27 May 2009, 1:36pm
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by admin

National Forest Fire Managers Announce Beginning of Fire Season on Klamath NF

USFS Press Release, May 22, 2009 [here]

Yreka, CA (May 22, 2009)…Fire managers have analyzed fuel conditions and weather data and have determined that the risk of wildfire on the Klamath National Forest is on the increase beginning with the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Below normal rainfall and snow pack for the year has resulted in dryer vegetation conditions that are three to five weeks ahead of normal.

The Klamath experienced 92 wildfires in 2008. This year, the Forest Service is emphasizing early and frequent communication with partners and local communities in order to incorporate local input into decisions that are based on safety, property and natural resource protection, and the threat posed by potential wildfires.

Frequent fires are a part of California’s history and are a part of the natural ecosystem in northern California. Forest Service fire managers will continue to fight unwanted wildfire aggressively after having provided for firefighter safety. While successful initial attack is important, preparedness and prevention on the part of homeowners, communities, and firefighting agencies are the most effective means of protecting life and property from wildfire. For information about how to provide defensible space around your property, contact your local Forest Service or CAL FIRE office.

The risk of human-caused fires on the forest can be diminished by taking the proper safety precautions. Check the weather forecast before visiting the forest, let someone know your itinerary and be extremely careful with campfires. Have a shovel available and clear all flammable material away from the fire ring for a minimum of five feet. Extinguish all campfires with water.

Note: last year over 200,000 acres of the Klamath NF burned in wildfires. Much of that was in Let It Burn fires (WFU and AMR). Contrary to the assertion in the Press Release above, preparedness and prevention on the part USFS FOREST MANAGERS via restoration forestry and active biomass management on public lands is the most effective means of protecting life and property from wildfire.

27 May 2009, 2:09pm
by John M.

I take exception to the statement frequent fires are part of California history. To me the implication is the intense fires that have burned the Klamath and Trinity National Forest in the last several years are “no big deal.” I hope to heaven this not the FS attitude, and after the last several years of stand replacement fires the agency will do their level best to control fires as quickly as possible. The fires of the past were for the most part human caused and were not caused in the hot parts of the year.

Restoration forestry is the long term best solution to fire hazards on the Klamath and other forests, but until aggressive management can take place again, I believe the FS needs to work as hard as possible to control small fires and not burn up habitat, watersheds and other resources vital to people.

And I hope the forest will do more than “communicate” with the people of Siskiyou County. It would be more appropriate to ask the citizens for direct help to control fires.

27 May 2009, 2:46pm
by Mike

The dilly-dallying at ignition while the FS decides whether or not to Let It Burn is the chief impediment to successful initial attack.

While internal political obfuscation is taking place, small fires become big fires. When they get big, the risks to firefighter safety increase exponentially.

The lip service towards “firefighter safety” is thus an empty excuse for magnifying exactly those risks.

Furthermore, the chest pounding about private land fuels management is empty rhetoric when you consider that the pounders (the FS) do nothing to reduce fuels on public lands under their control.

Siskiyou County residents and their Board of Supervisors need to watch the Klamath NF leadership like hawks. If the FS is not engaging in rapid intitial attack, then the County should do it for them and send them the bill.



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