« PreviousContinue »
MATTERS RELATIVE TO THE CONTROL OF FOREST AND
BRUSH FIRES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
Printed for the use of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS.
CLAIR ENGLE, California, Chairman WAYNE N. ASPINALL, Colorado
A. L. MILLER, Nebraska LEO W. O'BRIEN, New York
JOHN P. SAYLOR, Pennsylvania WALTER ROGERS, Texas
J. ERNEST WHARTON, New York MRS. GRACIE PFOST, Idaho
E. Y. BERRY, South Dakota
WILLIAM A. DAWSON, Utah
CRAIG HOSMER, California
JOHN J. RHODES, Arizona GEORGE H. CHRISTOPHER, Missouri J. EDGAR CHENOWETH, Colorado B. F. SISK, California
JAMES B. UTT, California STEWART L. UDALL, Arizona
KEITH THOMSON, Wyoming CHARLES C. DIGGS, JR., Michigan
PHIL WEAVER, Nebraska
HAROLD R. COLLIER, Illinois
CLAIR ENGLE, California, Chairman
JOHN P. SAYLOR, Pennsylvania
JOHN J. RHODES, Arizona
Mrs. J. B. Atkisson, chairman, conservation of natural resources,
Verdugo District, California Federation of Women's Clubs, Pasa-
Burton W. Bogardus, president, Big Santa Anita Canyon Permittees’
Charles A. Connaughton, regional forester, California region, United
States Forest Service, San Francisco, Calif.------
Jerry Foote, Los Angeles, Calif., representing the Sierra Club.--- 232
T. William Heidner, chief, city of Pasadena Fire Department, Pasa-
Keith E. Klinger, chief engineer, Los Angeles County Fire Depart-
F. H. Raymond, State forester, California Division of Forestry, Cali-
fornia Department of Natural Resources, Sacramento, Calif. -
Co., Chester, Plumas County, Calif..
David H. Rogers, Big Bear Timber Co., Redlands, Calif..---
University of California, Berkeley, Calif.---
forest practices, San Bernardino, Calif.-------------------------
FOREST FIRE CONTROL IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1957
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Los Angeles, Calif. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:10 a. m., in room 518, the Federal Building, Hon. Clair Engle presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee will be in order.
This morning we commence the testimony regarding the problem of forest-fire prevention and control. I am glad to note this is Fire Prevention Week here, which seems to make this an appropriate atmosphere for the hearing.
The Chair desires to make a short statement.
During the past week, this committee has traveled over much of southern California. We have driven through the mountains, and we have flown over the top of them. We have been greatly impressed by the sheer ruggedness of these mountains, and how civilization has crowded right up to the steep brush slopes. I am very much aware of the need for water in this southland and that nearly three-fourths of your present annual water requirements comes from these same mountain watersheds.
Flying back from Blythe last Saturday we saw the debris-laden washes of the Santa Ana, San Antonio, and San Gabriel Rivers. We were particularly impressed by the great flood-control dams you people have built to stop the onrush of muck and boulders from enveloping your homes, citrus groves, and vineyards.
In my judgment, the fire problem in southern California, based on what we have seen the past few days, is more critical than in any other section of the United States—probably on this earth, for that matter. Too many fires get started, too many get out of control, too many vital watersheds are blackened and ruined. And, unfortunately, lives are sometimes lost in these holocausts.
These fires of this year have been about as numerous as in 1956, but thus far they have been smaller and less costly. In 1956 total damages within the limits of the four national forests were estimated at nearly $8 million. Losses in adjoining areas were even more. By midfire season of this year, southern California national forest losses have totaled no more than $150,000. The losses of 1956 averaged in the neighborhood of $100 an acre; during the first half of the 1957 fire season they have been less than $15 an acre.
At this point I want to say that the Forest Service has an excellent record in fire-control methods. They have been progressive and even adventurous in the field of new methods. They have a better system