Eco-Friends: You'll find my letter to the editor about controlled burns and Aldo Leopold's positive thoughts about them in today's "New Mexican." It's the second letter at the link below (but I will also post it in the comments just in case).
Jan Boyer’s concern about a controlled burn in the Pecos Wilderness (Letters, Jan. 22, 2015) is misguided. Ours is a fire-dependent environment, and Aldo Leopold knew it.
As an inveterate forester in New Mexico and Arizona, Leopold’s understanding of the role of fire evolved. Four years after penning the quotation Boyer cites, Leopold explains that soil erosion had been exacerbated by a combination of overgrazing and fire suppression (cf. Leopold’s 1924 article “Grass, Brush, Timber, and Fire in Southern Arizona”). With respect to a similarly fire-suppressed landscape, Leopold also concluded, “The greater part of the loosened material is … in transit toward the reservoir, rather than already dumped into it. Blockading the detritus in transit is therefore just as important as desilting the [water] storage sites.”
It appears that the father of the environmental movement would likely approve the U.S. Forest Service’s plan, especially if stormwater-control measures are applied.