Forest fire protection has now developed to the state in many places where, in my opinion, insurance on standing timber is entirely feasible. In order to attain these objectives we must have a better understanding and appreciation on the part of the public of the great importance of our forest and wild land resources - what their protection and wise use mean to the individual in the way of cheaper lumber, better hunting and fishing, and recreation – what they mean to the Nation in safeguarding water supply, regulated streamflow, steady yield of basic raw materials for industry and employment. If and when every American citizen comes to know how much our forests mean to national welfare and prosperity, we shall have very few man-caused forest fires. I think this Conference might well consider this matter and take the initiative toward making forest insurance a reality. I am asking this Conference to give serious consideration to the Nation’s forest fire problem and in its findings and recommendations to give full support to measures which will help reduce the enormous damage and loss caused every year by the red demon of the woods. The Federal, State, and private forest protection agencies, I know, will cooperate to the fullest in effectuating the President’s program for fire protection. Thank you. [Applause.]
Chairman Fleming. Thank you, Mr. Watts. The last four addresses have most appropriately led up to the report of the Committee on Firefighting Services. Gen. William J. Donovan, who was chairman of this committee and who worked unceasingly with the committee and was here the early part of this week, is unable to be here today to give the committee report, so I am asking Horatio Bond to pinch-hit for him. Mr. Bond. [Applause.]
Mr. Horatio Bond (National Fire Protection Association). I am sure that General Donovan is sorry not to be here today, and I am personally disappointed that he is not here to present this report to you. I have greatly enjoyed working with him on this job. I have special affection for him because he was one of the first of the topside military people to accept the importance of the role which fire could play in the war. He helped us get certain technical specialists at a time when they were badly needed, and he sensed, I think, very early fire destruction might be one of the pressures through which victory could be brought about.