13 Feb 2008, 10:16pm
Federal forest policy
by admin

Flaws in the GAO Fire Report

The United States Government Accountability Office issued a report on wildland fire management, GAO-08-433T [here], and presented it in testimony before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives yesterday.

There are numerous flaws in GAO-08-433T.

1. The report considers only the budget funding for firefighting, not the financial losses from forest fires.

The “cost” of a forest fire is much, much more than the dollars spent on suppression. Any competent accounting MUST include the losses associated with the fire.

The GAO are accountants, right? It’s in their name. They seem clueless about basic accounting, however. If one of the GAO accountant’s home burned down, you can bet your bottom dollar they’d hound their insurance company for the funds to restore and replace their home. They would not request merely that the fire department get suppression funding.

This is so basic that their complete blindness to fire losses defies explanation.

When New Orleans was flooded by Katrina, did the government worry merely about the cost of evacuating the city? No, they allocated billions to rebuild the place.

But when a forest burns down, do they consider for one minute the losses associated? Heck no. And when Federal fires jump off the Federal Estate and burn down ranches, farms, homes, and other valuable privately-owned assets, does the Federal government give a flying donut? Heck no. Nobody gets reimbursed if their home happens to be in the path of a Federal holocaust. It’s just too bad, so sad, it’s the homeowner’s own fault for even existing, and the Federal government remits ZERO to repair the damages they cause.

In fact, the GAO blames private homeowners for upping the firefighting costs!!!

Their thinking is: if the citizenry did not exist, and/or lived in some other country, then the Feds could save a bunch of money by not fighting fires at all. The attitude of the GAO is that American taxpayers are a big pain in the government’s butt.

This attitude is so objectionable that one wonders whose side our government is on. Certainly not the side of the citizens who butter their bread.

The GAO hates Americans and wishes to burn us to ashes. Nice.

2. The report fails to consider the damage wildfires do to government land, too.

Massive catastrophic fires over the last 20 years have decimated watersheds, forests, and habitat across tens of millions of acres. Does the GAO give a bleep? Heck no. In fact, they extol the wonderfulness of holocausts:

Although its effect on communities can be devastating, wildland fire is a natural and necessary process that provides many benefits to ecosystems, such as maintaining habitat diversity, recycling soil nutrients, limiting the spread of insects and disease, and promoting new growth by causing the seeds of fire-dependent species to germinate. Wildland fire also periodically removes brush, small trees, and other vegetation that can otherwise accumulate and increase the size, intensity, and duration of subsequent fires.

That is eco-babble nonsense. Pure poppycock. Absolute crap. Utter BS from urban bean counters that know absolutely zip about forests, fire, or ecosystems (and they don’t even know how to count beans).

The GAO cannot demonstrate their idiotic contentions with any factual accounts. They are just pulling it out of their hats. The truth is the opposite. Wildfires kill plants and animals and destroy ecosystems. They do not provide “ecosystem benefits.” Controlled fires sometimes do, but wildfires never.

Of course, that kind of of twisted thinking breeds whoofoos. The GAO is all hot for whoofoos. There is not one acre of forest, public or private, that the GAO doesn’t want to whoofoo.

What’s next, National Whoofoo Day? Shall we throw some American flags into the National Whoofoo, too. Why not? The GAO and their running dog agencies whoofoo spotted owls, Kalmiopsis salamanders, cockaded woodpeckers, and any old endangered species whenever the impulse strikes them.

We have some laws in this country that do address ecosystems, such as the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Those laws are violated with impunity by our national land management agencies when they torch millions of acres every year.

Evidently the GAO has never heard of those laws, or else has decided that a pusillanimous statement in an incompetent accounting report trumps all of them. What jerks!!!

The truth is, those laws have been used by eco-litigious groups to stop hundreds of Healthy Forest Act projects. The GAO report recommends that fuels be managed better, but is utterly clueless about why very little fuels management is occurring.

It’s because of the ESA and NEPA lawsuits, you morons.

Thankfully from the GAO’s perspective, whoofoos trump all the national environmental laws, too.

Do you really want to save some dough? Try fixing those horribly destructive laws! ESA and NEPA are TOXIC to wildlife and wildlife habitat, and they are costing us tens of billions per year in ecosystem destruction. Catch a clue!!!

3. The report refers in title and content to “wildlands.”

What in the frigging hell are those? The word “wildland” isn’t even in the dictionary! When did the Public Estate get re-designated as “wild.” Is that in some law I missed? Heck no. They are spouting eco-babble again. The GAO goes so far as to declare private lands with homes on them as “wildlands.”

As we have noted, protecting the increasing number of homes in the wildland urban interface at risk from wildland fire has contributed significantly to the increased cost of managing wildland fires.

Wildland fires are burning homes that have been built in the “wildlands” or else right next door in the whooie. You goddamn Americans are still pioneering the wilderness. Your home is in WILDLANDS, buddy. It’s all wildlands. Wild and crazy.

Even in the middle of platted cities like San Diego!!!!!

Damn you stupid Americans. Don’t you know how wild this place is? Or what a wonderful thing the Wild is? How dare you build a home to shelter your family on your own private property? Don’t you know the gummit plans to burn you out of there, for the express purpose of making your property part of the Great American Wilderness once again?

Save the polar bear: burn down ten thousand homes!

Maybe we should declare Washington DC a wilderness and burn it to the nubbins. Why not? The GAO thinks their purpose in life is to burn down America on the cheap. Let’s start with their homes and offices. Here comes the “wildland” fire, Robin. Better run like hell.

4. Our government is run by arsonist nutballs.

Yes, Virginia, it’s true. The U.S. Government is whacked out and on a kick to depopulate the nation through holocaust. Need we repeat all the horror stories? Is there any doubt in anybody’s mind anymore?

I boor of the GAO. Let’s bunch that outfit. Kick them to the curb. Maybe they had some useful purpose at one time, but they have failed so miserably to do anybody any good that they need to be downsized to nothing, or less.

13 Feb 2008, 11:49pm
by Mike

I’d like to drag those sorry sacks at the GAO out to one of their precious whoofoos. We can set up an accounting ledger and tote up all the resource “benefits.”

The gummit wants to “save” money by banning homes on private property. They want to “save” the “wilderness” by burning hundreds of millions of acres of private and public land in unfought (read deliberate) holocausts.

The gummit spends nearly $2 billion a year to burn down roughly 10 million acres. We can’t have that. What a waste of money that could otherwise be spent building McMansions for GAO officials. Let’s burn 100 million acres a year for free!

These are the same bozos that want to cripple the economy because of Algore’s global warming hoax. How much will that cost?

Wait. According to the bozos, forest fires contribute to Al’s global warming. Their plan is to save $2 billion per year creating greenhouse gases that cost the economy $10 trillion per year. Now that’s creative accounting!

14 Feb 2008, 10:09am
by John M.

Mike, The GAO report is another example of urbanization of America, and probably reflects the attitude of too many Americans. Out of sight, out of mind. During last summer’s burning of the West I saw not one cry of concern in the media from any big time “conservation” group about the destruction of watersheds, wildlife habitat, salmon spawning beds, health problems from wildfire smoke, or any other issue they pretend to care about.

I haven’t a clue how the urban public and our “conservationists” can be made to understand that their children and grandchildren’s future is being compromised by this blindness to the terrible long term consequences of burning the land. In a world chewing up natural resources at an unsustainable rate, such blindness can be terminal.

14 Feb 2008, 11:36am
by Mike

Not enough money in the national kitty to fight fire?

Try this: ban all aid to cities, shut down the military, nix the space program, zero out 5 or 6 cabinet-level departments, and downsize DC to a skeleton crew.

If we don’t fight fire, then what’s the point of anything else? How are burnt-out citizens benefited by a government that burns them out?

14 Feb 2008, 2:20pm
by Bob Z


Thank you for a voice of reason in the Orwellian anti-logging, anti-business, and anti-American world that parades itself as “conservationist,” “ecosystem management,” and “conservation biology.” The sad truth is that much of their “eco-babble,” as you most reasonably term it, has degenerated into actual law over the past four decades, and has been both created and exploited by “environmental” lawyers and “forest scientists” that have been more than willing to sacrifice rural American lives and resources for their own selfish purposes: whether it is for academic tenure, local or national notoriety, or simply ill-gotten financial gains provided by the very taxpayers they have betrayed.

Some may say that you are undermining your message by being outrageous, but I would argue that your language and methods are a natural and reasonable result of being outraged (and for just cause) in the first place. Our more complacent and mannerly cohorts have been satisfied to sit by and politely fiddle as our forests have burned, and they are as much a part of the problem as the sick leeches that have personally and directly benefited from these events.

Catastrophic forest wildfires are both predictable and preventable — and with great benefit to America when such actions are taken — as you have consistently pointed out in your blog postings and other communications. Keep up the good work, and don’t give an inch. These sick bastards need to be identified, held accountable, and somehow neutered before more damage is created. I don’t know how, either, or it would have been done by now. Too much is at stake. Giving up is not an option.

14 Feb 2008, 8:05pm
by Mike

The incompetent GAO report, like the incompetent USDA OIG audit of a year ago, asserts some total canards about forests and fire. In the interest of educating the public about the real truth, I break down their ridiculous assertions one by one;

Although its effect on communities can be devastating, wildland fire is a natural and necessary process that provides many benefits to ecosystems, such as maintaining habitat diversity,

Wrong. As Dr. Stephen Pyne, World’s Foremost Authority on Fire, puts it, “fire synthesizes it’s surroundings.” That mean fires burns the whole ecosystem and reverts forests to dead zones across vast acreages. It all looks the same after a a fire: blackened, burned, dead. Instead of habitat diversity, fire produces habitat singularity. Where once a variety of plants and animals occupied a variety of niches, after a catastrophic fire there is only one niche and a paucity of plant and animal species.

Habitat diversity is not only not enhanced; it is destroyed. Take any burned forest and count the species per unit area. Before the fire there was diversity; after the fire there is none.

recycling soil nutrients,

Wrong. Fire coverts nutrients to smoke and ash which exit the burned area in big clouds and soapy runoff. The nutrients came into the forest via tree roots. After the trees are dead, their roots no longer dissolve and transport nutrients to the surface from bedrock. Fire depletes nutrients and halts the nutrient capture pathways.

Wildfire destroys soil microorganisms, glazes soils, and causes increased erosion. Soils are badly damaged by wildfire, and often end up in streambeds.

limiting the spread of insects and disease,

Wrong. Fire attracts insects, especially bark beetles. Even the unburned trees die in the infestations that follow fires.

Living root systems repel saprophytic fungi; dead root systems invite fungal infections and harbor root diseases for decades.

promoting new growth by causing the seeds of fire-dependent species to germinate.

Wrong. Living trees put on new growth every year from below the ground to the tops of trees towering in the air. Often the former forest was rich in old-growth species such as ponderosa pine that had been growing for hundreds of years. After the fire, pioneer invaders such as lodgepole pine replace the ponderosas. Lodgepole germinates in thickets of thousands of stems per acre. I’ve seen post-fire lodgepole thickets 50 years old and waist-high. They don’t grow, not much, and then the next fire roasts the dwarf stands.

Wildland fire also periodically removes brush, small trees, and other vegetation that can otherwise accumulate and increase the size, intensity, and duration of subsequent fires.

Wrong. Wildfire synthesizes it’s surroundings. All the vegetation dies, not just the brush. Big trees torch, sear, and get scorched to death. After wildfires brush sprouts like mad. Fine fuels accumulate again at an increased rate. Within 5 to 15 years a new fire hazard is created, with plenty of dead, fire-cured large fuels to burn along with the new fine fuels. Subsequent wildfires denude landscapes and convert forests to permanent fire-type brush.

The cascade of lies emanating from the arsonistic know-nothings is offensive. No GAO accountant has a clue how forests respond to wildfires. All the propaganda they spew is scientifically false. The falsehoods are promulgated to bolster their arsonist agenda. Big lies are spread to cover up their lust for destruction.

I know the truth. So do thousands of real forest experts. The GAO, OIG, and other bureaucratic twits are liars. Their eco-babble is a pack of lies. They cannot be trusted in any of their utterances, because they have established that they lie their heads off whenever it suits them.

Is that harsh? Did I hurt someone’s feelings? The GAO are promoting the destruction of my forests. In my book they are they harsh ones. And they hurt a lot more than feelings. They lie in order to destroy tens of millions of acres of priceless, heritage forests. That’s unforgivable in my book.



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