31 Mar 2008, 7:59am
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin

W.I.S.E. Comments to the RR-SNF on AMR and WFU

On March 5th the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest issued a Notice regarding their intent to add WFU (Wildland Fire Use) in the guise of AMR (Appropriate Management Response) to their FMP (Fire Management Plan) portion of their LRMP (Land and Resources Management Plan). We discussed this previously [here].

In short, the RR-SNF wants to do whoofoos, i.e. Let-It-Burn fires. When lightning ignites a fire next summer on the RR-SNF, the fire dudes there will not do initial attack, or if they do, it will be half-hearted. They will not put any serious effort into containing, controlling, or extinguishing the fire, but instead will just let ‘er rip.

Chances a better than good that their whoofoo will explode into a firestorm and burn half a million acres or more. There is a likelihood that their whoofoo will burn out of the mountains and down into the valleys where ranches, farms, and rural homes will be destroyed in the inferno. There is every reason to believe the RR-SNF whoofoo next summer will make it all the way to town, and Medford, Grants Pass, and/or Ashland will be incinerated.

You see, it happened before. In 2002 the RR-SNF had a Let-It-Burn fire called the Biscuit Fire. The Biscuit Fire burned half a million acres, including over 100,000 acres of prime spotted owl habitat (50 known nesting sites were destroyed). After it burned the entire Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area, the Biscuit Fire kept going (imagine that!) and came raging down on the communities of the Illinois River Valley in a 12-mile-wide front.

The USFS had earlier decided not to do initial attack, and to just Let-It-Burn. Their excuses were that no firefighters were available during the summer fire season, and that it would be too expensive and a waste of money to fight the Biscuit Fire when it was small. But when the Biscuit Fire came roaring down upon the communities, the USFS realized that it would be bad form to burn out whole cities.

Every firefighter in the state and then some were called in (it turned out there actually were firefighters available). While radical arsonist wackos staged anti-firefighter demonstrations off to the side, the USFS threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Biscuit Fire. Grants Pass and Selma were saved, but it cost a pretty penny. In the end $150 million was spent on fire suppression on the Biscuit Fire, the most expensive fire in U.S. history.

But no lessons were learned from that experience. Now the RR-SNF wants to do it again! In fact, they want to permanently enshrine whoofoos in their Fire Management Plan. It’s Madness Motors time at the RR-SNF!

The Western Institute for Study of the Environment has prepared Comments to submit to the RR-SNF, as is our legal right to do. We post a link to those Comments [here]. Warning, the W.I.S.E. Comments to the RR-SNF are 168 pages long and 2.65 MB, so be prepared to wait a bit while they download.

In our Comments we explain what the RR-SNF is up to, what an AMR is, and what a WFU is. We explain how NEPA processes work, or are supposed to work, when a Federal agency proposes a major action that will have significant effects on the environment. We list all the Threatened and Endangered species that will be impacted, and the Historical and Cultural resources that will be destroyed by RR-SNF whoofoos. We explain how the watersheds and airsheds will become fouled by ash and smoke, and how public health and safety will be compromised. We discuss the impacts to recreation, scenery, and local economies. We explain how the impacts will be “cumulative” over time.

It’s a lot to read, 168 pages, but to be comprehensive we are also submitting an Appendix with 100+ supporting documents. The Appendix is over 400 MB, so we won’t be posting it here. If you would like to have that, please email us your address, and we will send the whole package to you on CD, for FREE!!!

The W.I.S.E. Comments to the RR-SNF has pictures, too, photographs of the effects of unrestrained forest fires, just in case the words don’t deliver the message completely.

Preparing the Comments has been a big job. We still have some final steps to take this week. When we get past this preparatory stage, we will have more time to discuss the Comments and the situation in greater detail. Many of the supporting docs will be posted, one at a time, in our Colloquia. There are some original papers in that bundle that have not been seen before, so there is much to look forward to.

I’m off to the print shop to get the hard copy prepared for the RR-SNF. Your digital copy is available above, free for the download. Please enjoy!

1 Apr 2008, 11:48am
by Forrest Grump

Verrrry impressive. I think what I will do is pick one or two main points and then “concur” with the WISE comment in order to establish “standing.”

1 Apr 2008, 2:05pm
by Mike

Better hurry. Comment window closes Friday.

1 Apr 2008, 2:20pm
by Bob Zybach


This is an incredible effort, particularly given the tight time frame and limited resources with which you and Dr. Brenner have had to work.

I am pleased to see that you have used a fair amount of my own research, findings, and opinions in this effort, and hope they may be of some benefit.

You have gone to great effort to bring cutting-edge science and agency accountability to the issues surrounding federal management of western forests the past few years and deserve much credit for your work.

Best wishes for this latest effort, and please keep up the good work, good humor, and scathing indictments that characterize all else you do on behalf of our forests.

1 Apr 2008, 4:28pm
by Mike

We rattled their cage. It remains to be seen whether we rocked their boat.

The point of all this is to prevent another BISCUIT FIRE, which is exactly where they are headed if they don’t turn the boat around.

1 Apr 2008, 5:07pm
by bear bait

Mike: I assume the response is in pdf format of some kind, and if so, it really should be sent to the newspapers in every town in range of any fire of either of those two National Forests… maybe to the county commissioners in Jackson, Josephine, Curry, Douglas and Klamath counties… to DeFazio, Walden, Wyden and Smith… maybe the northern caleeeforneeea House member from that empty district… city councils… and just tell them they can tag onto your position… if only to be a blocker for a while until they fully comprehend what the Piss Fir Willys really want to do to the local landscape.

The worst idea ever was to let every acre not of National Park quality become unmanaged public domain. It screwed local governments out of tax revenues. It limited the places people can be housed. It limited commerce just by the regulations and maze that “civilians” have to navigate just to do business around the perimeter of those welfare lands, let alone transport something through them. Roads, communication lines, pipelines, all that kind of stuff has to go around or share increasingly narrower rights of way. Now to have them be burned because the auditors think that is the cheap way out is just insane. Those are the people who think no private property should be occupied in a 30-mile band around public land’s perimeter. That is back to the spotted owl habitat rules. Which limited what you could do on private property, but allowed the USFS to burn that very same habitat by planned neglect. Somehow that has a criminal stench to it. But since trees have no value if burned on public land, ergo habitat has no value either. Hence, the plan to burn it all, sooner rather than later. We has lost our minds.

1 Apr 2008, 5:28pm
by Spud in SD

OMG… I was kidding around but this is f***ing insane.

Why not propose we destroy nuclear missiles through natural means (i.e. explosion) at least 50 miles from populated areas due to the known beneficial impacts of loud noises, extreme heat, long-term radiation exposure, and overall death and destruction on all living creatures and the environment in which they reside?

1 Apr 2008, 5:29pm
by Mike

Or burn down San Diego every four years in the name of “old-growth” chaparral and “urban wilderness.” Don’t you know what the acadumbos at UCLA and Jerry Moonbeam Med-fly Took Too Much Acid and Never Came Down are up to?

You are their target, Einstein. They hate you, for a variety of reasons, many quite reasonable. But besides that, they are indeed criminally insane.

No Touch, Let It Burn, Watch It Rot, No Regrets = NTLIBWIRNR, pronounced “nut lib wieners”

Did you think those fires in your neighborhood were accidents? Do you think they are done with that sh**?

When I told you I was trying to save the world, did you think I was talking about bugs and bunnies?

No my friend. I was talking about you and yours, as in your ass, amigo.

1 Apr 2008, 5:36pm
by Mike

I’m on it, bear bait. I think I’ll send the CDs to them postage due, though. They have deep pockets. Mine have nothing but lint.

1 Apr 2008, 7:31pm
by Spud in SD

Not that I disagree with you, but what in your estimation are the reasons they hate me?

1 Apr 2008, 7:32pm
by Mike

Oh, come on man. All the usual. You own a home. You own and drive a car. You are not on welfare. You are a heterosexual, white male. Is there anything more vile? You are monotheistic and try to follow the Ten Commandments, like don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t commit adultery. Do you think they do?

You use resources like water, air, and wood products. In fact, with every breath you take you exhale carbon dioxide, which they see as pollution even though all Life depends on it, since CO2 is the vital component of photosynthesis. You warm the planet by your very existence, or so they say, even though there has been no appreciable warming in ten years and the last three months have been the coldest in decades globally. Not to mention that warmer is better.

So you must have your landscape incinerated, for the good of the planet, and your home burned down in a government-induced megafire, although when it happens they will blame you.

But this digression is not germane to this post. Right now we are trying to save Southwest Oregon from further Biscuit Fires. Yes, it’s all connected, as in connect the dots, but one egregiously insane governmental atrocity at a time, please.

Mike, I may have overlooked it (if so, please forgive), but would you please post a very visible press release of this amazing gem of a CD/comment on your home page (both W.I.S.E. and SOS Forests)? Something that really catches the eye and compels each and every visitor to your site to LOOK and READ!

In a decade of property rights research, I have never read anything that was so riveting, so full of knowledge, so difficult to stop reading and taking in with the eyes the forests in before-and-after photos.

Regarding the CD, there is no way I can do it justice by just mentioning its title: “Comments to the Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest regarding “Appropriate Management Response.” I realize that the “burn, baby, burn” policy has been around for some time, but this Environmental Assessment (EA) by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest puts the ball in our court — we can be David to the Forest Service’s Goliath!

It is so much, much more than just comments on those two forests. If you know a forester who’d plug in the CD and become energized and empowered to help make a difference — because these comments seek to force the Forest Service to do an Environment Impact Statement on its “let it burn” policy on all of America’s forests — please let me know. I’ve always loved wood and the many ways in which its uses positively impact our lives, economy, custom and culture, but this is the first time in my life that I have a serious tool by which to learn so much more about helping our forests keep from burning to a crisp!

When in our lives a door of opportunity opens/beckons, we’d be fools not to step through. Send Mike a donation and help him get these CDs out to the right hands (county commissioners, foresters, concerned & savvy citizens, etc.) not just in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, but also nationwide.

YES! It IS that important!



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