I am troubled by your coverage of the Yosemite-area fires ("Thousands More Acres Blackened," Aug. 13). While I certainly sympathize with those who have lost property, I would urge your writers and editors to realize that these fires are not ecological disasters. Fires have been happening for as long as there have been forests. Many species, including the Sequoia redwoods, rely on regular fires to burn off other competing foliage.
Ironically, man's success at putting out fires as soon as they start is actually endangering the forests. Today, there ismuch more combustible material on the forest floor than there would naturally be. This means that fires today burn considerably hotter than they would if natural fires were allowed to run their course.