31 May 2008, 10:48pm
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The Carbon Curtain

Investor’s Business Daily editorial, May 29, 2008

Climate Change: Czech President Vaclav Klaus warns that environmentalism is becoming a new totalitarianism. There is still a bear in the woods, but it’s no longer the Russian bear. This time, it’s a polar bear.

Having lived much of his life in a nation once ruled by communists, Klaus recognizes a tyrannical ideology where elites trample on individual freedoms for the greater good when he sees one.

Speaking Tuesday at the National Press Club to introduce the English version of his book, “Blue Planet, Green Shackles,” Klaus said that global warming is being used as a means to erode our freedoms.

Klaus called alarms about man-made climate change a “quasi-noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of something above him” and that it is being exploited by a new elite “certain they have the right to sacrifice man and his freedom to make their idea a reality.”

Like Marxism, it will tell us how we can live, what we can drive, what temperature we can set our thermostats. “In the past it was in the name of the masses (or of the proletariat), this time in the name of the planet,” said Klaus. “Structurally, it was very similar.”

To those who find his fears unfounded, we offer the words of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, who, campaigning in Oregon, said: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times . . . and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

Obama added: “That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen.”

On June 2, the Senate is going to take up the America’s Climate Security Act, a cleverly titled assault on both our freedoms and our economy offered up by Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Warner.

The bill essentially limits how much gasoline and other fossil fuels Americans can use, as Klaus puts it, “in the name of the planet.” … [more]

31 May 2008, 10:41pm
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ABC (Australian) Website Tells Kids When They Should Die

By Karlis Salna, News.com.au

An Australian Broadcasting Corp. website has been accused of portraying farmers and forestry workers as evil and telling kids how much carbon they can produce before they die. The Planet Slayer website, which can be accessed via the science section on the ABC home page, also demonises people who eat meat and those involved in the nuclear industry, a Senate estimates committee heard.

The site has several features including a cartoon series, Adventures of Greena, and a tool called Prof Schpinkee’s Greenhouse Calculator to help kids work out their carbon footprint. The calculator lets users compare their own carbon output to the “average Aussie greenhouse pig” and estimates at what age a person should die so they don’t use more than their fair share of the Earth’s resources. Too much carbon production causes a cartoon pig to explode, leaving behind a pool of blood.

Victorian Liberal senator Mitch Fifield today questioned the accuracy and appropriateness of some of the imagery and content on the website. “Do you think it’s appropriate that the ABC portray the average Australian as a pig and is it appropriate for a website obviously geared towards kids to depict people who are average Australians as massive overweight ugly pigs, oozing slime from their mouths, and then to have these pigs blow up in a mass of blood and guts?”

ABC managing director Mark Scott said the site was not designed to offend certain quarters of the community but to engage children in environmental issues. “The site has been developed to appeal to children and its been done in an irreverent way… to make it engaging,” Mr Scott said. … [more]

30 May 2008, 10:09pm
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Cold Irony: Arctic Sea Ice Traps Climate Tour Icebreaker

From Watts Up With That? [here]

Stuck in the arctic ice that doesn’t exist. (file photo: EcoPhotoExplorers)

Last year as arctic sea ice melted to record levels, panic set in for many. But then, as the sea ice rebounded and froze again quickly in the 2007/2008 winter, making up for that record loss and reaching heights not seen for several years, many exclaimed that even though the ice areal extent had recovered, this new ice was “thin” and would likely melt again quickly. There were also many news stories about how the Northwest Passage was ice free for the first time “ever”. For example, Backpacker Magazine ran a story saying “The ice is so low that the photos clearly show a viable northwest passage sea route along the coasts of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.”

Cashing in on the panic that has set in with the help of some climate alarmists, tour operators like Quark Expeditions of Norwalk Connecticut are offering polar expeditions catering to that “see it before it’s gone” travel worry. One of them is in fact a trip though the Northwest Passage on a former Soviet Icebreaker called the Kapitan Khlebnikov which is a massive 24,000 horsepower Polar Class icebreaker capable of carrying 108 passengers in relative luxury through the arctic wilderness. …

I am on the bridge of the massive Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, and the tension is palpable. We have hit ice - thick ice. …

What irony. I am a passenger on one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world, travelling through the Northwest Passage - which is supposed to become almost ice-free in a time of global warming, the next shipping route across the top of the world - and here we are, stuck in the ice, engines shut down, bridge deserted. Only time and tide can free us.

On the seventh day of being trapped in the ice, winds and tide moved the ice pack enough that they could continue. But, I have to wonder, will the pampered eco-tourists on this trip see the irony that we do? … [more]

30 May 2008, 10:21am
Latest Climate News
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Ultralong Solar Cycle 23 and Possible Consequences

By Joe D’Aleo, Monday, May 26, 2008 [here]

In 1610, shortly after viewing the sun with his new telescope, Galileo Galilei made the first European observations of Sunspots. Daily observations were started at the Zurich Observatory in 1749 and with the addition of other observatories continuous observations were obtained starting in 1849. As a climatologist, I always found it amazing that we have had regular sunspot data far longer than we have had reliable coverage of temperature or precipitation.

Sunspots appear as dark spots on the surface of the Sun. Temperatures in the dark centers of sunspots drop to about 3700 K (compared to 5700 K for the surrounding photosphere). They typically last for several days, although very large ones may live for several weeks. Sunspots are magnetic regions on the Sun with magnetic field strengths thousands of times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. …

While the sunspots tend to make the Sun look darker, the faculae make it look brighter. During a sunspot cycle, the faculae actually win out over the sunspots and make the Sun appear slightly (about 0.1%) brighter at sunspot maximum that at sunspot minimum.

The sunspot number is calculated by first counting the number of sunspot groups and then the number of individual sunspots. The “sunspot number” is then given by the sum of the number of individual sunspots and ten times the number of groups. Monthly averages (updated monthly) of the sunspot numbers show that the number of sunspots visible on the sun waxes and wanes with an approximate 11-year cycle…

It appears from the evidence… that cycle 23 has not yet bottomed out and thus is at least 12 years long. …

Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715, a period known as the Maunder Minimum. …

Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes.

[S]olar cycle length has been shown to correlate very well with temperatures. In an important paper in 1991, Friis-Christensen et al., compared the average temperature in the northern hemisphere with the average solar activity defined through the interval between successive sunspot maxima. …

Global temperatures appear to have peaked in 1998. The current longer quieter cycle 23 may be behind the cooling in the last 7+ years.

[T]here have been just four spots or pre-spot magnetic activity with characteristics of cycle 24. Meanwhile cycle 23 cycle spots continue. This suggests that cycle 24 may not kick in until later 2008 or even 2009. …

[NASA and others project that] cycle 24 will be quieter than 23 and that 25 and 26 will be very quiet and result in colder decades ahead.

A similar finding was made by Archibald who speculates a major cooling ahead that could rival or be worse than the Dalton Minimum.


The sun undergoes cyclical changes on multiple time scales that appear to correlate very well with temperatures. Long and relatively quiet solar cycles historically have been associated with cold global temperatures, short and very active cycles, warm periods. The current cycle 23 appears to be the longest in at least a century and may project to quieter subsequent cycles and cooling temperatures ahead. [more]

30 May 2008, 10:02am
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Global warming, an unsettled science

The thesis of man-made global warming has been portrayed as a scientific consensus, but is this more a policymaker and media phenomenon than a settled matter?

By Simon Roughneen for ISN Security Watch (30/05/08) [here]

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group One, a panel of experts established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, issued its Fourth Assessment Report. This included predictions of dramatic increases in average world temperatures over the next 92 years and serious harm resulting from the predicted temperature rise.

Founding director of the UN Environment Programme Maurice Strong once analyzed global environmental challenges as follows:

“We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse.”

“Industrial civilization” has been pumping additional carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere and adding to the greenhouse effect, whereby carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor combine to trap sunrays bouncing off the earth’s surface, keeping the earth at a temperature conducive to supporting life.

What ultimate benefit the collapse of industrial civilization could bring at a time when - as Oxford University economist Paul Collier put it in his award-winning book The Bottom Billion - around four billion people are being lifted out of poverty, remains unclear.

However, the IPCC outlines that “deep cuts in global emission will be required,” while the European Commission supports emissions cuts of 25-40 percent by 2020. The US, however, considers such cuts beyond reach, at least before 2050, while Japan says it is premature to commit to 2020 limits.

On 26 May, G8 environment ministers endorsed slashing greenhouse gas emissions in half by mid-century, but failed to agree on much more contentious near-term targets.

Environmentalists were disappointed, according to AP reports: They missed the “opportunity to accelerate the slow progress of G8 climate negotiations, but they failed to send a signal of hope for a breakthrough,” said Naoyuki Yamagishi, head of the Climate Change Program at WWF Japan.

Whether or not such emissions cuts, and the industrial and economic turmoil that could ensue, are necessary, depends precisely on whether global warming or climate change is man-made, or whether the anthropogenic aspect outweighs natural factors.

On 10 May 2007, UN special climate envoy Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland declared the climate debate “over,” adding that “it’s completely immoral, even, to question” the UN’s scientific “consensus.”

Questions about the “consensus” are mounting, however, as are apparently growing numbers of scientists who dispute the notion that “the science is settled.”
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30 May 2008, 9:57am
Latest Forest News
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Conservation Easements Not What They Used to Be

Under the guise of making more land accessible for the public’s use and providing tax relief for land-rich but cash-poor landowners, the government has found a convenient way to restrict the use of private land - often without the original landowner’s knowledge. Enter The Nature Conservancy and other large land trust conglomerates that approach farmers or large landowners with what seems like a “win-win” for all involved. In return for donating their land for conservation purposes, the landowners are provided with federal and state tax breaks and agree never to convert, develop or use the land for any purpose other than farming or ranching.

A total of 37 million acres of land throughout the United States are currently under the control of land trusts.

However, according to a new report by the National Center for Public Policy Research titled, “Conservation Easements: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” all-too-often that acquired land, placed under “conservation easements,” goes from the land trust right into the governing hands of the largest landowner in the United States, the federal government. Dana Joel Gattuso, author of the report and senior fellow of the National Center, explains these “prearranged flips” provide a back door approach to acquiring land control that is good for the government and the original land trust, but bad for the unsuspecting landowner, who has been kept out of the loop.

How profitable is it for conglomerates like The Nature Conservancy to participate in flips? Gattuso cites their annual report, which states about a fifth of the land trust’s annual support and revenues come from the sales of easements to the government. “In one example, The Nature Conservancy bought an easement for $1.26 million, then directly sold it to the federal Bureau of Land Management for $1.4 million,” she says. The Nature Conservancy certainly isn’t alone, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, one of that state’s largest land trusts, has sold more than 700 of its 850 easements to the state and federal government.

Besides being able to take control over more and more land, “Government agencies like the arrangements because they are able to restrict activity on private property absent public approval, unlike land purchases, zoning laws and other land conservation regulations, which can draw heated opposition - and great angst,” Gattuso says. According to a Department of Agriculture report on easements, “conservation easements provide opportunities for public agencies to influence resource use without incurring the political costs of regulation or the full financial costs of outright land acquisition.” It is troubling that “easements, absent reforms, could evolve into the prevailing method for government to shift lands unobtrusively from private to public control under a pretense of private stewardship,” she states. … [more]

30 May 2008, 9:43am
Latest Wildlife News
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Group announces intent to sue over walrus petition

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A conservation group gave notice Tuesday that it will sue to force federal action on a petition to list the Pacific walrus as a threatened species because of threats from global warming and offshore petroleum development.

The deadline was May 8 for an initial 90-day review of the petition by the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to Center for Biological Diversity attorney Brendan Cummings.

The group filed the petition in February.

Shaye Wolf, a biologist and lead author of the petition, said Arctic sea ice is disappearing faster than the best predictions of climate models.

“As the sea ice recedes, so does the future of the Pacific walrus,” she said.

The conservation group was one of three that successfully petitioned to have polar bears listed as threatened because of sea ice loss caused by global warming, a decision announced May 14 by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. That listing also followed court action to force deadline decisions. …

As many as 6,000 walruses late last summer and fall abandoned the remaining ice, which covered deep water, and congregated on Alaska’s northwest shore.

Herds were larger on the Russian side, where one group included as many as 40,000 animals, according to Russian observers. They estimated 3,000 to 4,000 mostly young walruses died in stampedes when herds rushed into the water at the sight of polar bears, hunters or low-flying aircraft. … [more]

25 May 2008, 10:24pm
Latest Climate News
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Researchers find significant increasing trend in arctic sea ice

Harry L. Stern, Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen (2003) Trends and variability of sea ice in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, 1953-2001. Polar Research Volume 22 Issue 1 Page 11-18, June 2003.

Abstract [here]

The extent and duration of sea ice in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait has a major impact on the timing and strength of the marine production along West Greenland. The advance and retreat of the sea ice follows a predictable pattern, with maximum extent typically in March. We examine the area of sea ice in March in three overlapping study regions centred on Disko Bay on the west coast of Greenland. Sea ice concentration estimates derived from satellite passive microwave data are available for the years 1979-2001. We extend the record back in time by digitizing ice charts from the Danish Meteorological Institute, 1953-1981. There is reasonable agreement between the chart data and the satellite data during the three years of overlap: 1979-1981.

We find a significant increasing trend in sea ice for the 49-year period (1953-2001) for the study regions that extend into Davis Strait and Baffin Bay. The cyclical nature of the wintertime ice area is also evident, with a period of about 8 to 9 years. Correlation of the winter sea ice concentration with the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index shows moderately high values in Baffin Bay. The correlation of ice concentration with the previous winter’s NAO is high in Davis Strait and suggests that next winter’s ice conditions can be predicted to some extent by this winter’s NAO index.

Thanks and a tip of the virtual hat to the Rogue Pundit [here] for pointing out this scientific report.

25 May 2008, 10:18pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Polar Bear listing increases Inuit mistrust

Kivalliq Inuit Association predicts that scientists will be proven wrong once again

by JOHN THOMPSON, Nunatsiaq News, May 23, 2008 [here]

It’s easy to romanticize the majestic polar bear when you don’t have to worry about the enormous animals marauding down the streets of your community in August and September, as Lootie Toomasie from Qikiqtarjuaq often does.

For Toomasie, bears are no symbol of climate change. They’re a threat to his family. He and other hunters chase the bears off, using ATVs and boats. Still, “there’s too many bears for us,” he says. “We’re no longer safe.”

One benefit the bears bring is business, in the form of wealthy U.S. hunters who are willing to pay as much as $30,000 to bag one of the beasts. But that business may now be crippled, many worry, following the U.S. decision May 14 to list polar bears as “threatened” under its Endangered Species Act.

Most sport hunters who visit Nunavut hail from the United States. But now U.S. hunters aren’t allowed to bring their polar bear trophies home, as one consequence of the “threatened” designation. The polar bear sport hunt draws about $2.9 million into Nunavut each year, the department of the environment estimates.

The importation ban won’t prevent bears from being shot. Nunavut will continue to manage its quota system for hunting bears the same as always, by estimating the total bear population, calculating a sustainable number of bears to take, and then dividing the total quota up among local hunters, who do with these tags as they see fit. This year about 400 bears are to be shot.

Nor will the decision to list bears as threatened likely do much to stop climate change, which is melting sea ice [not true, see next FFW News post] that bears depend upon while they hunt seals.

Dirk Kempthorne, U.S. secretary of the interior, has vowed that the threatened designation will have no effect on oil and gas exploration in Alaska, or bring about any stricter rules in the U.S. to curb greenhouse gas emissions. But the decision has succeeded enormously in infuriating Inuit. The business of outfitting American hunters brought good money into otherwise poor communities, such as Qikiqtarjuaq, where there are few jobs.

And Inuit see the decision as part of a yet another reason to distrust studies put together by wildlife researchers, which often clash with their own views. The Kivalliq Inuit Association [here] said in a press release they believe the U.S. decision is no different from past instances where scientists warned that animals were in decline, only to be later proven wrong by Inuit who said otherwise.

So it went with the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd 30 years ago, and with bowhead whales as of March this year, when the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans acknowledged they had dramatically undercounted the whale population. The number of polar bears is believed to have soared over the past 30 years, from a total population of about 12,000 in the late 1960s to about 24,000 today. Two-thirds of those bears live in Canada.

Some bears are faring better than others. Of the world’s 19 subpopulations of polar bears, four are believed to be in decline. One of the four is Baffin Bay, an area that includes Qikiqtarjuaq, where scientists say the bear population has plunged [allegedly dropped slightly] from about 2,100 in 1997 to an estimated 1,500 bears today. But hunters like Toomasie say they’ve never seen so many bears before.

Scientists counter that more bear sightings doesn’t equal more bears. They say in recent years the floe edge has moved several kilometres closer to shore on the northeastern edge of Baffin Island, bringing bears and hunters closer together [not true, see next FFW News post]. … [more]

Thanks and a tip of the virtual hat to the Rogue Pundit [here] for pointing out this news report.

24 May 2008, 10:57pm
Latest Fire News
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Viejas, Ewiiaapaayp Tribes Team with Forest Service to Create Firebreaks in San Diego’s East County


The U.S. Forest Service has teamed up with the Viejas and Ewiiaapaayp (WEE-ah-pie) Indian tribes to clear land and create firebreaks east of the San Diego County community of Alpine.

At a news conference today announcing the effort, large masticators were used to chop up dense brush that has built up over decades, creating a potentially dangerous fuel source for future wildfires. Approximately 97 acres will be cleared south of I-8 off of Alpine Boulevard. Different portions of the land are owned by the Ewiiaapaayp tribe, the federal government and private property owners.

This marks the first time that land in southern California has been cleared for firebreaks under the Tribal Fire Protection Act of 2004. The Act encourages the federal government and Native American tribes to coordinate efforts to create firebreaks and conduct other land management practices on federal lands adjacent to tribally-owned lands.

Viejas Tribal Councilmember Alan Barrett, who testified before Congress in support of the legislation, stated: “This continues a positive inter-governmental relationship our tribes have established with the U.S. Forest Service and local governments, as well as area property owners. Past experience has taught us that wildfires know no boundaries, so it’s important that we all work together for the greater good of our communities.”
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23 May 2008, 8:22pm
Latest Forest News
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Forest Service and BLM to Share Medford Interagency Office

MEDFORD, OR, May 22, 2008 –The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Medford District and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s Supervisor’s Office will share an office, the Medford Interagency Office, as of Tuesday, June 3, 2008. Both agencies have a word for it called “collocation”.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor’s Office is moving from 333 West 8th Street, downtown Medford to the newly remodeled office at 3040 Biddle Road, which is near the airport. …

At the same time the BLM Medford District employees will be moving back into their newly designed office. Telephone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses for all BLM employees will stay the same. Since December, BLM employees have been working out of temporary trailers, or at the Grants Pass Interagency Office. All of this was done to accommodate and complete the major renovations to the Medford Interagency Office.

The Forest Service office in downtown Medford will be physically closed to accommodate the move starting on Thursday, May 29. …

“The Medford Interagency Office will house both agencies and will provide a great service to the people of Southern Oregon,” said Tim Reuwsaat, BLM Medford District Manager. The two agencies are combining into one visitor front office which provides one-stop shopping for the public and also reduces organizational layers. The collocation of the agencies at Medford Interagency Office will facilitate a streamlining of business processes in some cases and provide a more coordinated relationship between the BLM and Forest Service.

“This is an exciting move for the Forest Service and BLM and we have had a lot of community support for sharing an office,” said Reuwsaat.

The remodeled Medford Interagency Office will house about 200 total BLM and 75 total Forest Service employees. Employees of the BLM Medford District and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest with similar jobs will be sitting next to each other and occupy both floors of the Medford Interagency Office. “Cooperation is more than just a word to us, it is a way of doing business and an atmosphere that employees have fostered,” said Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor Scott Conroy. “This move fits into a concept of ‘Service First’ which can provide both the Forest Service and BLM a variety of opportunities to improve our public service and to more effectively manage the forests and public lands,” said Scott Conroy, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor. … [more]

23 May 2008, 3:25pm
Latest Forest News
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Ninth Circuit Sierra ruling works against saving habitat from catastrophic fire

from The JURIST — Legal News and Research [here]

Mike Dubrasich [Exec Director, Western Institute for Study of the Environment]: “After eight years of a planning exercise called the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (SNFPA) - one that involved thousands of people, hundreds of meetings, and tens of thousands of documents, studies, reviews, rehashes, monitoring, and re-monitoring - a Federal judge last week enjoined fire-preventative thinnings created under SNFPA guidance with the judgment that the planning was not “rigorous” enough to satisfy.

That suit was brought by the Wilderness Society, and in effect destroyed eight years of effort by USFS employees and an engaged public to comply with the law.

The Wilderness Society had every opportunity to participate in the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan planning exercise. There was an open process with public hearings and public involvement every step of the way. Indeed, the Wilderness Society was invited and even begged to participate, to become part of the process, to meet with local residents, and to resolve differences in an amicable and collaborative fashion.

Instead the Wilderness Society chose to shun that process and to sue to kill it, in concert with the Sierra Club, the Center For Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign (who recently changed their name to Sierra Forest Legacy in a marketing/branding move). … [more]

23 May 2008, 2:44pm
Latest Fire News
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Two prescribed fires set at just the wrong time

By Tom Beal, ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 5/23/08 [here]

Two fires, one burning out of control on the slopes of Mount Graham in Eastern Arizona and another on grasslands in southwest New Mexico, were deliberately set by Coronado National Forest fire managers Tuesday despite “red flag” warnings posted for the following day.

Red-flag conditions — a combination of high temperatures, wind, low humidity and dry fuels — made the Frye Mesa and Whitmire fires hard to stop once they escaped the perimeters of the U.S. Forest Service’s prescribed burn.

The flames forced the Forest Service to close the main road up Mount Graham Thursday, and the popular camping and fishing area might stay closed for the Memorial Day weekend. By Thursday night the Frye Mesa fire had burned about 3,100 acres.

When the Forest Service set fire Tuesday to the brush on Frye Mesa, in the foothills of Mount Graham, the National Weather Service had predicted high winds that afternoon and a red-flag warning for severe fire weather the following day.

“We strongly discouraged them from starting it,” said Bill Turner, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s Tucson office. “We had red-flag criteria everywhere.”

The weather service’s Storm Prediction Center had labeled one small area of the United States as “extremely critical” for fire outlook on Wednesday. Frye Mesa and an area on the New Mexico border, where the Forest Service lit the Whitmire Fire, were both in that area. …

[Retired fire manager Larry] Humphrey said the Forest Service will be paying a high price for removal of sweet resin bush on Frye Mesa.

“You could’ve hired a blind man with a hoe and a backpack to go out and grub it out of there for a lot less money than this fire’s gonna cost,” he said. … [more]

Great tits cope well with warming

By Richard Black, BBC News website [here]

At least one of Britain’s birds appears to be coping well as climate change alters the availability of a key food.

Researchers found that great tits are laying eggs earlier in the spring than they used to, keeping step with the earlier emergence of caterpillars.

Writing in the journal Science, they point out that the same birds in the Netherlands have not managed to adjust.

Understanding why some species in some places are affected more than others by climatic shifts is vital, they say.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) commented that other species are likely to fare much worse than great tits as temperatures rise. … [more]

22 May 2008, 12:49am
Latest Fire News
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Staffing for fires worries senator

by Jason Pesick, Staff Writer, Redlands Daily Facts

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is concerned the U.S. Forest Service has too many firefighter vacancies heading into the fire season.

A letter to Feinstein from Mark Rey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary who oversees the Forest Service, shows that there are 363 vacancies in Southern California out of 4,432 positions.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said she is concerned that many of the vacancies are among midlevel firefighters.

“These are key fire leadership positions. Without them, some fire engines might sit idle just when they’re needed most. This is unacceptable. We simply cannot afford anything less than a fully staffed firefighting corps in California,” she said in a statement.

Casey Judd, business manager for the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association, said that Rey, in his letter, backed off from an April 1 commitment to Feinstein that all positions would be staffed in time for the start of the state’s fire season.

“I want to reiterate that we feel … we have the resources to meet our firefighting mission this year,” said Jason Kirchner, a spokesman for the Forest Service’s California region. … [more]

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