East Mojave didn't suffer any fires of the magnitude of the one that visited the area this year.

It's my belief that the presence of cattle definitely reduces the amount of fuel in any given year. Often in the past, ranchers would bring additional cattle (feeders) in for a few months in wet years to consume the higher stands of annual grasses and forbes and further reduce the threat of a serious wildfire during the following dry season.

Wesley Chambers

Ontario, California