Skip to comments.Forest Service taking the heat
Posted on 01/01/2004 2:17:49 PM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
For setting a "prescribed fire" that went awry in September, the U.S. Forest Service is in hot water with the state.
Rick Sprott, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, has issued the Forest Service a "notice of violation" in connection with the Cascade Springs II fire, which burned 7,800 acres and poured smoke into the Wasatch Front for a week.
The notice accuses the Forest Service of polluting the air in Utah's population center and of failing to submit a proper plan to the division before igniting the fire. It does not call for a fine, although the notice points out the state reserves the right to levy fines in the amount of $10,000 per day of violation.
"We will follow our standard policies and penalty calculations for the appropriateness of a fine. We're not ruling [a fine] out, by any means," said Sprott.
Forest Service spokesman Dan Jiron said his agency is still reviewing the notice but plans to cooperate fully with the state in resolving any outstanding concerns.
"If there are any procedural issues involved, we'll make sure they are corrected," Jiron said.
The Cascade Springs II fire, on the Uinta National Forest west of Deer Creek Reservoir, originally was proposed to be a 600-acre "prescribed fire." Such fires are set intentionally to clear land of unwanted vegetation or to improve the vegetative "mosaic."
On Sept. 23, after studying the fire for four years and postponing it one year, Forest Service crews ignited a test burn about 12:30 p.m. The fire, however, was set outside the originally prescribed 600 acres.
By about 2:30 p.m., winds began gusting to 12 mph and a "spot fire" jumped over the containment line. A half-hour later, another spot fire broke out. The fires advanced rapidly, eventually combining. By 5 p.m., officials declared the Cascade Springs II burn, which was then at 500 acres, a wildfire.
Before firefighters contained the blaze a week later, the fire sent tons of fine-particulate pollution into the sky. Much of the smoke flowed down Provo Canyon into Utah and Salt Lake counties.
The smoke decreased visibility, forced cancellation of sporting events, sent some people to seek medical help and prompted the Division of Air Quality to warn people with respiratory problems to stay indoors.
On Sept. 25, an air-monitoring station in central Salt Lake City measured particulate pollution at 350 micrograms per cubic meter of air, well above the 150 microgram level considered unhealthy by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. A station in Lindon, in northern Utah County, measured 160 on Sept. 26.
To state officials, the most troubling aspect of the Cascade Springs II fire is why Forest Service crews set fire to a 400-acre parcel outside the original 600-acre boundaries.
The Forest Service's own post-fire investigation concluded that the "primary cause" of the wildfire was the decision to ignite that 400-acre parcel.
"This area was burned without an analysis of [containment] and contingency-force needs," the report stated.
Sprott said the Forest Service has yet to fully explain how that occurred.
"I was very surprised and very disappointed and kind of shocked that there weren't better controls on their activity," Sprott said.
The air-quality director said his agency wants assurances that the Forest Service will prevent similar occurrences.
Jiron said those procedures -- such as better training for the fire crews -- already are being implemented to provide better oversight of prescribed burns.
While authorities are reviewing and revamping procedures, nobody is questioning the need for prescribed burns, which have proven to be an effective ecological tool.
The Cascade Springs II fire, for example, is expected to vastly improve wildlife habitat.
Well, maybe "nobody" SHOULD be questioning the need for presribed burns. I find their pattern of controlled burns getting out of control pretty disturbing. In most cases, the cause of the out-of-control fire is sheer incompetence.
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.
The Forest Service's own post-fire investigation concluded that the "primary cause" of the wildfire was the decision to ignite that 400-acre parcel
As a former seasonal (7 years) USFS fire fighter, this is to be expected from an agency that promotes people based on race, gender and ideology instead of ability. That is why these folks look at 90 years of fuel build-up and think that throwing a match into it is better then people "managing the forest." Notice that they called it a wildfire when they lost control. The only thing wild about stuff like this is:... hardly anyone ever finds out about it.
State sponsored arson.
State sponsored arson.
You got that right. Later on when the fire was over, I'm sure the engine boss in the above pic was at the local bar telling stories about how heroic he and his guys are, neglecting to tell people that it was his agency's incompetence that started the "wildfire" in the first place.
The lapdog news media conveniently failed to report how the Forest Service paid tens of millions of dollars to angry Los Alamos residents for burning up their town and the local countryside. The news media also didn't report that the top 3 bosses involved in that fiasco were placed on paid administrative leave (paid vacation), "reassigned" (allowed to sit at a desk playing solitaire and drinking coffee and being home by 1:00 PM every day), and allowed to retire with full benefits.
Interesting, let's read on...
"Well, maybe 'nobody' SHOULD be questioning the need for presribed burns. I find their pattern of controlled burns getting out of control pretty disturbing. In most cases, the cause of the out-of-control fire is sheer incompetence."
Is your mind open to another suggestion?
The Forest Service is over-run with pagan environmentalists, and they have an agenda so dark that they make Stalin and Hitler seem like choir boys. This is all far beyond accidents, and coincidences, and the well known incompetetence of the fed gov cannot explain recent events.
Having watched the behavior of the supervisory personnel during the lightening-started fires in Tuolumne county last summer, I have come to the realization that there is a policy in place (at what level I do not know) to allow fires to get a head start before they begin to fight them.
If you'll recall, that is what allowed the Biscuit fire to eventually burn almost 1/4 of the forests in central Oregon.
And they churn out junk science in an attempt to mislead.
Thanks for the ping.
According to the enviros, human progress is to be avoided at any cost. Unfortunately, there are many enviros imbedded in the government. There is also the issue that fire fighting is a vocation of its own in the forest service. They don't want the fire to get out of control but want a big enough one to fill out the paycheck.
An accident on purpose, eh? Seeing the behavior of leftists in other areas of politics and govt., I wouldn't be surprised.
This is why government employees should NOT manage land. The Forest Service should contract out the actual work. That way, someone is held accountable for negligence. For example, if a contractor knew he was on the hook if the fire got away, he would not light the unit after hearing that there is a "high wind warning" in effect.
The Forest Service should revert to an over-sight agency focused on contract administration, instead of the affirmative action employment program it has become. The Bush administration is currently looking at this, but I don't know if they can make these changes without Congress.
This comes from the top. Our local National Forest (Klamath N.F.) annouced last August that they would now use wildfires as a tool to achieve "land management objectives". These people literally cannot find their ass with both hands, how the hell are they gonna control 300' flame lengths?
The USFS is decommisioning roads, a third of the air tanker fleet is permantly grounded because the wings are falling off due to airframe fatigue; yet catastrophic fire does not worry the USFS? So let me get this straight, less roads to get into the woods means the USFS needs to rely more heavily on aircraft; but we don't have as many planes as before because we wore them out fighting all the fires the Clinton people set. Meanwhile, we still got medicated imbeciles who think that throwing a match into 90 years of fuel accumulation is a peachy-keen thing to do.
When the whole thing goes up in flames, the press still cannot figure out what happened. Why? Because the press and the enviros refuse to hold the social outcasts in the USFS that thought-up this delusion accountable!!!
How many thousands of acres of forest must be incinerated before this asine policy is abandoned? When will the journalist who supposedly dedicate their careers to informing the public of the truth, kick their addiction to regurgitating lies spewed by enviro outfits that are more interested in anarchy and socialism, then the health of the forest?
This is what the Sierra Club wants.
The short answer is......NEVER!!!!!
I still hold out hope that a bright young reporter will take this issue up in the near future. But being a realist, I know that this will require a home-schooled individual!
Then their members should be held accountable for the damage that their policy inflicts on innocent bystanders.
You know that government is unduly influenced not only by so-called "special interests," but also by the "group think" delusions of pressure groups called "NGO's!"
Since power follows money and votes in our democratic process and our officials "feel" obliged to react to groups, rather than individuals... This ain't gonna git changed until we get to "My group can whip yer group" status!!! It's already "May the loudest mob win!" (not even the biggest mob sometimes)
Government "leaders" are a totally intimidated lot in the current environment!!! (check out my new tagline)
The concept of an almost instant right to vote in the new resident is compounded by the application of a One Man--One Vote theory of Political virtue, first applied by the Warren Court to the apportionment of State Legislatures in the early 1960s. In a manner that effectively prevented any check on majority rule in the several States, designed to protect the unique interests and cultural values of small rural communities from collectivized decisions dictated by the large centers of population--the areas most fluid in the pattern of settlement;--and deliberately ignoring the fact that the Constitution provides that each State must be allotted two Senators, regardless of its population; the Court held in a rapid succession of cases, that allowing either house of a State Legislature to be apportioned on any basis other than population would make a vote "worth more in one district than in another, [which in the words of Chief Justice Earl Warren] would ... run counter to our fundamental ideas of democratic government."
Without going into the question of what fundamental ideas Earl Warren thought he had discovered, which could circumvent the clear vision of the Fathers of the Constitution, these decisions sounded a virtual death knell for effective representation for many small rural communities across America. It meant that many more isolated communities, which might have had some influence in a contested district coextensive with a rural County, would go effectively unrepresented in a much larger district, with more diverse interests, thereafter--and correspondingly, less able to protect the unique qualities of their community. With the increased urbanization at the time, having both houses selected by districts of equal population, effectively put urban interests in control of most State Governments. And since the urban interests tend to be less cohesive, more culturally and ethnically diverse, that very phenomenon tended also to undermine the continuity of the social order.
Thus in one blow--supported by no language in the Constitution--the Supreme Court undermined both Cultural Continuity and a valuable check on unfettered majority rule (one of the chief motivations for a written Constitution). Thus, also, one more tie to an honored past, to the America that was settled by various small groups, religious, political and social, each seeking to preserve what was culturally unique about themselves, was subverted in favor of the very tyranny of the whole from which they each had fled.
"...was subverted in favor of the very tyranny of the whole from which they each had fled."
Eureka! You've been paying attention and found something wonderfully supportive of reversing "Cows don't vote!"
Ever since America has let President Eisenhower's worst mistake (Earl Warren) yank this counter balancing wheel weight off of our left-front wheel, our national vehicle has been bouncing hard LEFT!!!
As far as any community outside the city limits of major metrosexual areas, we're powerless and in the proverbial ditch. You are one of the few people to recognize this and even understand where the wheels REALLY came off of America!!!
In many ways, this has had even more detrimental effects than the ruination of the 10th Amendment when President Eisenhour sent Federalized troops into Alabama to hold a funeral for the 10th Amendment!!!
Thank you forester, for finding this! Now I'm gonna hafta BOOKMARK this thread for posterity!!! (and go check out that link!)
Note the key phrase, "our ideas of." There is thus an easy basis for tossing this ruling citing Article IV, Section 4, of the US Constitution:
You know... If enough of us, or should I say, a group of us could pursuade Pacific Legal Foundation, or some such "Public Interest Law Firm" to find an airtight case to try to induce the Supremes to re-visit this infamous decision...
But even I grow timid of that idea the way Saundra Day O'Connor has been voting in her old age!!! Judas Priest, she's become disgustingly disappointing lately!!! Funny how aging even made her fellow Arizonian Barry Goldwater go daft and to the left near the end of his days!!! Sad.
Tis true and exactly the kind of "truth" the EnvioNazis USE to push their agenda of stopping everything man-connected in our forests, like roads, forest health, even fire suppression!!! Their premise is that MAN is NOT part of NATURE and that's just NOT NATURAL!!! (excuse me for hollerin a bit, please. It's upsetting!)
I really wasn't sure of the implications of cows don't vote until I came across this. I have been aware of the "tyranny of the majority" that Madison spoke of in the Federalist Papers, but frankly, did not link this to the Warren decision until yesterday. It was a "the light-bulb came on and I knew we have been had" type of moment to be sure!
I like you're ideas on getting Pacific Legal to take a case that would overturn this horrible decision. I'd bet one could even cite civil rights laws as well as the constitution...something along the lines that rural American minority is being discriminated against by an urban majority.
The term is "disproportionate burden."
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