24 Aug 2008, 9:55pm
by admin

Gunbarrel Goes Gunnybag

The Gunbarrel Whoofoo Fire has blown up. The northern Wyoming “Wildland Fire Used For Resource Benefit” is no longer benefiting resources apparently, and the Shoshone NF has bagged the Let It Burn Plan.

The Gunbarrel Fire was ignited by lightning east of Yellowstone Park on July 26. Shoshone NF Supervisor Becky Aus, pictured [here], decided to Let It Burn in a grand but totally illegal whoofoo. As of midnight Saturday the Gunbarrel Whoofoo had consumed 50,000 acres and $6.5 million of the taxpayers’ dough, but what’s more interesting is the fire is now bearing down on 420 residences, 11 commercial buildings, 149 outbuildings.

Airtankers and helitankers are attempting to slow the growth in the eastern portions of the fire. High winds may ground the air attack Monday, however. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for high winds and low humidities.

Just last week fire managers and USFS officials were gushing all over themselves for their new fire philosophy. From the Cody Enterprise [here]:

The Shoshone Forest is poised to implement a new firefighting philosophy that says there’s more than one way to manage a single blaze. …

During a meeting with the public last week, Gunbarrel Fire Incident Commander Don Angell told North Fork cabin owners and year-round residents they have the “largest wildland use fire in the history of the Rocky Mountain area.”

Mapped at more than 41,000 acres, the Gunbarrel Fire drew the interest of six officials from the forest’s regional office in Denver.

Shoshone District Ranger Terry Root said the half-dozen top officials, which included Deputy Regional Forester Tony Dixon, came to Cody Tuesday to observe the fire and the way Angell’s team was handling it.

That’s because his team is on the cusp of a philosophical transition in firefighting the Forest Service plans to make by next summer, Root said.

Instead of being merely “suppression teams” of various levels, whose only purpose is to stamp out all forest fires in the true Smokey Bear tradition, every firefighting group in the future will be more oriented to multi-tasking, Root said. …

Stepping back and allowing forest fires to clean out dead and dying trees is known as “fire use” or “beneficial use,” Root said. …

Shoshone Forest Supervisor Becky Aus agreed that “fire management is changing,” adding, “In my view, that’s a good thing.”

Change will be nationwide, but the Shoshone is on the cusp partly through luck and partly through management, she said. …

Aus said the Shoshone paved the way for this thinking in June by amending its Forest Plan to allow wild fires outside wilderness areas to burn once all conditions had been evaluated.

“We’re ahead of the curve” in that, Aus added.

She said the Gunbarrel “has been an exciting fire to deal with” because of the learning curve that has gone into its management.

And partly through gross malfeasance and criminal avoidance of the National Environmental Policy Act. The Shoshone NF did not prepare any Environmental Impact Statement or engage the public prior to making the decision to apply their “new philosophy.” They simply declared that Burn Baby Burn was “beneficial” and sat back on their fat cans while the Gunbarrel Whoofoo fire ripped through public forest unimpeded.

The fire could have been contained, controlled, and extinguished for pennies in July. Now the forest is destroyed, unknown $millions will be spent, and hundreds of homes could be incinerated.

No word yet on evacuations.

The crackpots at the USFS are engaging in illegal holocausts to the detriment of forests, communities, and the US Treasury. The USFS Fire Budget is already hundreds of $millions in arrears and active management has been shut down nationwide. That happened before Becky, Don, and Terry declared their whoofoo. No matter, burn baby burn is the new philosophy.

It’s sure bet that Becky, Don, and Terry won’t be reimbursing the US Treasury for their criminal SNAFU, nor will they be reimbursing the homeowners and private landowners who get burned out. The Federal Government holds itself harmless for major disasters our public servants instigate.

The original intent of the Gunbarrel Whoofoo was to burn 416,112 acres! That’s 650 square miles of land, both public and private. But now they have called it quits at a mere 50,000 acres. And just a day or two after breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for their criminal idiocy.

What, you may ask, has the USFS been drinking? The answer is that the Wildland Fire Leadership Council has been on the take from The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy. TWS and TNC bought seats at the WFLC and paid off the heads of the USFS, BLM, NPS, BIA, and USFWS. Then the WFLC ordered every National Forest and BLM District in the country to alter their Fire Plans, illegally, and incorporate Whoofoo as the Prime Directive.

The very same BINGO’s that routinely sue to enjoin the USFS for every pro-active fuel reduction project have taken over the outfit in Washington DC and are busy incinerating our federal lands with impunity and in direct contempt for the very laws they routinely sue under.

Right? All the suits are NEPA suits (and APA suits, the Administrative Procedures Act) but they encourage, collude, bribe, and extort our federal land management agencies into gross, arbitrary, and capricious violations of those exact laws, with supremely malicious intent.

I have written at length about eco-Nazis and their arsonistic ways. Every day reality confirms my words. The latest catastrophe disaster on the Shoshone NF is just the most recent manifestation. Last week it was the Bridge Creek Whoofoo in Oregon. In June it was the Clover Fire in California. Last year it was central Idaho and Montana. The year before that it was the Kaibab NF in Arizona. And there are dozens more I could name.

Illegal, arbitrary, and capricious megafires that are being perpetrated on our forests, homes, and communities by a federal government run amok, totally corrupted, and at war with the citizens of this country. GW Bush is not the anti-terrorist President; he is the chief terrorist waging war on America today. Mark Rey, Gail Kimbell, Becky Aus, the US Congress, and all the rest are insane generals and lieutenants in a terrorist war being waged against us, the citizenry.

The wholesale destruction of our public and private assets and resources done in an illegal fashion by our own public employees is a horrendous thing. I suggest that as patriotic Americans we must speak out against these travesties.

To remain silent any longer is unacceptable. I am tired of putting my name and reputation on the line alone. I call upon the Society of American Foresters and every other professional environmental organization to step up and be heard. Now.

This is your country, those are your forests, that is your government, too.

Enough is enough.

25 Aug 2008, 8:22pm
by bubba69

The fire could have been stopped for pennies …!?? Mike, you obviously have no clue how much these fires cost to fight and what it takes to fully control a fire.

I could give you some concrete examples of what helicopter time, crews, catering etc… cost but I’ll let you figure it out.

Of course, all this matters only IF you can get a type 1 or 2 crew, helicopters etc…

Check some numbers and get back to me ….

25 Aug 2008, 9:06pm
by Mike


I have been tracking fires all year. The stats I have been collecting include daily costs of suppression. I have posted those stats on a daily basis for over 200 fires this year. If you would like to educate yourself regarding the costs of fire suppression, I suggest you study the thousands of entries at W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking.

Yes, fires can be expensive. But they are more expensive when fire managers wait for weeks until the fires blow up to mega proportions and threaten private homes. Or when the choice is made to extend fires for months with extensive backburning. Those are the fires that consume a million dollars or more per day, day after day for weeks on end.

The Gunbarrel Fire will end up costing well over $10 million in fire suppression costs alone. It could have been contained early on for a few hundred G’s. Admittedly, “pennies” was an exaggeration, but comparatively the Gunbarrel Fire will now cost 20 times what it could have cost had it been attacked aggressively early on.

Furthermore, at the time the decision was made by Becky Aus to Let It Burn, the USFS had already exceeded its fiscal 2008 fire budget by $400 million. USFS programs throughout the system have been curtailed, including fuels management. There is now a shortage of investment in the very thing that reduces exorbitant fire suppression costs.

Penny wise, pound foolish is the catch phrase that applies. The Shoshone NF “saved” on the cost of aggressive initial attack and now will spend itself into insolvency to stop a megafire. And that does not include the extensive damages to public and private resources and assets or the costs of rehabilitating 50,000+ acres. The Gunbarrel Fire was supposed to “benefit” resources but no cost/benefit analysis was ever done. The Shoshone NF adopted Let It Burn without that analysis, or any other analysis, or any public review. Now they have spent themselves into oblivion and expect the landowners, the American Public, to bail them out of their foolishness once again.

I am tired of being ripped off. I am tired of having my forests incinerated at huge and unnecessary expense. I am tired of being excluded from any and all discussion of how my forests are managed.

You may think of yourself as some sort of expert, Bubba, but in fact your expertise pales in comparison to mine. Furthermore, I am willing to speak out against waste and corruption, and stand behind my words. You can’t or won’t, Bubba, which is not your real name but the fake name you hide behind because you are ashamed of your real one.

25 Aug 2008, 10:22pm
by Mike

Gunbarrel Fire update Aug 25, 2008 1800

Size: 53,960 acres
Personnel: 250
Costs to Date: $6,988,000

Fire growth should be extreme for the next 24 hours. Fire is highly active on both ends of the incident, potential fire growth and increased demands for aircraft has prompted the need for a type one IMT. Team was ordered last night and Paul Broyles’ Type 1 IMT will be in-briefed in the morning in Cody, WY.

Observed Fire Behavior: Red Flag Warning will increase fire behavior this evening, over night and up to 1800 tomorrow. Fire is running up unburned stringers on the west side with spotting and back activity. Fire activity is increasing in the Trout Creek area. Fire is slope and wind driven with spotting, running and backing.

26 Aug 2008, 7:48pm
by Mike

Gunbarrel Fire update Aug 26, 2008 1800

Situation as of 08/26/08 5:30 PM
Total Personnel: 349
Size: 55,471 acres
Percent Contained: 13%

Costs to Date: $7,603,000

Two lodges remains on stage one evacuation notice; fire has backed down toward the management action point, burn out operations are underway. Structure protection evaluation and actions in Trout Creek and Rattlesnake drainages.

Broyles IMT1 is shadowing today Hahnenberg FUMT and will assume command at 0600 on Wednesday.

Red Flag Warning in effect until 9 PM this evening and from 12 PM to 9PM MDT Wednesday.

From W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking [here]

27 Aug 2008, 6:22pm
by Mike

Gunbarrel Fire update Aug 27, 2008 1800

Situation as of 08/27/08 5:30 PM
Total Personnel: 364
Size: 57,384 acres
Percent Contained: 13%

Costs to Date: $7,800,000

A red flag warning was issued from 1200 hrs to 2100 hrs today.

Fire, pushed by 40 mph sustained winds out of the west and northwest, caused extreme fire behavior, with spotting up to 0.5 miles on the east end of the fire.

Broyles IMT1 assumed incident command at 0600 hrs. today. Heavy helicopters were used in support of structure protection operations in Divisions X and W until they were grounded by high winds around noon.

28 Aug 2008, 8:28pm
by Mike

Situation as of 08/28/08 5:30 PM
Total Personnel: 569
Size: 59,147 acres
Percent Contained: 16%

Costs to Date: $8,085,000

Heavy helicopters were used in support of structure protection operations in Divisions B,C,X and W. Retardant plant established to support suppression efforts.

No explanation for the decline in acreage.

Another Palouser (late summer Northern Rockies windstorm) is expected Saturday or Sunday.

1 Sep 2008, 10:41am
by Mike

Update Monday morning:

Situation as of 08/31/08 4:00 PM
Total Personnel: 338
Size: 61,923 acres
Percent Contained: 70%

Est containment date: 10/15/08

Costs to Date: $10,300,000

Single and group tree torching with minimal fire movement. Continue equipment recovery and rehab fire lines. Monitor fire activity. Continue to demob toward smaller Type 3 organization.

2 Sep 2008, 4:57pm
by Mike

Update Tuesday morning:

Situation as of 09/01/08 4:00 PM
Total Personnel: 164
Size: 67,141 acres
Percent Contained: 78%

Est containment date: 10/15/08

Costs to Date: $10,500,000

Acre increase due to inclusion of large unburned affected area within fire perimeter that had previously been excluded from the totals.

Fire received 1/2 inch of precip last night with snow above 7,500 feet. On and off rain during the day today. Broyles IMT1 transitioning with Type 3 organization for transfer of command on Tuesday, 09/02/08 at 1800 hrs. Continue to demob and dismantle and remove Gunbarrel ICP.

5 Sep 2008, 7:42pm
by YPmule

Moving an ICP in and out of a fire is very expensive - and they do this every 14 days or so. These giant Management Circus Camps are huge; some come with semi trailers and large yurts, computers, printers, etc. The amount of waste from the kitchens alone would be enough to feed our village. Every 2 weeks the ICP changes, and every one gets to learn a new place, a new fire all over again. Its like musical chairs.



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