Skip to comments.COSTLY LAWSUITS PROVIDE KINDLING FOR FOREST BLAZES
Posted on 07/04/2002 7:52:27 AM PDT by madfly
Those catastrophic forest fires burning in Arizona are now 60 percent contained, and Matthew Specht, spokesman for Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake, tells us fire crews are hoping for "complete containment by Sunday."
Mr. Flake, a Republican member of the House Resources Committee, will no doubt be paying close attention to future preventative measures to decrease the severity of such fires, including controversial forest thinning.
"Since the beginning of the devastating fires in Colorado and Arizona, many environmentalists finally conceded that some forest thinning is needed to prevent these types of severe fires," notes Mr. Flake. "However, one group, Forest Guardians, suggests thinning the forest using 'solar-powered' chain saws."
Solar-powered chain saws?
"I know my way around the hardware store pretty well," the congressman chuckles, "but I've never seen the solar-powered-chain saw section."
Kirsten Stade, a member of the Forest Guardians, was quoted in a recent East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune article as saying the group supports forest thinning so long as it does not benefit commercial loggers and is done with solar-power chain saws.
"We all know that some radical environmentalists have too much influence on our forest policy," notes Mr. Flake. "But it's clear that some also have too much time on their hands."
John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or by e-mail: email@example.com.
I truly hope this idiotic, anti-business line of drivel is spread far and wide across the country to unmask the intent and agenda behind these people.
It makes one want to invent a solar-powered chainsaw, just to spite them... ;0)
Dozens of homes lost, lives lost, habitat burned, timber destroyed and huge watersheds exposed to erosion. Before the fires are even out questions are being raised about blame, cause and cost. I will raise another question-Why are almost all of these catastrophes occurring on federal parks and forests? But you say that it is all happening in the west-similar fires can't happen in the eastern national forests. While I don't like to be the bearer of bad news, the risk of catastrophic fires in the eastern national forests is increasing. Hopefully, we will never see a fire run out of control from Atlanta, Ga. to Morgantown, W.Va., but every year conditions on public parks and forests increase the likelihood of such a fire.
When forests become overmature, overstocked and overburdened with fuels they become serious candidates for insect attack and disease infestation and then they become an even more likely location for a catastrophic wildfire. Today millions of acres of the mountain forests of the Blue Ridge Province approach this overmature, overstocked condition.
Ground zero in the Blue Ridge area might be Smokey Mountain National Park. When the park was formed the 550,000-acre park included some abandoned farmland but most of the area was either cutover forest or 50-year-old immature forest. Today the abandoned farmland supports 70-year-old even aged and overstocked stands of pine, yellow poplar and mixed hardwoods. The cutover forest stands in the park are now 110-115-years old and are experiencing mortality and species change.
Since the formation of the park there has been no timber harvesting and very little prescribed fire used on the area. So the park today is a tinder box of aging and dying trees with massive undestories of fuel waiting for the right combination of drought, wind and a match. Surrounding the park are several million acres of national forest land, including the Pisgah and Nantahela in North Carolina, the Cherokee in Tennessee, the Chatahootchie in Georgia, the Daniel Boone in Kentucky and the Jefferson and George Washington in Virginia.
Following WWII these mountain forests were managed rather intensively as working forests where extraction of timber on a sustained basis was a primary objective but wildlife habitat, watershed management and recreation received considerable attention through multiple use programs. During this period of active harvest and overall intensive management, overmature trees were cut and young forests were started and overstocking was controlled by thinning. Prescribed fire was used on some of the forests to reduce the threat of wildfire. Thus, the likelihood of a catastrophic wildfire was reduced on these managed forests and they in a way provided a buffer for the unmanaged trees in the Smokey Park.
But in the late 1980's the mission of the National Forests in the mountains began to change. Many thousands of acres of forestland was put off limits for timber harvest by designation as wilderness or wild area or designated as an old growth area. Then in the 1990's the allowable timber harvest on the remaining national forest land available for harvest was greatly reduced. For example, in 1986 the Cherokee National Forest offered for sale over 60 million board feet of timber. Recently the Cherokee National Forest offered less than 12 million board feet for sale. So, today the volume of tree growth on all the national forests greatly exceeds the tree harvest and many stands are already dangerously overstocked. And as time passes, more and more stands become overmature.
With a big enough solar panel, you could run an electric chainsaw, though it wouldn't be efficient for large amounts of logging. Scientifically, ordinary gas powered chainsaws owe their energy to solar, which ancient plants captured, transferred to ancient animals, which then left the energy behind as what we call oil.
Jeff Flake's another Arizona politico that will be getting a copy of your book.
Decimated? More like obliterated.
This type of management was known as "Conservation". The environmentalist movement ended the proper use and management of forests in the U.S. and replaced the conservationists in the USFS with the neurotic socialists that are wearing ranger hats now.
I wish I had the graphics capability to do that!
They will not agree of course. But it puts them on the defensive. They have to explain why they use courts and not the democratic process to push their agenda. People do not hold lawyers in high regard as it is, suggesting a reasonable one year hiatus on suits exposes the lawyers and environmentalists as the greedy fanatics they are. It also will draw attention to the fact that the Forest service spends 40% of its budget in court, not in the forests doing the job taxpayers are paying it to do.
I have to laugh at this so I won't cry...Don't ya wanna just slap the crap out of some of these people?
Reporting still live from Durango, CO, now home to the #1 fire in the country on Missionary Ridge.
Write Your Representative - Constituent Communication System
E-mail Congressman Jeff Flake District Office Address: 1201 S. Alma School Road (480) 833-0092 - phone Washington, DC Office Address: 512 Cannon House Office Building (202) 225-2635 - phone
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Mesa, AZ 85210
(480) 833-6314 - fax
Washington, D.C. 20515-0301
(202) 226-4386 - fax
District Office Address:
1201 S. Alma School Road
(480) 833-0092 - phone
Washington, DC Office Address:
512 Cannon House Office Building
(202) 225-2635 - phone
July 3, 2002
Forest Subcommittee Announces July 11 Oversight Hearing on Cost, Causes and Implications of 2002 Wildfire Season
Will include forthright analysis of pros/cons of aggressive forest management
Washington, D.C. - The Forest & Forest Health Subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing on Thursday, July 11 at 10 a.m. in Room 1334 Longworth HOB on Wildfire on the National Forest: An update on the 2002 Wildland Fire Season.
Witnesses from the Interior and Agriculture departments are expected to testify regarding the nearly $400 million spent year-to-date on fire suppression. Scientists from Colorado and Arizona will be invited to testify regarding the explosive nature of this years fires and the available options for forest management.
Statement from Chairman James V. Hansen:
Were less than halfway through the summer and already the Administration has spent nearly every firefighting dollar it has on the fires in Arizona and Colorado. Meanwhile, five large, new fires have broken out in just the last 24 hours in Colorado, California, Wyoming and Utah. Were out of money. Homes are threatened and lives are in jeopardy in some part of virtually every western state. This crisis will only get worse between now and autumn.
Statement from Forest & Forest Health Chairman Scott McInnis:
"For those who have doubted or downplayed the seriousness of the wildfire epidemic on our national forests, this summer has been a rude awakening. 2002 is well on its way to becoming among the most destructive wildfire
seasons in American history. And if this fire season has taught us anything, it is that our attempts to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire on the national forests are falling woefully short.
"My goals for the hearing are three-fold: find out what additional resources the government needs this year to protect the many western communities in the crosshairs of wildfire, begin the process of separating the junk-science from the real-science when it comes to managing our national forests, and press policymakers and scientist to find out what it's going to take to get out ahead of this crisis in the long-term."
How about dropping Forest Guardians with their solar powered saws from a Halo Drop to fight these fires.
This is their arrogant way of saying these forests will never be thinned.
Tie them behind some big caterpillars with chains and use the Forest Guardians as dust control devices behind the cats as they thin out the forest. Be sure to drag them about 5 miles before starting the real work to break them in.
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Resources
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6201
These hearings could get very interesting. Thanks for the Ping.
Hey, no problemo--you just have to use "Clinton-think". To wit---ALL energy in petroleum and/or coal has its ultimate origin in solar energy----THEREFORE---ALL chainsaws are "solar-powered". Just truck on down to your local hardware store, pick one out, and "thin the forest" away!!! Stihl, McCulloch, Poulan, Homelite--all OK!!
Mr. Hansen has been championing this issue and has been attacked again and again by these groups. In January this year he announced he will retire. I hope these hearings bring him some results, after years of speaking out.
What is truly shocking is the amount of money these groups are raising and
spending, and they are beginning to hit the big-time contributions, millions of
dollars at a time, disappointingly, from such previously venerable entities as
the Pew Charitable Trust. This is how they can pay for millions of dollars in
slick brochures, calendars, videos, radio and television advertisements, all
designed to shock and stimulate individuals to reach into their pocketbooks.
Like any other pitchmen hawking their wares, they use sensational pictures
and distortion of facts in order to grab attention, as some unscrupulous
marketers are prone to do. They take advantage of many hard-working
Americans who are too busy earning a living and paying taxes and raising
their families, who do not have the time to investigate the claims themselves.
These groups take advantage of people's natural goodwill and desire to
protect green spaces and clean water by asserting that their tax-deductible
$10, $20, $50, or $100 donated to them, for example, will keep those
blankety-blank, nasty Republicans or other Congresspersons from raping
and pillaging the environment.
As it was for me as a young college student to be influenced by their
solicitation, so it remains today with many of us. Only there is so much more
media influence by those groups than in the 1960s. They have a very loud
and a very strident voice.
When I hear the completely overblown rhetoric they put out about many of my
colleagues who are working hard, honestly motivated by wanting to do the
right thing by the environment and by finding a balanced approach, it can be
very disheartening. Some days it is tempting to ask why do we keep trying?
Despite years of trying to reach out to these groups, to enter into a
constructive dialogue to come up with legislative solutions to vexing
environmental problems, all I have received is the hammer to the head. At
least to this point they have not shown an interest in doing what Isaiah
counseled in the Old Testament, ``Come now, let us reason together.'' I am
still waiting for the phrase to be uttered, ``Mr. Chairman, we would like to
work with you on that proposal.'' I have been here 21 years and still have not
heard it. Indeed, all we get is the fire hose approach of heated and hostile
You might want to do a little research as many of us are now convinced that the theory about dinsauor's and plant growth is false.
I'd buy a front row ticket to watch that!
Save your rope. One of the tactics these fools use is to chain themselves to heavy equipment in the woods.
Speaking as an old-time citizen-activist, I believe the "forest mismanagement issue" has great potential to undermine both the Left in general and the more radical environmentalists in particular.
All living things fear and abhor wildfire--
It is easy to frame in terms favorable to our side ( sensible management of parks, woods, and forests... jobs for working Americans... public access to publically-purchased lands, etc. )--
And more generally just "doing the right thing"--
and while it may take some research to find committee members, it should be do-able.