Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Crisis on our National Forests: Reducing the Threat of Catastrophic Wildfire [San Bernardino Fires]
The Congressional Record ^ | August 25, 2003 | DR. THOMAS M. BONNICKSEN

Posted on 10/26/2003 5:44:53 PM PST by Carry_Okie

WRITTEN STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD

OF

DR. THOMAS M. BONNICKSEN

PROFESSOR

DEPARTMENT OF FOREST SCIENCE

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

and

visiting scholar and board member

The forest foundation

auburn, california

OVERSIGHT HEARING ON

Crisis on our National Forests: Reducing the Threat of Catastrophic Wildfire to Central Oregon Communities and the Surrounding Environment

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Deschutes County Fairgrounds Expo Center
3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond, Oregon

Monday
August 25, 2003
2:00 PM

INTRODUCTION My name is Dr. Thomas M. Bonnicksen. I am a forest ecologist and professor in the Department of Forest Science at Texas A&M University. I am also a visiting scholar and board member of The Forest Foundation in Auburn, California. I have conducted research on the history and restoration of America’s native forests for more than thirty years. I have written over 100 scientific and technical papers and I recently published a book titled America’s Ancient Forests: from the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery (Copyright January 2000, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 594 pages). The book documents the 18,000-year history of North America’s native forests.

Contact information is located at the end of this written statement.

UNHEALTHY AND DANGEROUS Forests

Our national forests are growing older and thicker, some reaching astronomical densities of 2,000 trees per acre where 40-50 trees per acre would be natural. A forest can stagnate for many decades or even centuries under such crowded conditions. Consequently, plant and animal species that require open conditions are disappearing, streams are drying as thickets of trees use up water, insects and disease are reaching epidemic proportions, and unnaturally hot wildfires have destroyed vast areas of forest.

Since 1990, we have lost 50 million acres of forest to wildfire and suffered the destruction of over 4,800 homes. The fires of 2000 burned 8.4 million acres and destroyed 861 structures. The 2002 fire season resulted in a loss of 6.9 million acres and 2,381 structures destroyed, including 835 homes. These staggering losses from wildfire also resulted in taxpayers paying $2.9 billion in firefighting costs. This does not include vast sums spent to rehabilitate damaged forests and replace homes.

The 2003 fire season is shaping up to be potentially as bad. Fire danger is very high to extreme in much of the Interior West, Northwest, and portions of California and the Northern Rockies due to overgrown forests, an extended drought, and insect damaged trees.

Not only are fires destroying America’s forests, bark beetles and other insects are killing trees on a scale never before seen. Forests in Arizona, the Northern Rockies, and California have been especially hard hit by beetles.

I have been working in California’s forests since the late 1960s. Never have I seen anything more dangerous than the overgrown, beetle-ravaged forests of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. I am concerned for the safety of people living in communities surrounded by these forests.

About 90 percent of the pines will be dead when the beetles end their rampage. Then, forest communities like Lake Arrowhead and Idyllwild will look like any treeless suburb of Los Angeles. Whole neighborhoods are already barren of trees where houses once hid in a thick forest.

This disaster affects everyone who cares about America’s forests, but it is especially serious for the people who live and recreate in these mountains. Dead trees are falling on houses, cars, and power lines, and they could easily fuel a catastrophic wildfire. That’s why arborists are cutting trees at a frantic pace, but they cannot keep up with the insects.

Unfortunately, it is too late for the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. The original pine forest will be gone soon. We must start over, and we must do it fast before a wildfire turns what's left of the forest into brush and communities into rubble.

WHY forests are unhealthy and dangerous

If we looked back two hundred years, 91 percent of our forests were more open because Indian and lightning fires burned regularly. These were mostly gentle fires that stayed on the ground as they wandered around under the trees. You could walk over the flames without burning your legs even though they occasionally flared up and killed small groups of trees. Such hot spots kept forests diverse by creating openings where young trees and shrubs could grow.

Fires burned often enough in historic forests to clear dead wood and small trees from under the big trees, and they thinned some of the weak and diseased big trees as well. These were sunny forests that explorers described as open enough to gallop a horse through without hitting a tree. Open and patchy forests like this also were immune from monster fires like those that recently scorched Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, and California.

Our forests look different today. They are crowded with trees of all sizes and filled with logs and dead trees. You can barely walk through them, let alone ride a horse.

Now monster fires and hordes of insects are devouring trees with unprecedented ferocity because our forests are so dense. The role of drought in causing the problem is overstated. Drought contributes to the crisis, but it is not the underlying cause. There are simply too many trees.

In the case of Southern California, the drought added more stress to an already unhealthy and dangerous forest, so bark beetles took control. They made the wildfire danger even more critical by killing trees, turning them into instant fuel. The smallest spark could cause a human catastrophe.

Trees are so crowded they have to divide what little moisture is available in the soil. During normal rainfall years, the trees have barely enough moisture to produce the sap needed to keep out the beetles. They cannot resist attack during dry years. A healthy forest can survive a beetle attack during a drought with only moderate mortality. A thick and stressed forest cannot. Therefore, the drought triggered the insect epidemic, but it didn't cause it.

We know how we got into this fix: forest management stalled because environmental activists, government officials, and politicians engaged in endless debates on how to look after our forests. Central to the debate is that environmentalists want thick forests. They lobbied for years to convert forests to old growth, which they define as dense, multi-layered, and filled with dead trees and logs. Meanwhile, trees grew and forests became thicker because they care nothing about politics. Now insects riddle our trees with holes and wildfires turn them into charcoal.

The debates continue, and bark beetles have taken control of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, as well as other western forests. It is time for people to shape the destiny of their forests instead of leaving the decision to mindless insects and the harsh indifference of wildfires.

MYTHS AND REALITIES ABOUT RESTORING HEALTHY FORESTS

Some groups perpetuate myths about managing our national forests that they think help their cause. This does not serve the public interest. Our national forests are the people’s forests. They belong to all of us and they should serve all of our needs. All of us also deserve to participate in making informed decisions about our forest heritage.

Myth 1: Some groups argue that removing standing and fallen dead trees killed by wind, insects, or fire will not reduce the fire hazard.

Experience and logic say that is false. Ask anyone with a fireplace if logs burn. If the dead trees are not removed, they will fall into jackstraw piles intermingled with heavy brush and small trees. These fuels become even more critical when they are dispersed among large live trees that escaped destruction. The logs will become bone dry by late summer, even earlier during a drought. Any fire that reaches these mammoth piles of dry fuel could unleash the full furry of nature’s violence. This has happened before.

The first Tillamook Burn in 1933 in Western Oregon blackened 240,000 acres and dropped ash on ships 400 miles at sea. The second burn in 1939 brought the total to nearly half a million acres. However, the third fire in 1945 rushed through 173,000 acres, much of it in the earlier burns that were now filled with down timber and young trees.

This time the fire destroyed everything, including nearly all the young trees and even seed stored in the soil. It took a massive effort in the 1950s and 1960s to restore the forest by planting 72 million seedlings, many of which were hand planted by school children and volunteers.

We should not let this happen again. Acting quickly to rehabilitate a wind or insect ravaged forest, or a burned forest, creates long-term benefits that far outweigh any short-term changes that may be produced.

For example, during the winter of 1995-1996, a windstorm caused an extensive blowdown of timber over about 30,000 acres in the area burned by the 1999 Megram Fire in northern California. This increased fuel loadings from 5-50 tons per acre to 100-300 tons per acre. The Forest Service accurately predicted that a wildfire of the size and type of the Megram Fire would occur after the blowdown.

The Megram Fire burned 125,000 acres before it was controlled. Treated portions of the blowdown were less severely affected by the fire than untreated areas. The most effective treatment involved removing the majority of the logs. In addition, most damaged trees with less than 20 percent live crown were cut and removed. Then the slash was piled and burned, followed by understory burning. The remaining forest had 60 percent canopy closure, and numerous standing dead trees and logs were left for wildlife. This treatment reduced high severity mortality from the Megram Fire to 3 percent of the acres treated. In contrast, treatment without piling and burning increased the incidence of high severity mortality, while treatment with just piling and no burning cut mortality by nearly half.

Myth 2: Some groups argue that massive beetle infestations and wildfires are a natural way for forests to thin and rejuvenate themselves.

On the contrary, when human interference creates the conditions that allow beetles to thrive and fires to spread over vast areas that never burned that way in their known history, the resulting devastation cannot be natural. It is human-caused. Rather than deny our role we must accept responsibility for the crisis we created and correct the problem.

Myth 3: Some groups argue that logging contributes to fire.

This may have been true a century ago when branches and twigs often were left on the ground after harvesting. Current regulations and science-based forest management require removing such material. The result is a forest that is healthy and fire resistant rather than a fire hazard. Modern forestry has made huge strides in the last 50 years, yet some groups continue to play on our emotions to advance their agendas – frequently advocating extreme positions like ‘no-cut’ policies that have devastating effects on our forests.

Myth 4: Some groups argue that thinning beyond 200 feet of a home adds no additional protection.

First, many house are located among the trees, so clearing around the house means removing the forest in which they live. After all, big trees do burn and they drop flammable needles on roofs and decks. Even then, I would not live in such a house if thick forests filled with dead trees and piles of logs surround it. It matters little how clear the area around a house is if a 10-story wall of flame burning at 2,000 degrees gets close to it. Certainly, people should reduce fuels around their homes because it does help a little. I just could not recommend it as the only defense against wildfire.

Myth 5: Some groups argue that thinning narrow strips of forest around communities, or fuelbreaks, is more than adequate as a defense against wildfire.

They think swarms of chewing insects and roaring wildfires coming in from surrounding public lands cannot penetrate these flimsy barriers. They could not be more mistaken.

One obvious problem with fuelbreaks is that forest communities are spread out, with homes and businesses scattered over huge areas. It would be impractical, if not impossible, to create an effective thinned "zone" to encompass an area so large.

In addition, fuelbreaks are only valuable if firefighters are deployed who can attack the fire when it enters the area, drops to the ground, and moves along the forest floor. If no one is present to fight the fire in the fuelbreak, fire behavior studies show that the fire will accelerate through the cleared space—at ground level rather than through tree crowns, as in thick and overgrown forests—and erupt out the other side.

Fuelbreaks won’t protect anything unless they are fully staffed by firefighters at precisely the right time. That is highly unlikely in a big fire because there are just too few people available to fight the fire. Furthermore, there is always the danger of firefighters being trapped, which is another reason to avoid being in a fuelbreak during a monster fire.

Even then, a catastrophic fire, roaring through hundreds of square miles of unthinned, overgrown forest is no respecter of narrow fuelbreaks. Fires often jump over railroad tracks and even divided highways. Furthermore, firebrands—burning debris—launched up to a mile in advance of the edge of a wildfire, will destroy homes and communities no matter how much cleared space surrounds them. In fact, the Los Alamos Fire of 2000—a prescribed fire that got out of hand—burned many homes while sparing the surrounding thinned trees and other vegetation. The reason: Catapulted embers landed on roofs.

Ironically, groups that want fuelbreaks instead of well-managed forests fail to realize that they are unnatural, sterile, and unsustainable. Removing all the little trees, and standing dead trees and logs, on a fuelbreak drastically reduces wildlife habitat. It also means there is no reproduction to replace big trees that die. Likewise, thinning the big trees on a fuelbreak to reduce the density of the canopy to improve fire resistant makes the forest even more unnatural. When done, a fuelbreak may resist crown fires, but it looks like a sea of telephone poles with nothing growing underneath.

Like providing clearings around homes, fuelbreaks are a necessary part of a comprehensive community protection program. I just could not recommend them as the primary defense against wildfire.

Myth 6: Some groups argue that there is no need to manage large areas of forest between communities.

We must face the truth. Preservation does not work to solve the fire crisis because trees and shrubs keep growing and producing more fuel. Prescribed fire does not work because it is ineffective and unsafe in thick forests. Likewise, surrounding communities with fuelbreaks, and ignoring the area in between them, won’t stop monster fires by themselves. Ultimately, a fuelbreak is most often used as a relatively safe place to set fires that deprive the wildfire of fuel. This means that we are sacrificing whole watersheds to fire and adding to the area burned.

The reality is that there isn’t any substitute for fixing the real problem. "No-cut" policies and total fire suppression have created forests that are dense, overgrown, tinderboxes where unnatural monster fires are inevitable. That means managing the forest to prevent fires in the first place. We have to restore our forests to their natural, historical fire resistance. Thinning and restoring the whole forest is the only way to safeguard our forest heritage, make our communities safe, and protect our critical water sources.

Myth 7: Some groups argue that all fires are good and forest management is bad.

They use this argument intentionally to divert public attention away from forests and focus it instead on communities. The truth is that today’s monster fires are bad for forests and management is the only way to stop them.

When a monster fire finally stops, it leaves a desolate landscape scarred by erosion and pitted with craters that formed where tree roots burned. The habitat for forest dwelling wildlife is destroyed, small streams are boiled dry, fish die and their habitat is smothered by silt and debris. The fire also bakes the soil so hard water cannot get through, so it washes away by the ton. All that is left are the blackened corpses of animals and fallen and standing dead trees. Often there are too few live trees left to even reseed the burn and the area soon becomes covered with a thick layer of brush that prevents a new forest from becoming established for many years.

Historically, fire was part of America’s forests. However, the monster fires we see burning nearly all of our forests today are unnatural. In the past, such fires burned only a few types of forest, and then only infrequently. Most forests burned often and gently, which kept them open and resistant to large fires.

Furthermore, a historic forest was a mosaic of patches. Each patch consisted of a group of trees of about the same age, some young patches, some old patches, intermingled with bare spots and open meadows.

It was a mosaic of patches. Patches of younger trees, bare spots, and open meadows served as natural firebreaks, while the weak and diseased trees under larger trees burned off frequently without turning into infernos.

The variety of patches in historic forests helped to contain hot fires. Most patches of young trees, and old trees with little underneath did not burn well and served as firebreaks. Still, chance led to fires skipping some patches. Therefore, fuel built up and the next fire burned a few of them while doing little harm to the rest of the forest. Thus, most historic forests developed an ingenious pattern of little firebreaks that kept them immune from monster fires.

Today, the patchiness of our forests is gone, so they have lost their immunity to monster fires. Fires now spread across vast areas because we let all patches grow thick, and there are few younger and open patches left to slow the flames. That is what is happening throughout the West.

This is even more serious because monster fires create even bigger monsters. Huge blocks of seedlings that grow on burned areas become older and thicker at the same time. When it burns again, fire spreads farther and creates an even bigger block of fuel for the next fire. This cycle of monster fires has begun. Today, the average fire is nearly double the size it was in the last two decades and it may double again. Worst of all, these monster fires are converting natural fire-resistant forests into unnatural and dangerous forests.

Myth 8: Some groups argue that, if management is unavoidable, then deliberately set fires, or prescribed fires, are the best way to solve today's wildfire crisis.

It is naive to believe we can have gentle fires in today's thick forests. Prescribed fire is ineffective and unsafe in such forests. It is ineffective because any fire that is hot enough to kill trees over three inches in diameter, which is too small to eliminate most fire hazards, has a high probability of becoming uncontrollable.

Even carefully planned fires are unsafe. Each 20,000 acres burned in a fire is likely to produce one escaped fire. That means there could be as many as 243 escaped fires a year just from prescribed burning. That is unacceptable.

Not only that, there are very limited opportunities to burn. All the factors, such as fuel moisture, temperature, wind, existence of defensible perimeters, and available personnel, must be at levels that make it relatively safe to conduct a prescribed burn. This happens so rarely that it would be impossible to burn large enough acreage each year to significantly reduce the fire hazard.

Some groups also overlook what it was like when fires burned freely. Explorers often complained in their journals about the pall of smoke hanging over mountains and valleys. Today, health hazards and air pollution restrictions make extensive burning difficult and unpalatable. The public won't stand for smoky skies from prescribed fires and burned homes from inevitable escapes.

Myth 9: Some groups argue that we should use taxpayer money to solve the wildfire crisis rather than involve private enterprise.

A minimum of 73 million acres of forest needs immediate thinning and restoration to begin solving the fire crisis. Another 120 million also need treatment. Assuming that in most of these forests the same area burned once each 15 years on average historically, that means that each year about 4.9 million acres of seriously overstocked forest will have to receive an initial treatment. Subsequent maintenance treatments also must be done on a 15-year cycle since fuels will continue to accumulate. In short, the fuel reduction process will last forever.

So, what would it cost to do the job right? Using average costs, and assuming that most if not all forests will require mechanical or hand treatment before prescribed burning, and assuming that prescribed burning will be feasible on all acreage, the total cost for the initial treatment would be $60 billion, or about $4 billion per year for 15 years. Then it would cost about $31 billion for each of the following 15-year maintenance cycles.

In other words, an unending stream of tax money would be required to restore and sustain a healthy fire resistant forest. No one will pay this enormous cost.

We cannot succeed without a partnership with the private sector because there is too little public money to do the job. That means private companies harvest and thin only the trees required to restore and sustain a healthy fire resistant forest. In exchange, they get to sell the wood and public expenditures are minimized. This is just common sense—why allow our forests to burn if we can use them in a way that also restores them?

Restoring healthy forests is essential

Restoring healthy forests is the only effective way to address the fire crisis. However, fire is not the sole reason to restore our forests. Healthy, diverse, and ecologically sustainable forests of native species also support a wide range of wildlife and fish, protect water supplies, enhance local economies, and provide the public with scenic and recreational opportunities.

Even so, the fire crisis must be resolved quickly and decisively. That means providing relief from excessive environmental and other regulations that impede the process of restoring healthy forests. We should not doom later generations to the unending cycle of destruction from fire and insects that we see today. Let’s stop the debates, take action now, and do what is necessary to protect and restore our forest heritage.


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: carryokie; environment; fire; forestry; healthyforests; wildfires
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-97 next last
Tom Bonnickson is America's foremost authority on the pre-Columbian state of North American forests. His book, America’s Ancient Forests: from the Ice Age to the Age of Discovery, is an outstanding scholarly work.

They were warned. There will be more cases like it. Especially because Arnold has thrown in with exactly the same policy that led to this disaster, only he's doing it over the ENTIRE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAIN RANGE. Arnold's choice to retain Gray Davis' last minute Water Quality Control Board appointments will be instrumental in perpetuating this kind of destructive forest policy.

This policy destroys homes and forests. It will do NOTHING to help forests recover, quite the contrary. The usual result of this kind of policy is pestilence, weed infestations the like of which we have never seen and from which our forests may never recover. A lot of people may argue that I haven't given Arnold a fair shake. Well, I'll tell you, by advocating adoption of the Sierra Nevada Framework, he isn't giving a fair shake to the people who have the tools and knowledge to fix this mess. He discounts their professional care and concern for forest health. He follows a stupid and destructive policy that enriches a very few real estate and timber speculators, and Eastern investors who are using environmental law to gain control of water resources. They need the TMDL gambit, the origins of which are detailed in Part V of my book to get it done. They are out to destroy much of California's largest industry, agriculture, to turn it into houses and cash in on competing investments outside the country.

If you think OPEC was bad news, wait until we have to fight to secure a supply of food. This nation is already a net food importer. Anybody who thinks that this kind of policy will be good for the California's economy is in for a rude shock.

The same crowd that gave us the power crisis is behind this, the Natural Resources Defense Council, from which, the executive director is a co-founder of the New York League of Conservation Voters, along with Arnold's principle author of Arnold's environmental plan, RFKJr.

I honestly don't think Arnold understands all this. I don't think he's a corrupt or destructive person. I do think he's fallen in with the wrong crowd and they are using him. If he ever figures it out, he'll be really pissed.

The problem is getting to him. You should see the coterie of handlers wherever he goes. It's going to be tough breaking through to get him educated, but it must be done.

1 posted on 10/26/2003 5:44:54 PM PST by Carry_Okie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Sabertooth; ambrose; EternalVigilance; Avoiding_Sulla; Scott from the Left Coast; sasquatch; ...
Enviroping.
2 posted on 10/26/2003 5:48:09 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie; AAABEST; Ace2U; Alamo-Girl; Alas; amom; AndreaZingg; Anonymous2; ApesForEvolution; ...
Sorry for the double pings.

Rights, farms, environment ping.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.

For real time political chat - Radio Free Republic chat room
And you won't miss a thread on FR because e-bot will keep you informed.

3 posted on 10/26/2003 5:51:41 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
bump for later
4 posted on 10/26/2003 5:51:43 PM PST by not_apathetic_anymore
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Grampa Dave
Time to repost an oldie but a goody, lest we forget who's principally responsible for this mess.

Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Fire Management on Public Lands - Conservation Policies

Sierra Club Home Page   Environmental Update   My Backyard

 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet  
Search
Take Action
Get Outdoors
Join or Give
Inside Sierra Club
Sierra Club Store
Press Room
Sierra Magazine
Politics & Issues
Contact Us
Explore, Enjoy and Protect

Backtrack
Sierra Club Policies Main
In This Section
Articles of Incorporation
Bylaws and Standing Rules
Purposes and Goals
Conservation Policies

Sierra Club Sierra Club Policies
Sierra Club Conservation Policies

Fire Management on Public Lands

  1. Fire is a natural, integral, and valuable component of many ecosystems. Fire management must be a part of the management of public lands. Areas managed for their natural values often benefit from recurring wildfires and may be harmed by a policy of fire suppression. Long-term suppression of small wildfires may build up conditions making occasional catastrophic conflagrations inevitable.

  2. Every fire should be monitored. Naturally occurring fires should be allowed to burn in areas where periodic burns are considered beneficial and where they can be expected to burn out before becoming catastrophic. Human-caused fires in such areas should be allowed to burn or be controlled on a case-by-case basis.

  3. In areas where fire would pose an unreasonable threat to property, human life or important biological communities, efforts should be made to reduce dangerous fuel accumulations through a program of planned ignitions. New human developments should be discouraged in areas of high fire risk.

  4. When fires do occur that pose an unacceptable threat to property or human life, prompt efforts should be undertaken of fire control.

  5. In areas included in or proposed for the National Wilderness Preservation System, fires should be managed primarily by the forces of nature. Minimal exceptions to this provision may occur where these areas contain ecosystems altered by previous fire suppression, or where they are too small or too close to human habitation to permit the ideal of natural fire regimes. Limited planned ignitions should be a management option only in those areas where there are dangerous fuel accumulations, with a resultant threat of catastrophic fires, or where they are needed to restore the natural ecosystem.

  6. Land managers should prepare comprehensive fire management plans. These plans should consider the role of natural fire, balancing the ecological benefits of wildfire against its potential threats to natural resources, to watersheds, and to significant scenic and recreational values of wildlands.

  7. Methods used to control or prevent fires are often more damaging to the land than fire. Fire control plans must implement minimum-impact fire suppression techniques appropriate to the specific area.

  8. Steps should be taken to rehabilitate damage caused by fighting fires. Land managers should rely on natural revegetation in parks, designated or proposed wilderness areas, and other protected lands. Where artificial revegetation is needed, a mixture of appropriate native species suited to the site should be used.

  9. The occurrence of a fire does not justify salvage logging or road building in areas that are otherwise inappropriate for timber harvesting. Salvage logging is not permitted in designated wilderness areas or National Park System units.

Adopted by the Board of Directors, March 17-19, 1989


Up to Top

5 posted on 10/26/2003 5:54:04 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
The following photos from the Rodeo/Chediski Fire are entirely analogous to the situation in the San Bernardino Mountains

Do you want this,

Or this

This is Apache land. The two photos were taken the same day and both burned. Note the charring on the lower branches of some of the trees in the second photo foreground.

The answer is forestry, multiple use, and the responsibility that goes with private control. The Forest Service serves too many masters, and gets a bigger budget as long as they fail.

6 posted on 10/26/2003 6:05:17 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
Exactly. When will they learn?
7 posted on 10/26/2003 6:06:50 PM PST by CounterCounterCulture (For all you do, this BUMP's for you!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CounterCounterCulture
They won't. This is about money.

Insurers love to raise the rate base after a big loss.
Unionized firefighters live for a big bureaucratic effort like this.
Envirowacks love to go back in to prevent anybody from rebuilding.
The big timber companies don't want the logging to drive down prices on timber from their forests in Canada, Siberia, Chile...

and more.

Something for everybody. That's why disasters like this happen.
8 posted on 10/26/2003 6:11:19 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
For insight on what a snafu a Forest Service fire operation is these days, consider the Winter Fire.
9 posted on 10/26/2003 6:20:53 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
I think wrongheaded "environmentalism" is generally a crisis in the making of one sort or another.

I know all of this must be extraordinarily frustrating for you. The destruction of human lives is tragic.

Thanks for the flag, Carry_Okie.
10 posted on 10/26/2003 6:33:58 PM PST by Askel5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Askel5
The frustrating part is that we have a thread with 1,200 posts worth of wailing about the problem, with so few willing to do the work to understand how we got here, why, and what to do about it.

Yeah, it's frustrating.

As far as crises go, it'll happen, and it'll be Pestilence.

We were told what to do in Genesis 2:15 (the tagline below), punished in Genesis 3:16 (thorns and thistles), and warned long before the Apocalypse in Leviticus 26.

11 posted on 10/26/2003 6:42:31 PM PST by Carry_Okie (And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
== and warned long before the Apocalypse in Leviticus 26.



I was thinking along those lines as well.

It's just that -- IMHO -- folks too readily assume that things like pestilence and fires and storms will be the works of an angry god ... not the unintended consequences of Useful Idiots.
12 posted on 10/26/2003 6:45:07 PM PST by Askel5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
ping..... may the greenies read this in triplicate.
13 posted on 10/26/2003 6:46:42 PM PST by pointsal
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
The new Water Quality regs will be the end of PL and the beggining of the end of Simpson Timber in Humboldt County. The Forest Service has very few logging plans in the works so there are no small sawmills running except Schmidbaurer and he is barging logs into Humboldt Bay as is Emersons Sierra Pacific...
14 posted on 10/26/2003 6:51:33 PM PST by tubebender (FReeRepublic...How bad have you got it...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
Bark Beetle Bump.
15 posted on 10/26/2003 6:51:49 PM PST by BenLurkin (Socialism is Slavery)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pointsal
ping..... may the greenies read this in triplicate.

Frankly, I'd be happier if Freepers read it. It's high time that conservatives learned how to take the moral high ground on environmental issues. It starts with private property.

16 posted on 10/26/2003 6:51:57 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
I liked the Sierra Club's "Fire Management on Public Lands." If I didn't know what I was talking about, that is almost exactly what I would have said.
17 posted on 10/26/2003 6:57:38 PM PST by edger (he)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
Time to find an enviro wennies house and light his redwood deck on fire.
18 posted on 10/26/2003 7:02:47 PM PST by Newbomb Turk (Live from the Ladies room here at Tubbys DriveIn.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
After living through a terrible fire season in Montana, my conclusion is that the loggers have the solution alot more than the environmentalists. If we do not manually clean up the forests, the environment is going to do it for us and peoples homes are going with it. If a logging company comes to my door asking for donations, they will have it. The environmentalists can eat my leaves.
19 posted on 10/26/2003 7:04:37 PM PST by Cate
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Askel5
I just wish that people could see what can be done to restore habitat. It's the most rewarding and touching experience imaginable. It's both physically and intellectually demanding. Nothing in my life has brought me closer to the Lord. A person could want no more than to fall in love with a piece of land just for what it is, and could be with God's help.

Askel, you should have seen the irises and Fremontia lillies this last spring; they were everywhere. I started a biotic survey. So far we have 207 species of plants in one 14 acre parcel. It's extraordinary. And yet, there's a long way to go with many serious threats. I honestly don't know how we'll succeed without God's help.

This is a Fremontia Lily. They're about four feet tall.

Here are the flowers.

Hundreds of them, where there were none.

20 posted on 10/26/2003 7:09:11 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: edger
If I didn't know what I was talking about, that is almost exactly what I would have said.

It's a disastrous policy: nice sounding words designed to turn any fire into a destructive conflagration. To understand how it works in practice, consider the Winter Fire.

21 posted on 10/26/2003 7:12:13 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
"Hundreds of them, where there were none."

We had a similar experience last spring on our property in Toulumne County, where we have spent the last three winters removing and burning brush that had acumulated over the last 80 years or so. - The place was covered with millions of wild flowers, where there had been ugly dense brush, and the ponds were full of hundreds of different species of aquatic insects, amphibians, worms, and even turtles.

The place looked like the city dump with trees when we bought it. It's hard to imagine how much progress can be made in a short time.

22 posted on 10/26/2003 7:40:42 PM PST by editor-surveyor ( . Best policy RE: Environmentalists, - ZERO TOLERANCE !!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Askel5
This is what we are losing by not thinning forests.

Iris macrosiphon. We have thousands now, where there were none.

This is a globe lilly, hundreds, and more every year.

This is Franciscan Coyote Mint. It's deer resistant. I hope to propagate it.

A mountain lilac blossom, thousands on bushes ten feet across.

Many of the plants that would normally come back after a fire would be overwhelmed by weeds. Here is Blue Curls (also called vinegarweed), nearly gone from large parts of the state due to government protection.

All of these species are being displaced by weeds. Weeds dry the ground and destroy the soil. Consider that there is 22 million acres of starthistle in this State, much of it thanks to CalTrans. Can you imagine any landowner or industry having that kind of impact?

23 posted on 10/26/2003 7:49:41 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
Hey ... I just realized you might be a font of knowledge re: some of the species I saw in Spain.

Those are beautiful, Carry_Okie. Far preferable to strangulation by weeds.

What is CalTrans?
24 posted on 10/26/2003 8:01:11 PM PST by Askel5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Askel5
What is CalTrans?

CalTrans is the he California State Department of Transportation. They spread the starthistle seed in required straw mulching of all roadwork, on roadside mowing equipment (because they wouldn't spray), ditch-cleaning equipment (because their drainage designs suck), and on construction equipment (they don't clean it like they should). A lot of this could have been avoided by having local people do much of the mitigation, maintenance, and restoration. If it doesn't move, it doesn't spread the seed. The total cost would probably have been cheaper.

25 posted on 10/26/2003 8:12:57 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
I have a question? Surely there are some legal eagles on this site that would have an opinion.

What is the problem with returning fire and holding these enviro nuts accountable. If fuel load = hotter , bigger fires then, Why not sue the Sierra Club and many of these other groups for the cost of these wild fires.
They are the ones advocating, and litigating the policies that increase fuel load.



26 posted on 10/26/2003 8:41:52 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (TasmanianRed)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TASMANIANRED
See http://www.waterforthewest.org for a billboard with
your message.

We may not be able to hold them legally responsible, but
we can do quite a lot to get out the truth about what is really happening.

Also, for a list of Resources, see
http://www.calcof.org/Resource_Links.php

http://www.calcof.org/forums/index.php for a forum on
Healhy Forests.
27 posted on 10/26/2003 8:58:09 PM PST by D_Okie (Citizens Advocating Local Control of Our Forests)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: TASMANIANRED
What is the problem with returning fire and holding these enviro nuts accountable. If fuel load = hotter , bigger fires then, Why not sue the Sierra Club and many of these other groups for the cost of these wild fires. They are the ones advocating, and litigating the policies that increase fuel load.

President Clinton indemnified any NGO belonging to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in EO-12986. It's unconstitutional as hell, but Bush has not rescinded it.

28 posted on 10/26/2003 9:13:54 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: D_Okie
See #28.
29 posted on 10/26/2003 9:15:46 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
Thanks for reposting this reality re Club Sierra.

I wonder how many Freepers will now leap up to defend the Club Sierra thugs?
30 posted on 10/26/2003 9:39:39 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Get a free FR coffee mug! Donate $10 monthly to Free Republic or 34 cents/day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
A superb post and incredible re the timing.
31 posted on 10/26/2003 9:41:40 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Get a free FR coffee mug! Donate $10 monthly to Free Republic or 34 cents/day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Grampa Dave
I know. It's sad that so few will really read it.
32 posted on 10/26/2003 9:45:45 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
Wouldn't you like to take our new governor on a walk in the terrible forests created by Club Sierra and then your little forest and other good forest in America before he becomes our governor?

33 posted on 10/26/2003 9:47:56 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Get a free FR coffee mug! Donate $10 monthly to Free Republic or 34 cents/day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Grampa Dave
I'd be delighted.
34 posted on 10/26/2003 9:50:38 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Grampa Dave
Hopefully, this will make your Gov.-elect realize that the enviro-wackos are out of control. He seemed to me to be a bit scared of them. Maybe this will wake him up.

I reckon they can smell the smoke in Hollywood, so maybe something positive can come out of such a tragic situation.

35 posted on 10/26/2003 9:57:20 PM PST by B Knotts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: B Knotts; Carry_Okie
I doubt if he is scares of them.

Like so many of us, he has been lied to and mis lead by the enviralists for decades.

The reality of their false message has cost at least 13 lives in So California and a massive amount of money.

Just look at the freepers who defend Club Sierra and other enviral groups and even ELF/ALF. They have bought the warm fuzzy green lies for decades. Waking up to the reality of the Watermelon enviralists is like finding out there is no Santa Claus nor Easter Bunny at the same time for most believers of the Greens.

36 posted on 10/26/2003 10:07:45 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Get a free FR coffee mug! Donate $10 monthly to Free Republic or 34 cents/day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: kingu
Interesting report ping. Talk 'bout it later?
37 posted on 10/26/2003 10:10:21 PM PST by Ladypixel (Ashes keep fallin' on my head...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Grampa Dave
Waking up to the reality of the Watermelon enviralists is like finding out there is no Santa Claus nor Easter Bunny at the same time for most believers of the Greens.

As you can personally attest, my friend.

Chances are, as you know, that the thugs who precipitated this fire will argue that it was caused by the fact that people were living there.

With as much as I know about these creeps, I still have trouble comprehending the depth of this kind of evil. That they would allow not only the suffering of people, but every creature they would pretend to defend, that they would then deny the consequences even when faced with them is simply beyond imagination. I have seen it too many times to have much hope for the worst of them. I can only pray we can convince their supporters that something fundamental has to change.

38 posted on 10/26/2003 10:20:24 PM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
You posted what will be in the LA Slimes and on S California tv after these fires are out. They will blame the victims of the fires for the fires instead of the enviralists.

You posted, "Chances are, as you know, that the thugs who precipitated this fire will argue that it was caused by the fact that people were living there.?
39 posted on 10/26/2003 10:24:44 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Get a free FR coffee mug! Donate $10 monthly to Free Republic or 34 cents/day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: bjcintennessee
ping
40 posted on 10/26/2003 10:46:20 PM PST by bjcintennessee (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: farmfriend
Oklahoma Agriculture Bump.
41 posted on 10/27/2003 3:07:07 AM PST by E.G.C.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
Great article. Thanks for the ping.

The Sierra Club's forest management policy has proven itself wrong time and time again, yet they continue to push it unapologetically.

They simply want man to butt out. By making forested areas a risky place to build a home, they hope to keep forests free of people.
42 posted on 10/27/2003 6:10:03 AM PST by kidd
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
I can't understand why all this smoke spewing from burning trees isn't considered pollution. It's pollution when it comes from my stove. If the smoke were pollution, it seems like policies that would produce about as much smoke as these forests are capable of producing would be considered questionable policies. Anyone who's lost a loved one or their homes because individuals who profitted from the production of harmful smoke on federal land should be able to demand redress in federal courts. There should be a federal grand jury convened to investigate whether any bureaucrat, politician, or special interest groups profitted from managing federal lands to produce as much harmful smoke as they were capable of producing.

Most professional firefighters in large communities are paid salary plus benefits. Most large communities consider having top quality equipment for their professional firefighters a wise long term investment. Top professional firefighters work with insurance companies, building contractors, construction trades, equipment suppliers, and building inspectors in a continuous effort to ensure the property and people they're responsible for is safe from fire.

Federal forest land firefighters are paid by the hour and get hazard pay if some portion of the fire they're assigned to is listed as "out of control" by those in charge. Large fires on federal land are generally listed as "out of control" by fire managers until there's a monsoon or blizzard or nothing left to burn. Equipment provided for fighting fires on federal land is contracted by the hour at very high rates and their hours have escalated rapidly. I recently overheard a top federal firefighter tell two trainees "the first thing you do when you get on a fire is grab hold of the cash register; that means maximize the hazard pay and overtime". In order for bureaucrats managing federal lands to get the maximum grade on their performance reports, they have to spend all the money they're authorized to spend.

I very much support a classic liberal forest management plan that encourages private ownership by responsible parties with local government oversite that's easy for the local residents to understand and help enforce. I'd like to see some sort of homesteading scheme where qualified families would be authorized to manage large tracts of forest land like family farms. Homesteaders could have control of mechanized vehicle access and stock access in order to develope and profit from the developement of recreational opportunities on these tracts. That would leave those on foot reasonable access to these lands as long as they didn't take property or damage property.

Tracts would be divided along watersheds and sized for their capacity to generate a good family income from the sale of marketable wood fiber over multiple generations if well managed. Local governments could require some easily understood quality control scheme like requiring water flowing from family tracts in streams over a certain size maintain or improve levels of temperature, oxygen, and silt. Private ownership would allow use of temporary logging roads built for their ease of removal. Some portion of timber reciepts could pay for dramatic improvement in prime access routes to and through the private tracts and removal of permanent roads not needed by the new forest managers but still a threat to the quality of water flowing from the tract. Privite ownership would allow insuring against fire loss and require co-operation between insurers, forest managers, loggers, professional firefighters, and local governments in order to protect everyone from the production of needless smoke.
43 posted on 10/27/2003 7:40:54 AM PST by yoswif
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
My mother has a summer home in Pinetop AZ. She is really concerned about this very problem. The forest is so dense in many areas that you cannot walk through it. The forest land south of the Pinetop/Showlow/Lakeside area is infested with pine beetles, and there is thousands of dead trees. Basically, this area is a tinderbox waiting for an ignition source.
44 posted on 10/27/2003 7:51:40 AM PST by wjcsux
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: yoswif
I very much support a classic liberal forest management plan that encourages private ownership by responsible parties with local government oversite that's easy for the local residents to understand and help enforce.

It's been tried. It broke down, and for entirely understandable historical reasons. The power to enforce or regulate the use of resources is too much temptation for those who would use that power to manipulate resource value for profit.

After having studied this problem for over five years now, I have come to the conclusion that the problems we face in environmental management are strcutural. There are simply too many competing uses of forest land for the system you envision to properly account for the relative benefit of each constituent or the competing risks in a particular use. Although we agree that insurers, firefighters, and contractors should have their inputs, landowners must make the ultimate decisions among competing interests because someone has to be accountable for the producing resources of the land itself. It's time to start experiments with a new paradigm, one based in absolute respect for private property rights.

You may want to explore my website on the topic.

45 posted on 10/27/2003 8:11:33 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: farmfriend
Fire ~ Bump!
46 posted on 10/27/2003 8:41:52 AM PST by blackie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie; sf4dubya
Bump; Read.
47 posted on 10/27/2003 8:51:37 AM PST by The KG9 Kid (Semper Fi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pointsal
may the greenies read this in triplicate

The greenweenies aren't impressed, don't you know. They would prefer to lose 1000 acres of trees to fire rather than lose one tree to logging or preventative maintenance. Fire, to them, even if started by man, is more natural than a chainsaw.

It goes to their retarded earth-first religion.

That's why we must destroy the greenweenies' influence, not reason with them.

Same as for demonRats. Hound them out of existence.

48 posted on 10/27/2003 9:13:38 PM PST by wheelgunguru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Carry_Okie
You may want to explore my website on the topic.

YOU wrote Natural Process?

Sir, you have my respect and admiration. I've had a chance to read some of the book and was most impressed.

Just faxed you over an order for my copy.

Thank you for making this work available!

49 posted on 10/28/2003 9:49:01 AM PST by Fury
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Fury
YOU wrote Natural Process?

Yes.

Sir, you have my respect and admiration. I've had a chance to read some of the book and was most impressed.

That means a lot to me. Thank you.

50 posted on 10/28/2003 10:47:58 AM PST by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-97 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson