Fires & Environmental Violations: U.S. Forest Service Under the Microscope

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The Sespe River in Los Padres National Forest | Photo by bryce_edwards via Flickr

The still-burning—yes, five weeks in, still burning—Station Fire is being investigated after the L.A. Times exposed that authorities pulled back resources on the fire when it first began. "It is very clear that a thorough investigation and review of the Station Fire response by the federal government is absolutely necessary," Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a written statement, supporting the federal investigation. "I can assure all Californians that the state is fully committed to working with the federal government to improve the U.S. Forest Service's response efforts," the governor added."

And it's not just the 250 square-mile fire that has the Forest Service on the hot seat these days. Abut the Angeles National Forest is the Los Padre National Forest, where officials violated environmental laws, according to a federal ruling on Tuesday. "Seven environmental groups sued the U.S. Forest Service last year, claiming the 2005 forest management plan was flawed," explained the Ventura County Star. "The plan called for rezoning more than 440,000 roadless areas in the forest that would allow different levels of development."