8 Jun 2010, 10:54am
The 2010 Fire Season Useless and Stupid
by admin

Defective Beyond Repair

It’s fire season again. We are again attempting to track fires at W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking [here]. It’s time consuming and difficult because the information is not readily available.

It is also discouraging. Our mission at W.I.S.E is to bring some sanity and science back to public forest management. But in tracking fires we encounter all too often the gross incompetence of our public land management agencies.

Fires are where the rubber meets the road. One might expect the Federal Government to make every effort to apply professionalism and competency to firefighting, since so much is a stake: lives, resources, etc.

Nope. It’s a zoo. And in reporting fire information on a daily basis, we encounter the worst of that zoo. For example, just today:

Aspen Fire

Location: 30 mi NE of Silver City, Gila NF, Grant Co, NM
Specific Location: Black Canyon Ck, ~8 mi W of Reeds Peak, Lat 33° 9´ 35″ Lon 107° 58´ 16″

Date of Origin: 06/06/2010
Cause: Lightning

Situation as of 06/07/2009 1:00 pm
Personnel: 0
Size: 400+ acres
Percent Contained: 0%

This is the unexpurgated report:

Fire growth from medium smoke to 150 acres in 3 hour timeframe. Today all resource left the fire line due to rapid growth of the fire. Fire estimated to be up to 400 acres. Exact fire size unknown, no personnel on scene.

This portion of the report was apparently written by someone without a spellchecker and to whom English is challenge:

Inc Obj Plan stratagies and tactics to maximize the protection of natural and cultural resources including the populations as well as their critical habitats. The resources include cultual, Gila Trout, Mexican Spotted Owl, and wilderness resources. Inc Obj Plan and implement stratagies and tactics that provide for firefighter and public safety. Ensure that all resssources know how and when they will engage and disengae for the assigned tactics and sitiation. Inc Obj Ensure the timely dissemintatin of information both internally to the District, Forest, and Geographic areas and externally to state and local government officials and contacts. Inc Obj Motorized equipment use in the Wilderness must be request and approved through the District Ranger. Inc Obj Place a high priority in the protection if private property, Forest infrastructure including campgrounds, trailhead and adisistrative sites, and range improvements.

It’s hard to imagine the type of personnel to whom critical resources are entrusted on the Gila NF. The firefighters have departed the scene for parts unknown and left someone with a 3rd-grade education in charge.

That does not inspire trust or confidence in the US Forest Service. Is this a professional organization or what?

Note [here] that in 2004 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared 8.6 million acres of critical habitat for the Mexican Spotted Owl, despite the acknowledged fact that on most of that ground there are no owls. The designation, however, placed onerous burdens on landowners and leaseholders, taking their property without compensation. The courts have upheld the takings, but the truth of the matter is the Federal Government does not give a damn about Mexican Spotted Owls. They routinely incinerate vast acreages that Mexican Spotted Owls do, in fact, occupy.

They burn the habitat with impunity, idiocy, and incompetency. It’s an in-your-face injury on top of insult. The Feds will steal your property, pay you nothing for it, and then destroy it, with morons at the helm.

This is going to go on all summer. If you read the reports every day, as we do, and read between the lines — tracking costs, blow-ups, injuries, fatalities, evacuations, homes burned — you will begin to get a feel for what Let It Burn looks like, and why they do it.

The main reason is, and this is the truth, is that the Federal Government is barkingly incompetent. They can’t do anything right. Most of what they do is chatter, red tape paper shuffle, which is largely the creation of excuses for their crapacitude and inability to accomplish their real missions, whatever those are.

Do you want the Feds to save endangered species? They can chatter about it and pass paper, but they can’t do anything real about it. Do you want them to put out forest fires? Plug oil leaks? Defend the border? Provide health care? Fight wars? Balance the budget? Do you really expect your Federal Government to make a difference, to display competency in any endeavor?

It’s discouraging, as I said. They can’t tie their own shoes. They can’t find their backside in a snowstorm. They can’t pick their own noses. You name the metaphor of fumble bumbling — the Federal Government fits it to a “t”.

It’s not the people who work for the government. I know many Federal employees and ex-employees. They are quite competent people. They are intelligent, resourceful, and caring. They do their best. It’s something else that causes the Federal Government to run haywire, something intrinsic to the beast, a defect beyond repair no matter how skilled the surgeons.

I don’t know the solution, except perhaps dissolution, of the Federal Government. Take away their funds, their buildings, their property, their toys, and learn to live without them. Self-reliance is an American tradition. We need to revive it.

8 Jun 2010, 1:20pm
by Mike

I’m sorry to sound bitter and perturbed, but gimme a break.

There’s a fire on the Gila. The firefighters failed in the initial attack, so they just left. There is private property in the vicinity, and cattle on the range. Allegedly, I can’t say for sure, there is critical owl habitat in the vicinity. The fire is blowing up.

Given all that, there is no report on Inciweb, and a pathetic one at the Gila NF website. The statements on the fire report are a garbled mess. The Gila NF Supervisor, Dick Markley, District Ranger, Al Koss, and information specialist, Annette Grijalva-Disert, evidently don’t give a hangnail how they appear to the public. They are too “busy” to issue any kind of careful, sensible report.

They are not too busy to buy up private land for “protection” of the critters. They are not too busy to promote wolf-dog depredation on other wildlife and livestock. They are not too busy to whine at length about “fire safety” and shake their fingers at the neighbors who are less than “firewise” according to the Gila folks.

But they are too busy to issue any kind of decent reports about their fire blowing up in the “protected” habitat.

So I assume the worst. Is that unfair? What else to I have to go by but their garbled mess of a fire report? Those people are paid too much and have too much responsibility to throw out garbled messes regarding large fires on the public lands we have entrusted to them. Either do the job or get off the pot.

8 Jun 2010, 1:46pm
by Mike

There’s a lot of hoorah and palaver about “transparency” in government. It seems to me that the FIRST item to be transparent about is fire.

The WFLC wants to adopt “Leave Early or Stay and Defend” (your own property by yourself) as the National Fire Policy. But that policy will fail tragically if there is NO NOTICE of the approaching fire, as was the case in Australia in February of last year.

Coastlines get tsunami warning sirens, but rural residents don’t even get a decent fire report over the Internet. The proposed Policy is not going to work if the critical information is not forthcoming.

Which is to say, it’s not going to work. The Federal Government is incapable and incompetent at something so simple as issuing timely and accurate public safety warnings. And at everything else they do or attempt to do.



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