Skip to comments.Why Our Forests Burn....
Posted on 06/28/2002 3:49:49 PM PDT by Issaquahking
Arizona Fire - Personal Report
Thu Jun 27 10:43:09 2002
Subject: FIRES: Re: Fires Burning in America - from buckland
Here is another *personal report* from the FIRES zone. Pay attention to these personal reports - they seldom make the major media and are not subject to some reporter/editors spin. Many thanks to all who have taken the time to let us know the true story going on.
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 13:39:15 -0600
Subject: Fw: Re: Fires Burning in America
From: gary l buckland
Dear Jackie - It is a hobby of mine to "flip over" a lot of government "rocks" and see what crawls out. There is no end to the "plain stupidity" that you can find - with ease.
Your article just points out a "drop in the ocean" as to what you can find on an HOURLY basis. Common sense is not very common - if you don't already know it.
You asked for comments about the Hayman fire that started just west of Woodland Park , CO. I live in Colorado Springs , CO - and own land just a few miles south of where the fire started. The only thing that saved us, this time, was wind direction - but it "ain't" over yet.
A local news paper columnist (Rich Tosches) wrote an article about an absurd incident in which the Hayman fire could have easily been stopped before it could do so much damage.
Let me preface by saying - I have spent 35 years in the heavy equipment business - 25 of which were with the Caterpillar organization. I know equipment !!. Mr. Tosches "article" mentions Caterpillar D 10's. I
can tell you more about a D 10 than you really care to know. A local gold mining company ( one of my ex customers ) offered [ at no cost ] to furnish 2 of these Large crawler dozers in order to stop the Hayman fire
before it became a raging inferno. They were being good neighbors ,in the best of the western tradition, by offering this million dollars worth of equipment - at a significant cost to themselves.
Their offer was refused !!!!!! The official reason - "We wouldn't want to scar the land with a blade that big". The eventual cost of this stupidity was far , far more costly than any D 10 would have caused. These 2 machines could have cleared more fire line in a few hours than it
took 2500 firefighters 2 weeks to clear. This is a pure and simple case of having "Amateurs" in positions of responsibility. Monday morning quarter backing - "NO" - just a matter of common sense. Bone dry conditions - extreme low humidity - wind - and miles and miles of timber
- with no real access or natural barriers.
The gold company was also told that their "dozer operators" were not "CERTIFIED FIREFIGHTERS". The company said "fine - put your own "operators" on the dozers. Their offer was still rejected. The results of all this is there for the
I am the son of a Kansas Pioneer - we fought ( as good neighbors) grass prairie fires long before most of the United States citizenry were even born. We did not need "Certified Firefighters" to come in and "make
judgements" for us. It was just a matter of common sense and cooperation - something that seems to be in short supply with our various government departments - national and local. We did not have D 10's then - but if
we had them you can bet your assets that we would have used them.
From what I have read - there are many of the same type situations that were present at the other large fires in Durango CO, and Show Low, AZ.
What this ALL about is "turf" ---- budgets - incompetent bureaucrats - and self "sustaining bureaucracies" - the old pay check thing.
Should someone be held "criminally liable" - you can literally bet your assets again. 100 years ago - you would have found them "hanging" from a tree - that had not burned yet.
You wanted suggestions - this is mine.
Spread it far and wide. Get some buzz about this, and maybe, just maybe, it will do some good.
What can be done about this, who will start looking into All of these items that are showing up time after time in regards to the Forest Service and the fires.
Just think of the homes and stuctures lost in the Hayman fire.
Because they are made out of wood?
Just a guess...
You can bet if one of their homes had been threatened they would have immediately demanded that the D10's be dispatched to save them - scar on the earth or not!
FWIW, I sent a mass email of an earlier version of this to a pile of people... and anyone so interested in doing the same, look here:
for links, tools, & instructions about how to contact a pile of different people, and how to send a link to this story right here ( or anywhere else ) to a "mass email" using Outlook Express.
Are you suggesting that our forests are made of witches?
WAKE UP! GET A GRIP ON REALITY!
The Forest Service has managed the Forest in Northern Arizona for 100 years for lumber. All the big trees were cut down and fires were suppressed. What we call a forest now is a mass of dog hair trees, mostly 10-16, 30-40'tall. One hundred years ago, when my great grandpappy arrived here, you could ride a horse at full gallop through the trees or drive a wagon through the forest. It is estimated that there was 60 trees per acre. Now we have 300-600 trees per acre. I know of a few places around here that you can walk under tress that are 3-4 in diameter and 100' tall, but only for a few hundred yards at a stretch.
Over the last 10 years or so the Forest Service proposed plans to thin the forest around Flagstaff, to protect the town for a big fire. Their time estimate? 20 years!
Sure the tree huggers have stopped a thinning project here and there, blocked some roads and saved a few owls. But they are not responsible for the fires.
If the Forest Service had worked at full capacity, unhindered by stupid lawsuits, over the last decade, this fire would still have happened. And the next one, just as big or bigger will happen, lawsuits or not. The forest is in deep s***! thanks to the manner in which it has been managed for lumber.
Go to mapquest and look for Forest Lakes, AZ. Zoom out and find Ashfork along I-40. From Ashfork to the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, the forest stretches, unbroken. Form AshFork go south to Prescott, the east through Camp Verde, Strawberry on to Heber, Show Low, all the way to New Mexico. This is a big chunk of land and its all just like what is on fire today - ready to burn.
Funny, but I used to live in Flagstaff, house backed up to wilderness. We spent lots of time in the woods, hiking up the Mtn. to small lakes. Or drive through the Aspen Forest to Sedona, visiting the stream that flows down the mtn.
I have a problem with logging being responsible for these fires becoming the monsters that they are, though. Logging should have thinned the Forest.
If you want to see what logging without restraint looks like there's a road into the mountain to the south just below Lake Tahoe off I80 that takes you to a devistated patch of overlogged forest, just above where the old single gauge RR ran between Truckee and Tahoe. It was in the 1030's that it was logged so brutally, so that nothing has grown back.
I don't know that anyone is to blame, except the person who started the fires.
I also lived just above the timberline in N CA off I80 and we cleared the growth in the edge of the woods and up to the house yearly (3 acres), except where the horses kept it grazed. There was only one road in and out.
Sorry to have upset you and I am sure the Forest Service would be happy to hear of your support, as well as the Sierra Club and Earth Firsters.