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.
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