Role of Fire and Effects in Industry

January 5, 2001

Whereas the fires of 2000 in Idaho led to public land and river closures directly affecting 150 outfitting businesses 400-plus employees and 2,150-plus guided clients in and out of designated wilderness areas and,

Whereas the fires of 2000 also affected many other outfitter and related businesses in rural Idaho and,

Whereas the documented outfitter business losses from fire related events exceeded $2.5 million and,

Whereas, the outfitter and guide industry recognizes the role that natural, prescribed and wildland fires play in present day ecosystems that have been affected by nearly a century of aggressive agency fire suppression policies and,

Whereas, government firefighting resources were inadequate to meet the challenges of the summer 2000 western states fires,

Therefore Be It Resolved that the IOGA supports the continuation of agency implementation of prescribed and resource benefit fires both in and out of wilderness as a tool to improve overall forest health including big game habitat and,

Be it Further Resolved that the IOGA strongly recommends that agencies work closely with affected outfitter businesses in the planning and implementation of prescribed fires that includes adequate funding for trail rehabilitation and reconstruction that may be necessary as a result of damage from prescribed fire and,

Be it Further Resolved that the IOGA supports chain saw exemptions for both Forest Service and user group use as necessary for current and future trail maintenance in wilderness areas severely impacted by fires and,

Be it Further Resolved that the IOGA supports active management fuel reduction methods such as prescribed fire, thinning and timber harvest where ecologically sound and,

Be it Further Resolved that the IOGA supports further discussions with federal agency persons to explore how the industry can better obtain timely information that could enhance outfitter business decision making relative to starting, canceling or aborting guided trips during normal and abnormal fire seasons and,

Be it Further Resolved that agencies reserve sufficient initial attack resources for wilderness fire starts during abnormal fire years and,

Be it Further Resolved that the IOGA urges direct agency support for the development and implementation of fire ecology and fire behavior educational modules that can enhance industry knowledge in our role as interpreters for the guided public and others.