6 Apr 2008, 12:46am
Federal forest policy
by admin

WFLC Stages Bloodless Coup — America To Be Incinerated

On March 24th the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) held a conference call meeting in which they adopted new “anything goes” rules for Let It Burn fires.

The WFLC is the Federal Advisory Committee that oversees firefighting on Federal land, including USFS, BLM, NPS, USFWS, and BIA [here]. The March 24 meeting notes are [here].

Five unanimous decisions were made during the conference call meeting. First, any fire can be a suppression fire and a whoofoo at the same time. The fire can be suppressed over here and let burn over there.

Wildland Fire Leadership Council Meeting — Conference Call Notes, March 24, 2008

Actions and Decisions

TOPIC: Modifying Guidance for Implementation of Federal Wildland Fire Policy (AMR)

1. Current Direction: Only one management objective will be applied to a wildland fire. Wildland fires will either be managed for resource benefits or suppressed. A wildland fire cannot be managed for both objectives concurrently. If two wildland fires converge, they will be managed as a single wildland fire.

Proposed Direction: Wildland fires can be managed for one or more objective(s) based on the Land/Resource Management Plan direction.

DECISION: No objections – the WFLC approved new direction unanimously.

The new direction means the fire managers can be flexible about where they suppress and where they don’t. This is tantamount to a half-assed approach. The only criteria is that they have a policy known as “Appropriate Management Response” or AMR in their Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP). This is one of the purposes of the change in the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF LRMP proposed March 5th [here] and commented upon by W.I.S.E. [here]

Second, any wildfire can be declared a whoofoo (Wildland Use Fire or Let It Burn fire) at any time, even if it has previously been declared a full suppression fire. The old direction stated that once suppression actions started on a fire, that fire had to be suppressed. Now fire managers can change their minds and Let It Burn.

2. Current Direction: Once a wildland fire has been managed for suppression objectives, it may never be managed for resource benefit objectives.

Proposed Direction: When two or more wildland fires burn together they will be handled as a single wildland fire and may be managed for one or more objectives based on the Land/Resource Management Plan direction as an event moves across the landscape and fuels and weather conditions change.

DECISION: No objections – the WFLC approved new direction unanimously.

If a national forest or BLM district responds to a lighting-ignited fire and starts to suppress it, the managers may now decide call it quits and send the fire crews home. Anything goes.

Third, the former process of evaluating wildfires (known as Wildland Fire Situation Analysis or WFSP) has been abandoned and a new process (known as Wildland Fire Implementation Plan or WFIP) has been adopted. Previously fire managers evaluated conditions and fuels to determine the number of firefighters and equipment they might need to suppress a fire. Now they will evaluate the option of letting the fires burn.

Fourth, a brand new system that doesn’t exist yet will be implemented (known as Wildland Fire Decision Support System or WFDSS).

3 and 4. Current Direction: The Wildland Fire Situation Analysis process is used to determine and document the suppression strategy from the full range of responses available for suppression operations. Suppression strategies are designed to meet the policy objectives of suppression.

Wildland fire use is the result of a natural event. The Land/Resource Management Plan, or the Fire Management Plan, will identify areas where the strategy of wildland fire use is suitable. The Wildland Fire Implementation Plan (WFIP) is the tool that examines the available response strategies to determine if a fire is being considered for wildland fire use.

Proposed Direction: Every wildland fire will be assessed following a decision support process that examines the full range of responses. The system currently being developed and prototyped is known as Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS).

DECISION: After discussion the WFLC adopted new direction unanimously.

This bureaucratic gobbledygook means that fire managers no longer have to document their decisions. Anything goes, and no paper trail will be left behind for post-fire reviews. As long as AMR is in the LRMP, fire managers can wing it. They no longer will be required to evaluate suppression needs. They can respond to the fire in any fashion they choose, and a decision system that does not yet exist will cover their butts later.

Fifth, when a prescribed fires or whoofoos blow up and rage beyond predetermined Maximum Manageable Areas (MMAs), the fire managers can readjust the MMA boundaries on the fly.

5. Current Direction: When a prescribed fire or a fire designated for wildland fire use is no longer achieving the intended resource management objectives and contingency or mitigation actions have failed, the fire will be declared a wildfire. Once a wildfire, it cannot be returned to a prescribed fire or wildland fire use status.

Proposed Direction: Once a prescribed fire is no longer meeting those resources objectives stated specifically in the prescribed fire plan or project level NEPA and is declared a wildfire it receives the same reassessment and selection of response objectives as any other wildfire event given the location, current conditions (fuels, weather, etc) and identified management considerations.

DECISION: After discussion, the new direction was approved contingent upon favorable counsel review. The results will be presented at the June meeting.

That is exactly what happened on the Warm Fire (2006) on the Kaibab NF. The Warm Fire was declared a whoofoo and the MMA was adjusted four times as the fire expanded beyond the boundaries. In other words, the defacto policy has now been made official.

Every one of the five decisions made by the WFLC on March 24th violates NEPA, the ESA, NFMA, and NHPA. No environmental impact statements were called for, and no NEPA process will be conducted. The WFLC directed that major Federal actions be implemented without any evaluation of the consequences to endangered species, watersheds, airsheds, local economies, public health and safety, environmental justice, or any other likely impacts or effects on the environment.

No notice was was posted in the Federal Register. No opportunity was offered for public comment or involvement. The deal was done over the phone in the complete absence of any controlling legal authority.

The end result will be that Federal employees will destroy millions of acres of public forests and ranges via Let It Burn catastrophic fires without even a nod towards the environmental laws of this country.

The WFLC has been under the thrall of big, international non-governmental organizations including the Nature Conservancy and the Wilderness Society. Neither the citizenry nor our elected representatives were in any way involved in the decisions. There is a good chance that your representatives do not know about the new firefighting directives, much less understand their import or illegality.

Let It Burn has become the new guideline of Federal agencies in defiance of the law and our democratic system of government. The outcomes will be horrendous. Kiss your favorite forests, wildlife, watersheds, and communities goodbye. Kiss your Constitutional rights goodbye. A bloodless coup has taken place in the U.S.A. and catastrophic fires will be implemented this summer by the new unelected Powers That Be.

6 Apr 2008, 6:00am
by Joe B.

Ask Idaho about the dual purpose - attack and let it burn idea. They shot a watergun at the flames for about half a day (less than $80,000 in retardant used for the initial attack), then proceeded to spend about $85 million on two fire complexes that totaled about 600,000 acres of destruction. Other fires brought the total area of devastation to 800,000 acres. It’s funny that when you go back to look at the final costs of these fire complexes, the cost figures are suspiciously missing from the final reports, though they were listed during the event. As if to say, look we just watched 300,000 acres burn up and it only cost us $32 million, or hey, we just watched 302,000 acres burn up and it only cost us $51 million. Look at how fiscally responsible we were. The exact same amount of forest would have burned up had you not been there at all. Sure some subdivisions and towns didn’t completely get incinerated, just got surrounded by wasteland.

They said the fires were too remote to fight, yet the area of devastation is easily viewed from all road systems in central Idaho. Forest on both sides of the roads out here devastated for miles and miles. Some of the roads are completely paved, too, yet these fires were alleged to be too remote to access. Two fires I know of started within a short distance of a road. A water tender truck and a hose could have stopped one fire that was the size of an SUV when it was reported by a person driving by (but it wasn’t a priority until later when it was uncontrollable). Another fire started on the hillside overlooking a popular lake with a fine trail leading right up to it. It didn’t start as a 300,000 acre fire; no, it took two months to grow that big.

All you ever heard during the beginnings of these fires was how great it is that the forest is burning. Yet, when you point out year after year that these forests would benefit from mechanical thinning projects, you are labeled an enemy of the forest, the environment, indeed an enemy of wildlife, mankind, the earth.

And I don’t remember anyone asking to clearcut 800,000 acres of forest. I don’t remember anyone advocating destroying every tree in a drainage so it could blow out the following spring. And that’s what happened and will happen with last year’s fires.

The fires did have a sense of humor though. They did point out the bureaucratic ineptitude when one fire managed by another complex decided to burn through the incident command center of the other fire complex. And still the fire managers didn’t get that what they were doing was wrong.

And people directly affected by these fires had a polarized dichotomy of thoughts racing through their brains. One the one side, they were making up signs, posting web tributes (as an aside, if people would please stop it with mixing firefighter photos and various popular songs that mention the word hero I know I would be grateful, maybe find some songs that mention appropriate management response and tweak the tributes for accuracy sake) and thanking the firefighters in person, all the while they were outraged by the managers who kept the firefighters from doing their jobs.

6 Apr 2008, 8:31am
by Mike

The fire managers knew what they were doing. They burned central Idaho on purpose, on behalf of their BINGO bosses and in defiance of good stewardship.

Every single one of them is a traitor to this country, a traitor to forests, and despicable piece of sub-human filth.

The USFS has been taken over by arsonists hell-bent on burning America to the ground out of sheer hatred for the U.S.A. and for Americans.

The “resource benefits” lie is so obviously a lie that it ranks up there with any Big Lie that Hitler ever told.

Patriotic Americans should be outraged and rise up and kick the WFLC terrorist-arsonist scum out of this country today.

Enough damage has been done in prior years. The madness has to stop. Catastrophic holocaust and the destruction of the American landscape is an ongoing horror that must be halted.

The war on terror is not in Iraq. It is right here in the USA. The enemy is not radical Islam; it is radical pseudo-environmental arsonists in the highest ranks of the USFS, BLM, NPS, USFWS, and BIA.


6 Apr 2008, 3:23pm
by Mary M.

Must be grand to be successful in getting your policies and free reign instituted in such a way that you no longer have to concern yourself with pesky notions like saving forests and their critters or humans and their communities. And to think the forest service is set to train people from other countries how to ‘take care’ of their forests and rural people as well.

6 Apr 2008, 3:35pm
by Mike

Nor do they concern themselves with the law. When gov’t employees violate the law with impunity, the legal fabric that binds this country is shredded.



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