22 Mar 2008, 7:50am
2007 Fire Season Saving Forests
by admin

Angora Fire Repercussing

The Angora Fire last June erupted on mismanaged USFS land adjacent to South Lake Tahoe, exploded into a fire storm, incinerated 3,100 acres of public forest and 254 private homes, and caused an estimated $140 million in damages.

Since then a great deal of soul-searching has gone on. The Governors of Nevada and California appointed an emergency California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission to investigate the fire and related matters, while the usual suspects and likely targets of their investigation scurried for cover.

The US Forest Service was the first to absolve themselves of blame, pointing the finger at homeowners while the fire was still burning. They followed that offensiveness with a glossy report written by Tim “Whoofoo” Sexton (the Father of Whoofoo flew out to Tahoe for some R&R, recalcitrance and recrimination). Old Whoofoo determined that the pathetic sub-merch thinning the USFS did in the Angora watershed “saved” the subdivision, even though the subdivision burned up. The Orwellian doublespeak would have made Joe Stalin proud.

Others to cover their tracks were the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA - pronounced “trippy”) and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (LRWQCB - pronounced “lackwits”). Those bleeding heart libby/fascist agencies have been monkey-wrenching every suggested fire safety measure for decades. Their mindset was that disturbing a pine needle on private land was a crime against Mother Nature, thus fueling potential holocausts all around the lake.

Supercilious BINGO-serving politicians have actually set up a program whereby the US Treasury is used to purchase building lots in the area, for the purpose of allowing them to fester in unmanaged condition. The USFS is now the confused owner of some 3,800 “urban intermix” lots, 1/4 acre mini-wildernesses in the otherwise privately-owned strip of land surrounding the lake. This useless waste of your money has created firetraps in every residential neighborhood, waiting to explode into flames. Furthermore, Trippy and Lackwits have prevented any fire hazard reduction on the “urban intermix” lots by concerned residents who were willing to do it for free, just to save their own homes from impending firestorms.

The Angora Fire finally woke the people up, and angry citizens who have had their fill of Trippy, Lackwits, and the incendiary Farce Circus, let the Governor’s emergency commission know that in no uncertain terms. After digesting months of harsh and accusatory rhetoric, last week the California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission issued 70 recommendations for rectifying the mess made by the overpaid, under-brained agencies. A spate of news stories covered the matter. Here are two:

Tahoe Fire Prevention Hurt By Infighting

By DON THOMPSON Associated Press Writer [here]

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Steps to prevent catastrophic wildfires in the Lake Tahoe basin, one of the country’s most treasured natural wonders, have been hampered for years by bureaucratic infighting among agencies that often work at cross-purposes, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

The failure of the agencies to adequately protect the basin was brought to light in June when a wildfire ripped through a thickly forested ravine and destroyed 254 homes near South Lake Tahoe.

Since then, blame has fallen on the overlapping agencies that have environmental and regulatory oversight of the Tahoe basin. A commission established after the fire was scheduled to vote Friday on a report recommending ways to heal the rifts.

The AP’s review showed just how glaring the problems have been over the years.

Using Freedom of Information laws, the AP obtained more than 4,000 pages of documents from local, regional, state and federal agencies involved in planning, environmental protection and fire prevention around Tahoe, the picturesque lake straddling the California-Nevada line.

Most of the documents covered the three years before the wildfire and reveal a tangle of agencies with competing agendas. Efforts to clear trees and brush were delayed - often for years - as agencies bickered over methods and jurisdictional disputes.

The documents also show that while the wildfire heightened the urgency to thin the forest, years of delay have left the basin ripe for a repeat calamity. …

Panel seeks emergency declaration for Lake Tahoe fire-prevention

Also by DON THOMPSON Associated Press Writer [here]

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.—A special panel created after last summer’s Lake Tahoe wildfire warned Friday that another catastrophic blaze is imminent and wants a disaster declaration to hasten fire-protection efforts.

Asking for the emergency status from the president and the governors of California and Nevada was among dozens of recommendations the panel approved.

The California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission wants the state and federal governments to free up money quickly, primarily to cut thick stands of trees. …

The report of the California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission is [here] (3,227 KB).

My take on it is that there are some good recommendations, some kind of mushy, and a lot missing. For instance, I would have headquartered Trippy and Lackwits in fire lookout towers, and converted their current plush digs into fire stations. But I don’t live there, and so do not wish to impose my common sense on the residents. They are going to have to hoe that row by themselves. But I do wish them the best of luck and no more holocausts, and hope that someday they hire a professional forester who knows what he’s doing to help them restore their forests.

22 Mar 2008, 9:52am
by Tallac

What I found lacking in the commission report was the fact that no heads are going to roll for incompetence, or more bluntly, sheer stupidity that got us to where we were in June 2007. Or even where we still are almost a year later.

The old dogs may never learn the new tricks the commission recommends. Some are set in their ways, and probably will never acknowledge that they were wrong in the first place.

But hey, I’ll accept a sincere public apology from the willing for a start. Then hope we can move on to finally implement what is sorely required as soon as possible and before it’s too late again.

22 Mar 2008, 10:50am
by Backcut

Compare this situation with the Sequoia National Monument plans that were proposed and litigated (and lost). The media always calls it “the pristine Jewel of the Sierra”. Apparently, they didn’t see the stumps from the clearcutting during the Comstock Lode era, or they don’t know the real meaning of the word “pristine”.

I’ve watched the Tahoe Basin with great interest since I started my Forest Service career as the Martis Peak lookout, high above the northern shore. I lived there as a ski bum through most of the 80’s and then saw the massive bug kills into the 90’s. So many of those dead trees never got harvested and still await the next lightning strike, careless camper, or arsonist to destroy another big chunk of Tahoe.

Any management plan that cuts merchantable trees will be met with legal opposition. That will extend any “Emergency Plan” for several more years. I’ll bet that they end up “stealing” funds from other National Forests to pay for stopgap measures in the LTBMU (not actually a National Forest). They did just that for projects around Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, on the San Berdoo.

22 Mar 2008, 10:51am
by Backcut

Oops….forgot the spam!

New pics on my blog from my “working vacation” in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks!



web site

leave a comment

  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta