2 Feb 2008, 9:00pm
Saving Forests
by admin

I Am to Blame

I have been accused (J’Accuse!) of expressing harsh sentiments towards public bureaucrats, namely Gail Kimbell, Chief USDA Forest Service.

I apologize, Gail. I was over the top. It’s not your doing that bugs me. You are just a figurehead. You are a puppet on a string. The USFS is controlled by Congress and the President. They pull the strings. You just dance to the tune you are told to.

It’s someone else’s fault. I know that. The fault belongs to Congress, the President, the Judiciary, the BINGO’s, the “special interest groups.” Why lay blame on anyone in particular? And blame for what, exactly?

Let me explain. I seek to place the blame, or more properly the responsibility, for the collapse of the USFS and the concomitant destruction of our public and private lands by catastrophic fire, on whomever was actually or is actually responsible.

By collapse I mean that over the last 15 years the agency has shrunk by two-thirds, lost direction, expertise, and capabilities, and has replaced stewardship with a No Touch, Let It Burn, Watch It Rot management philosophy. That philosophy has resulted in megafires that have frequently escaped federal boundaries and burned private rural and urban lands across the West.

Over the last 15 years nearly 90 million acres have burned in wildfires. In 1993 2.3 million acres burned. That number has climbed to over 9 million ac/yr in last two years. Vast tracts of public forest have been incinerated, as well as tens of thousands of private ranches, farms, homes, and businesses. Historic record megafires have struck in every western state in this century. Federal fires have burned into cities including Los Alamos, Sedona, San Diego, South Lake Tahoe, Bend, and many others.

The impact on wildlife, watershed, recreation, timber, and every other multiple use or value has been horrendous. Whole ecosystems have been destroyed, endangered species populations have crashed, the fire hazard has been worsened, the scars on the land are vast and will last lifetimes.

Whole rural economies have been destroyed, too, or crippled. Record high rates of unemployment, home foreclosure, business bankruptcy, poverty, and hunger have been suffered across the rural West as our landscapes and watersheds have been abandoned and destroyed. Poverty and economic disasters follow close on the heels of the environmental ones. The land and it’s produce are our wealth, and are destroyed by catastrophic fire.

The US Forest Service has been the lead provisioner of these disasters, and is itself a wreck of an agency. It no longer cares for the land nor serves the people. No mission is evident, except for catastrophic fire and “getting the burn out.” The agency is shrinking, imploding, collapsing.

The public, especially the rural public, has lost all confidence in the USFS. The agency is no longer a presence in our communities, nor welcome. Too many have experienced tragedies and hardship because of federal incompetence at land management. The USFS, what’s left of it, has retreated to urban centers where the impacts of their mismanagement are less directly felt.

If anything I understate the scope of the crisis. I am moved by the personal tales told to me of knocks in the night, USFS employees come to burn out the residents, of burned homes and properties, of the financial, psychological, and emotional damage done, of their lost loved ones, fallen heroes and civilian victims.

I am shocked and appalled at the testimonies of rural residents beset by wolves that kill livestock and pets, and prowl backyards and school yards; human-habituated wolves dumped there by the federal government.

I have seen first hand the environmental effects: the priceless heritage living trees, dating to pre-Columbian times, destroyed by unfought holocausts in untended, forgotten forests; the streams aboil and running black with soot and ash, or buckskin brown with sediment from subsequent erosion; the charred hillsides, the skeleton forests of rotting snags; the roasted, bloated corpses of deer; the choking smoke and ash.

I have heard the chirping of the bark beetles as they infest the still-smoking former forest, en masse a tuning-fork hum in the uncanny silence of a “forest” without birds.

Who is to blame? i.e., who takes responsibility?

Nobody in particular, I guess. Nobody wants responsibility for all that, and who could blame them for shirking that much blame? It just happened, I guess. The collapse of the agency, abandonment of stewardship, and our growing crisis of megafire disasters just happened. By accident?

Okay. I give up. It’s nobody’s responsibility. That darned nobody.

On the other hand, there is that modern aphorism, “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”

Since nobody else seems to want to take the responsibility, I guess I will. Here’s the plan, Gail. Here’s how to be part of the solution:

Stop incinerating forests.

Protect, maintain, and perpetuate forests.

Care for the land, serve the people.

Stop burning the people out.

Tend the wild that was not. Learn from our ancestors.

Restore our heritage forests, savannas, meadows, and fields, and their historical development pathways.

Use prepared fire to prevent megafire.

Active management, not abandonment.

Silviculture, not wildfire.

Do it today. Do not await further instructions. Figure out how to save forests and then do it. Nobody is to blame, i.e. nobody is responsible. So take the responsibility; it’s free! Do the right thing. Save forests.

Forests: tend them or lose them.

2 Feb 2008, 9:32pm
by bear bait

I got an email anecdote today about a recent Montana, close to Jellystone, observation.

A family with sheep, a llama and a Great Pyrennese guard dog, are awakened in the night by a helluva racket, dog barking, sheep bleating, went on for a while. Well below zero, wind gusts to 80 mph, and no night to go out into to see what’s the matter. Resigned to disaster, the small landowner waited for dawn to assess his damages. He figured wolves or a big cat had been into the sheep, and the dog and llama had fought a valiant fight. He was prepared for frozen mayhem. Instead, the guard dog was walking back and forth in front of cowered sheep, the llama erect and staring. No blood, no gore, just a a mangy, hair tufted crippled wolf trying to get some respite in the dog house. Looking for a hot and a cot. Only got the cot. It hobbled off into the morning. The moral of this story is if you go off chasing wolves in the night, they steal your warm bed.

The same people report deep snows, hard, hard wolf pressure, and now they can’t leave the garage door open for too long or they’ll have mule deer sleeping in ther garage. And their buddies are huddled up against the house foundations on the lee side all day when not feeding. The deer are not only in the alfalfa field and hay stacks, they now want a piece of the game room or the garage. Old wolfie is moving the game into town or against the ranch house. Just like their advocates said they would not.

So now what do you do after a diseased wolf has spent the night in your dog’s home? Steam clean it? Burn it and get another? Certainly talk to the vet. The Jellystone wolves from the McKenzie Valley of Canada are now beginning to act like Russian wolves have acted for all of written time. The term “Wolf at the door” came from somewhere. Before spring, it will be well known why.

5 Feb 2008, 12:42pm
by Greg Brenner


Thanks for apologizing to Gail. We all knew you really didn’t mean all those vicious things you said about her, its was the policies and actions of the Forest Service you were frustrated by and angry about.

The solution is so obvious, and you state it so clearly. Why won’t Gail and the rest of the nobodies get on the stick. They ARE the responsible parties. They are not part of the solution and ARE therefore part of the problem.

I, for one, would welcome any government official stepping up, accepting their responsibility, and implementing policies that stop the destruction of our forests and end the war on rural residents.

Gail, PLEASE, step up and do the right thing. You don’t want to look back after retirement and say, “I could have been someone, I could have been a contender.” BE a contender NOW. Be a somebody, not a nobody. It’s easy; Mike has offered a clear path forward.

Mike, thanks for being a somebody. I know you are working hard on implementing the solution.

End the war on rural America. Tend our forests and stop the catastrophic fires.

5 Feb 2008, 1:11pm
by Mike

Today, Feb. 5, The Wildland Fire Leadership Council is holding another closed-door secret meeting to expand their national Let-It-Burn program. Radical holocauster BINGO’s set the agenda; the American public is excluded.

One thing is for sure, the excluded public will be blamed for everything.

*-If your home is burned down by the feds, it’s your own fault.

*-If you even own a home, you are a bad citizen and are costing the government umpteen dollars, so you should by all rights be burned out.

*-BINGO’s should own your land. You should give it to them. They will burn it down and convert it to “northern chaparral.”

*-Public forests are at risk because you drive a car. Greedy Americans and their cars made the global warming that is burning down America as well as drowning polar bears.

*-BINGO’s don’t drive cars. (They fly jets which cool the planet with condensation trails.)

*-Mother Nature’s fires (whoofoo’s) are necessary to restore our forests to a blackened, charred, and rotting condition.

*-All the prison cells holding convicted radical arsonists will be opened and the felonious firebugs freed. The WFLC has jobs for all of them.

*-Anyone who attempts to fight a fire will prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

*-The last two fires seasons, the worst in recorded history, will be celebrated. High fives and backslaps all around.

*-Large sums of money will be stuffed into the pockets of high-ranking public employees.

*-More holocausts will be planned for this year. Watch out for that knock in the night; the gummit is coming to burn you out.



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