23 Sep 2010, 5:08pm
Federal forest policy
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Request For Scoping Comments On USFS Fire Retardant Use

Fire Retardant Scoping Letter [here]

United States Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Sept. 3, 2010

Dear Forest User:

As someone who previously expressed an interest in the nationwide aerial application of fire retardant on National Forest System lands, I invite you to submit comments about this proposal and its anticipated environmental effects. I have included information about the proposal and where to send your comments. [see below]


The Forest Service is working to restore fire-adapted ecosystems through prescribed fire, other fuel treatments, and effective management of wildfire to achieve both protection and resource benefit objectives. However, in some circumstances, fire must be suppressed. For example, it might be necessary to suppress a fire to protect life or property or to preserve natural resources and critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. Fire retardant is one of the tools to suppress fires.

Aerially applied fire retardant reduces the spread and intensity of fires and slows larger, more damaging, and thus, more costly fires. In many situations, using retardant to fight fires is the most effective and efficient method of protecting people, resources, private property, and facilities. Sometimes it is the only tool that will allow fire fighters to accomplish the job safely.

In October 2007, the Forest Service issued an environmental assessment (EA) and decision notice and finding of no significant impact (DN/FONSI) entitled “Aerial Application of Fire Retardant.” In February 2008, the Forest Service amended the DN/FONSI by incorporating the reasonable and prudent alternatives proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries during the consultation process prescribed by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision included the continued use of the “Guidelines for Aerial Delivery of Retardant or Foam Near Waterways” (2000 Guidelines) adopted by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service in April 2000.

On July 27, 2010,the United States District Court for the District of Montana issued a decision in Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics v. United States Forest Service, 08-43 (D. Mont.) that invalidated the Forest Service’s decision to adopt the 2000 Guidelines based on violations of NEPA. The Court also held that the FWS and NOAA Fisheries’ Section 7 consultation with the Forest Service violated the ESA. The Court directed the Forest Service, FWS, and NOAA Fisheries to cure these NEPA and ESA violations and for the Forest Service to issue a new decision no later than December 31, 2011.

Estimated Dates

The draft environmental impact statement (EIS) is expected to be available for public comment early in 2011 and the final EIS is expected to be completed by the fall of 2011.

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22 Sep 2010, 9:36am
The 2010 Fire Season
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Utah Wildfires As Seen from Space

by Robert Quigley, Geekosystem, September 22, 2010 [here]

NASA has taken some remarkable pictures of Utah’s fires. Above, the Twitchell Canyon fire as photographed by the Expedition 24 crew aboard the International Space Station… [more]

21 Sep 2010, 10:11am
The 2010 Fire Season
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Let It Burn Fire Updates

The Twitchell Canyon Let It Burn Fire [here, here, here, here] is now over 33,000 acres [38,644 acres as of 9/22]. Interstate 70 is open intermittantly. The power corridor that parallels the Interstate remains threatened and the power is off. Over 500 firefighters are battling the fire, which is reportedly 15% contained. Great Basin IMT2 (Whalen) has taken over fire management from Great Basin IMT2 (Ourada). Ten $million have been spent on “suppression” and “monitoring” to-date.

The Twitchell Canyon Fire has been burning since July 20th (two months ago). The stated purpose of allowing the fire to burn was “to manage the fire for a scenic vegetation mosaic effect”. High elevation mixed conifer forests and brush have been consumed. Extremely high fire intensities have been observed, with flame lengths over 200 feet.

The Sheep Let It Burn Fire [here, here] is now over 7,500 acres (3,078 acs Kings Canyon NP - 4,484 acs Sequoia NF). The fire crossed Lightning Creek on 9/13/10, and is showing approximately 150 to 400 acres of growth per day. Burnouts are underway on the south side of the fire.

The Sheep Fire has been burning since July 17th (over two months ago). The stated purpose of allowing the fire to burn was to achieve “ecological benefits of fire in the Sierra Nevada”. $1.2 million has been spent “monitoring” the fire which began in Kings Canyon National Park but spread to the Sequoia National Forest. Trails are closed. Air pollution has been extensive. Heritage giant sequoia groves are threatened.

Neither of these fires had any sort of NEPA process. No Environmental Impact Statements were prepared. No public review or collaboration was performed. Etc.

The Scenic Vegetation Mosaic Effect

The Fishlake NF offers a novel reason for their Twitchell Holocaust By Idiots Fire [here, here, here]. In numerous pronouncements the USFS claims their purpose in incinerating 20,000+ acres is:

“to manage the fire for a scenic vegetation mosaic effect”

Yup. It’s for the scenery — the old “Blackened Dead Forests Are Beautiful” campaign cooked up by the Wilderness Society on behalf of the Wildland Fire Leadership Council.

Just in case you don’t know what high severity fire does to the viewshed, here are some pics of other “successful” Let It Burn Because It’s So Lovely Projects inflicted on America courtesy your Helpful Federal Bureaucracy.

The esthetically pleasing aftermath of the 2007 Let It Burn fires in Central Idaho.

More of the same.

The beauteous Zaca Burn (2007, 240,000 acres, Los Padres NF).

Scenic splendor of the B&B Burn (2003, 90,000 acres, Deschutes NF).

More of the same.

Evidently the USFS has adopted the position of Cascadia Summer, a Eugene “environmental” organization affiliated with Earth First! and the Oregon Natural Resource Council (now Cascadia Wild). In their own words [here]:

Last week [one week before the pictured B and B Fire was ignited] Cascadians paid a visit to the Clark Fire which burned 5,000 acres near Fall Creek earlier this summer. The area is still off-limits to the public, but we wanted to get a first-hand account of just how bad it was… so we quietly hiked in after crossing the stream a ways before the road-block.

The forest looked amazingly beautiful… stark contrast to the lush green forests we were used to seeing along Fall Creek, but beautiful nonetheless. Ferns had already begun sprouting back up through the ash. Scorched Doug Firs and cedars sparkled in the sunlight.

Yes, sports fans, the Federal Gummit wants to beautify your neighborhood and your watershed by turning it into a moonscape. It’s a stark contrast, but what the hey. The Scenic Vegetation Mosaic Effect is all the rage among the arsonist set, and it’s now the Official Mission of the USFS. Gaze in awe at your Gummit in action.

18 Sep 2010, 4:23pm
Climate and Weather
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Alaska Not Warming

by Ken Schlichte

A recent article in the Tacoma News Tribune quotes an ecologist from the University of Alaska Fairbanks as saying Alaska temperatures will increase by 11 degrees F by 2100 and turn interior Alaska into prairie.

Warming Could Turn Interior Into Prairie, UAF Scientist Says

AP, Tacoma News Tribune, 09/18/2010 [here]

“The projected warming of the planet could give Fairbanks the same weather as the midwestern Canadian prairies, according to a University of Alaska Fairbanks professor.

Rich Boone, an ecosystem ecologist at the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, used the climate around Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as an example of what might be in store for Alaska’s Interior, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Fairbanks faces a roughly 11-degree temperature increase by 2100 if moderate climate-change models are used, Boone said during a talk Wednesday.

If that happens, the Interior no longer will be characterized by permafrost and boreal forests, he said.

“That’s very realistic,” Boone said. “We’d be in a zone that would potentially be prairie.”

Models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict worldwide temperatures will increase by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit during the next century. Arctic regions have been warming at roughly twice the rate of other parts of the globe, Boone said.

Based on indicators that include ice cores, tree rings and other data, Boone said the only other known period of such rapid change was the end of the last ice age about 12,000 years ago.

Earth’s climate has been remarkably stable during the past 1,000 years, he said, allowing humans to develop reliable agriculture and the civilization that accompanies it.”

The UAF professor suggests that Fairbanks faces a roughly 11-degree temperature increase by 2100, but the Alaska Climate Research Center figure (below) and their discussion of it indicates that Alaska had a large temperature increase in 1976 due to a phase shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and since 1977 little additional warming has occurred in Alaska.

Mean Annual temperatures departure from “normal” for Alaska, 1949-2009

Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index, 1925-2010

From the Alaska Climate Research Center:

Considering just a linear trend can mask some important variability characteristics in the time series. The figure at right [1st figure above] shows clearly that this trend is non-linear: a linear trend might have been expected from the fairly steady observed increase of CO2 during this time period. The figure shows the temperature departure from the long-term mean (1949-2009) for all stations. It can be seen that there are large variations from year to year and the 5-year moving average demonstrates large increase in 1976. The period 1949 to 1975 was substantially colder than the period from 1977 to 2009, however since 1977 little additional warming has occurred in Alaska with the exception of Barrow and a few other locations. The stepwise shift appearing in the temperature data in 1976 corresponds to a phase shift of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation from a negative phase to a positive phase. Synoptic conditions with the positive phase tend to consist of increased southerly flow and warm air advection into Alaska during the winter, resulting in positive temperature anomalies.

The professor’s statement that the earth’s climate has been remarkably stable during the last 1,000 years also conflicts with the significant temperature decreases that occurred between the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age and the significant temperature increases that have occurred since the Little Ice Age.

Note: It should also be considered that prairies are not wholly the result of temperature in that they occur across a wide range of climatic zones. There are prairies in Amazonia, for instance. Prairies result from very frequent fire in low rainfall regions. And sometimes high rainfall regions. There are remnant prairies in coastal Washington, for instance, where it rains buckets (see [here]). Much study has revealed that anthropogenic (human-set) fires have driven prairie formation and maintenance worldwide during the Holocene. - Mike Dubrasich

Doghair and Elk

Foresters call them doghair thickets. The 9th Circuit Court calls them “elk habitat”.

If you have ever seen a thicket with 3,000 stems per acre, you know why we call it doghair. But our esteemed Federal Judiciary is as stupid as ticks.

9th Circuit blocks Gallatin forest logging project over elk concerns

By the Associated Press, The Missoulian, September 17, 2010 [here]

HELENA - A proposed logging project in the Gallatin National Forest would remove too much vegetation that elk use for cover from predators, a federal appeals court ruled in blocking the project.

The U.S. Forest Service must revise the proposal to thin trees over 810 acres in the Crazy Mountains to ensure it meets the elk hiding cover requirement that is detailed in the plan for the forest, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling Wednesday.

Two environmental groups and a woman who owns a cabin in the area where the logging was to take place sued the Forest Service over the Smith Creek Project, which was meant to reduce the risk of severe wildfires that could threaten about 30 nearby homes and cabins.

The plan called for removing conifers near aspen trees to promote the growth of aspen groves in some areas, while thinning trees in other areas from densities of up to 3,000 trees per acre to between 300 and 500 trees per acre. …

The lawsuit, filed in 2008, claimed the Forest Service didn’t take into account the effects the work would have on the soil and wildlife habitat.

The plaintiffs appealed, and the 9th Circuit agreed with one of their claims: that the project would remove too much cover that migrating elk use to hide from predators and feel secure. …

Elk are fine out in the open. They do not feed or hide in 3,000 stems per acre lodgepole pine thickets where nothing else can grow. Or move.

The trees to be removed can hardly be called “logs”. They are more like whips. So the removal can hardly be called “logging”. It’s more like “whipping”.

Since when do the enviro-litigious care about elk anyway? Other than as wolf chow?

Some great comments were attached to the article:

… the same lobby that opposes the logging on the grounds that it’s bad for elk probably also supports wolf reintroduction, which is bad for elk. Judges, lawyers, and activists all determine the fates of these animals and their surroundings quite independently of facts.

… one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Rebecca Smith, is the very same tree-sitter who was convicted of illegally holding up a Forest Service sale in the Bitterroot a few years ago. She was convicted by a jury and part of her sentence was to stay off of any Forest Service lands. Now she is using her law degree for her personal vengeance… all at we the taxpayers’ expense. The MT Bar Assoc. should disbar her.

… This was a thinning project done cooperatively through a Community Firewise Program, and lots of local public comment. I wish the Missoulian had mentioned that. The project prevailed through Molloy’s court too. But heck no… one part-time resident and two conflict-based “non-profits” get to monkey-wrench the whole thing.

… This is ridiculous. This woman with the cabin will be crying later to the FS to save her cabin when a fire in bearing down on it. Besides, a stands with 3000 tpa don’t benefit anything. That’s too thick for anything but a squirrel to squeeze through.

I don’t know how to fix this set of problems: enviro-nut jobs with law degrees, a Judiciary with no common sense, a Federal Government with too much land and money, a Congress that represents the most anti-social elements in society, a citizenry at the mercy of all of them.

If you have any solutions, please send them in. I give up.

Letter to the Salt Lake Tribune Re the Twitchell Canyon Fire

Dear Sirs and Madams,

Your reportage of the Twitchell Canyon Fire leaves out some important facts and context.

The Twitchell Canyon Let It Burn Fire has been burning on the Fishlake National Forest since July 20th [here].

It was declared a Let It Burn fire from the get go, without any NEPA process or public oversight. In the words of the USFS:

The fire is being managed for multiple objectives, which included providing for the safety of the public and firefighters, to increase structural diversity in forest and shrubland ecosystems through use of fire, reducing fuels in a mosaic pattern to effectively manage future fires, and to manage the fire for a scenic vegetation mosaic effect in the Manderfield Reservoir viewshed.

Get that? The “purpose” of this wildfire is to create a scenic “mosaic” of incinerated forest with “structural diversity”. Those are environmental “objectives” but without any sort of environmental analysis or EIS as required by law.

A barebones crew of 26 were assigned to “monitor” the fire. They watched while the fire grew and grew. By August 14th the fire had grown to 4,128 acres and a real fire crew was called in. Over 200 personnel fought the Twitchell Fire for a week, but then they went home. By August 26th the fire was 4,508 acres and a “monitoring” crew of 20 was all that were left. By that date $2.5 million had been spent to “achieve objectives”.

On Sept. 3 the Twitchell Fiasco Fire blew up to 5,400 acres. Two days later the fire was 7,000 acres and the Kimberly Mining District was evacuated. The Great Basin Type 2 Incident Management Team was been called in. $3.2 million had been spent on “suppression” by that date.

Again, no effort was made to contain the fire, but it settled down at around 11,000 acres on Sept. 7. For a week. Then on Sept. 14 it blew up again. As of last night the fire was over 20,000 acres and was impinging on I-70 and the adjacent power line corridor.

Over $6 million has been spent not suppressing this Let It Burn fire to-date. Aerial firefighting has been undertaken with the attendant ratcheting up of costs.

Rather than “creating a scenic mosaic” the fire has displayed flame lengths of over 200 feet. Historically high ERC’s (Energy Release Components, an index that measures fire intensity) have been recorded. This fire is burning VERY HOT. It is not a lazy or light “mosaic” burn. It is total incineration. Nothing is left alive withing the perimeter, animal or vegetable.

Numerous historical structures have been burned. More are threatened. I-70 has been closed. Smoke has poured to points east for two solid months.

The watershed being incinerated contains a number of reservoirs. $Millions are being spent to turn that watershed into a moonscape. Flash floods are sure to follow this winter. The government functionary directly responsible is Fishlake NF Supervisor Allen Rowley. No NEPA process was followed. This Let It Burn fire is patently illegal.

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15 Sep 2010, 1:58pm
Private land policies
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Shrooming in Oregon

Correspondent and innovative tree farmer Jose Javier of the Navarre region in Northern Spain asks (in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Innovative Tree Farming [here]) about inoculating Douglas-fir with truffles for commercial harvest.

I know that commercial harvest of wild mushrooms of the morel and chanterelle varieties can be a lucrative business here. But I don’t know about truffles.

If you have expertise in these matters and have knowledge you can contribute, please join the discussion [here]. Thank you.

15 Sep 2010, 10:43am
The 2010 Fire Season
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Too busy to blog. Back soon. — Mike

PS — If you want to write an appropriate essay, go ahead. Send it in. I’ll post it.

PPS — Still tracking fires at WISE Fire Tracking. The Sick Twitch Fiasco Let It Burn Fire has blown up to 17,891 acres [here]. That’ll teach those Utahans a thing or three about complaining about the FEDERAL GOOBERMENT! Burn you whiners out!

The Dimmest Bulbs in America

As we stumble into the Voting Season, it behooves us to remind the American People that your vote is important. You get to select the next gaggle of morons who will drive the country off a cliff.

It is an honor as well as a Big Responsibility. No ordinary morons will suffice, but you already know that. The American Electorate has chosen some incredible morons in the past, and they will again if history is any guide.

One especially stellar achievement of our Congress of Morons is the banning of the incandescent light bulb. It’s “lights out” for America, thanks to the head bangers who inhabit our Capitol Building.

Why did they do it? Why did Congress ban light bulbs but not computers, for instance, or televisions, or electric razors? Out of all the myriad electrical appliances in the culture, what is so special about light bulbs?

Nothing really, but they are symbolic. Light bulbs symbolize intelligence, and if there is anything that Congress lacks, it’s that commodity. By banning the light bulb, Congress is telling America: “We are complete morons without a clue, but we’re in charge and can make you huddle in the cold and dark if we feel like it.”

Pundit Caruba takes a swing:

Turning Off the (Incandescent) Light of Liberty

By Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, September 12, 2010 [here]

What if the government banned air conditioning? What if flat-screen televisions were determined to use too much electricity and were ordered phased out of production? What if the use of all plastic grocery bags were banned? What if the incandescent light bulb, one of the greatest inventions of Thomas Edison in the 1870s was banned? Oh wait, it has been banned!

In a nation where the Medicare “reform” requires Americans to purchase health insurance they may not want and may not be able to afford, was rammed through Congress, what can stop the government from dictating just about any choice you have regarding any purchase you make? The answer? Nothing.

Only it would no longer be a Constitutional government, a nation of laws that reflect anything resembling the truth. The ban on incandescent light bulbs turns off the light of liberty throughout America.

Here are some truths to keep in mind. (1) Carbon dioxide (CO2) along with other “greenhouse gas emissions” does not cause global warming. (2) There is no global warming. (3) The Earth has gone through known warming and cooling cycles for millions of years. (4) The Earth is in a cooling cycle.

(5) Beginning January 1, 2012, government rules will make it impossible to purchase a 100-watt incandescent light bulb. After that, in time, all such light bulbs will be phased out leaving Americans with only dim, over-priced, mercury-filled light bulbs. And (6) they will be made overseas, primarily in China.

By 2012, by order of the government, Americans will no longer be able to purchase any incandescent light bulbs. Why? Because Congress banned them, citing the need to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” to reduce global warming that isn’t happening.

It’s the same Congress that had already determined how much water your toilet can use to flush. It’s the same Congress that determined “cafe” rules that determine how many miles per gallon your automobile must achieve. It’s the same government that requires ethanol be added to gasoline, thus reducing the mileage a gallon of adulterated gasoline can produce, while also driving up the cost of gasoline as well as of corn, a food product, used to produce ethanol.

It’s the same Congress that has blessed a Renewable Electricity Standard that requires utilities to use electricity produced by wind and solar power even though both sources also require 24/7 backup by traditional coal-fired, natural gas, or nuclear plants because they cannot be relied up to generate electricity in a predictable fashion or during periods of peak capacity.

It’s the same Congress that initiated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two “government entities” that purchased the sub-prime mortgage loans that banks and mortgage loan firms were required to make to people who clearly could not afford to replay them. The result is the financial crisis that occurred when those “bundled” mortgages turned out to be “toxic”, worthless paper sold to investment firms and banks as assets. … [more]

Yet the redolent Caruba is not telling us anything we don’t already know. Excuse me Alan, but most Americans are quite aware that Congress in general and their own representatives in particular are babbling idiots. Dangerous babbling idiots. Criminally insane babbling idiots. We know that.

But we keep on electing the worst and the dimmest. America seeks out the stuttering nincompoops and most clownish citizens and props them up as our “leaders”. Look at Al Franken for instance — or not, the view is distasteful in the extreme. Or at any of them. The dumbest people in America serve in Congress. Elections here are like reverse IQ tests.

The lights went out in Congress long ago.

Once in awhile some normal citizen, with a normal IQ, will get so excited at the claptrap-icity of Congress that he or she will offer themselves as candidates. It is admirable but also slightly embarrassing. You have to go to these people and tell them thanks but no thanks. You are normal. We only elect the severely brain damaged. You don’t qualify, being of sound mind.

Ban the Bulb. Where did they come up with that? Has there ever been a more deluded group of humans in history than our Congress?

No, there has not been. Our Congress is special. We know it, we like it, and we are going to keep it that way.

Vote Moron. It’s the thing to do.

11 Sep 2010, 8:42am
In Memorium
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Whatever Anguish of Spirit It May Cost

by Patrick Henry

From His Speech to the Virginia House of Burgesses March 23, 1775 [here]

It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it. …

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

About Patrick Henry [here]

Spotted Owl Screw Job Redux

The 2010 Draft Revised Revised Revised Revised Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl is now out for your inspection and comments [here].

From: US Fish and Wildlife Disservice

Date: Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Title: Draft Revised Recovery Plan available for Review

Description: The Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl is available for public review and comment and can be downloaded by clicking the link below. This file is large (6.24 MBs) so it may be slow to open. Emailed comments can be sent to: NSORPComments@fws.gov. Written comments should be submitted to: Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE 98th Avenue, Ste. 100, Portland, OR 97266. For additional information go to http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo

The newest edition of this endless bucket of crap, confusion, and destruction is 181 pages long. That’s not much, considering the USFWD has had 20 years to write it. Here’s a partial timeline:

1990 - the spotted owl was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as threatened.

1994 - The catastrophic failure known as the Northwest Forest Plan is signed by you guessed it, Al Gore. It is to be a substitute for the statutorily mandated recovery plan.

1994 through 2006 - Spotted owl populations crash, old-growth forests are incinerated, rural economies crash, Congress and USFWD sits on their fat asses doing nothing.

2006 - Formation of 12-member multi-agency, multidisciplinary Recovery Team made up of non-experts with extreme political leanings.

2007 - Draft Recovery Plan #1 published. It flops like a fish on the deck.

2008 - Yet another “expert” panel work revises #1, comes up with Draft Recovery Plan #2.

2009 - Obama Admin in the person of Ken “Mr. Tamper” Salazar flushes #2 down the toilet, claiming the Bush Admin “tampered” with it.

Feb 2010 - USFWD begins a new process by gathering more political extremist wackos together. Public shut out, as usual. Climate change is their new mantra.

Sept 1, 2010 - A district court judge orders Salazar to complete a revised recovery plan within nine months or else. The “or else” part is a joke. Everybody has a good laugh.

Sept 8, 2010 - Draft Revised Recovery Plan #3 released for public comment and peer review.

What do you know? They had something or other in the files, waiting for the judge to order them to release it.

The gist of #3 is that after 20 years, the “experts” don’t know how many owls there are, where they live, what they eat, or anything else. Another 30 years of study is required and, oh yes, another $175 million in funding for the USFWD.

Part of that is to pay “bird biologists” to ride around in pickup trucks blasting barred owls with shotguns “like a redneck sport”. Which is already underway. Duck and cover, here comes a “bird biologist” with a loaded shotgun.

Meanwhile 25% of rural Oregon is on food stamps, all the mills are shuttered and most dismantled, the schools and roads are crumbling, the counties are bankrupt, and the people are angry as bees at the gross pusillanimity of the rapacious functionaries working for the USFWD and their radical Marxist buddies.

But what the hey. Here’s another Hoax Plan. They yearn for your comments. Please study it up and send them some. Any comments sent to SOSF will be posted. Thank you for your patience. Have a food stamp while you’re waiting.

Enviro-Extortion Is the New Game


It is no surprise that there is a big difference between legal requirements, radical opinion, political power, private extortion… and then there is the rest of the story.

With regard to the payment of attorneys’ fees to radical environmental groups, radical opinion and political power seem to often win and legal requirements are ignored. In fact, political power supporting radical opinions forced payment of at least $4,697,978 in taxpayer dollars to 14 environmental groups in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

Political power payments for radical opinions happens 21% of the time when attorneys’ fees are paid.

And then there are the cases where these same radical environmental groups are extorting millions from major corporations and local governments as payment to drop appeals and protests. For example, recently Western Watersheds Project (“WWP”) and Oregon Natural Desert Association (“ONDA”) extorted $22 million from El Paso Corporation to drop their protests of the Ruby Pipeline project. In another case, the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”) extorted almost $1 million from Alameda County, California to drop its protests to a City’s approval of a residential and commercial development project. The general theme is that money changes hands, development moves forward and the taxpayers and consumers get stuck with the bill.

The story goes like this:

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8 Sep 2010, 12:43pm
Climate and Weather The 2010 Fire Season
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Garbled Warming

USA Today today reports that the 2010 Fire Season has been a mild one, due to the weather, not “climate change” of course.

USA catches a break this year with mild wildfire season

Both in terms of total number of wildfires as well as acres burned, 2010 is the least active year of the past decade.

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, September 8, 2010 [here]

The USA is enjoying an unusually quiet year for wildfires, the least fiery of the past 10 years, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

Both in terms of total number of wildfires as well as acres burned, 2010 is the least active year of the past decade.

Weather conditions have been ideal this year for a calm wildfire season, particularly in the fire-prone West.

“It’s been a combination of rain at the right time of year in the right place,” says Robyn Heffernan, assistant fire weather program manager of the fire center.

“The weakening of El Nino (and eventual transition to La Nina) brought abundant spring rain to the Northwest and kept a persistent West Coast trough of low pressure throughout the summer,” she adds. “This kept (wildfire) fuels moist in the Northwest quarter of the country into the summer fire season.

“It was the perfect combination for little fire activity in the lower 48.”

As of Sept. 3, 43,470 fires had burned in the USA, slightly less than the 45,152 that burned in 2003, according to the fire center. This amount is 71% of the average of 61,219 fires.

The total acres burned across the USA has been less than half of an average year. So far in 2010, 2.6 million acres have burned nationally; in a typical year, 5.7 million have been scorched, to date.

Also thanks to El Nino, the spring was very wet in the Southern tier of states, reports Heffernan, which is typically that region’s most active season.

“Last winter was under the influence of an El Nino, which gave the Southern tier of states moist conditions going into the spring fire season,” Heffernan says.

Many of the wildfires this year have been in Alaska. “They were busy in their peak of fire season, which is in June,” she adds.

Alaska burned around 150% of its normal number of fires and in excess of 200% of normal acreage.

“If you took those fires out, the lower 48 total would be significantly lower.” …

That’s not to say that there haven’t been devastating fires. Thousands of acres of spotted owl forests have been incinerated in various Let It Burn fires, and homes destroyed in numerous others.

Note: the worst of this year’s home-destroying wildfires is burning right now west of Boulder, CO. The Four Mile Canyon Fire [here] has burned more than 50 homes so far. The West Fire [here] and Bull Fire [here] in Kern County, CA burned 30+ residences in July. And the typical fall wildfire season in Southern California has not kicked in yet.

But the numbers don’t lie; this year has been a relatively mild fire season to-date.

The “conventional” wisdom has been that the globe is heating up like a frog in a microwave oven, though. The “models” are off the charts. Some “experts” like NASA’s James “Venus Syndrome” Hansen believe the seas are going to boil away into outer space if we don’t stop driving SUV’s [here].

It has been a popular alarmist refrain that early snowmelt and increased spring and summer temperatures have occurred and are driving increases in wildfire acreage. A single speculative paper is most often cited: Westerling, A.L.; Hidalgo, H.G.; Cayan, D.R.; Swetnam, T.W. 2006. Warming and earlier spring increase Western U.S. forest wildfire activity. Science, Vol. 313: 940-843 [here] for this dire report.

Of course, one unchallenged study using uncertainty-laden computer models does not equal truth. That hasn’t impeded AGW (anthropogenic global warming) alarmists from trumpeting it, however. The Draft Cohesive Strategy [here], for instance, was written by Westerling et al. true believers.

The problem with the alarmist theories is that the weather won’t cooperate with the climate models. Despite the overwhelming consensus of People Without a Clue [here, here, here, for instance], colder-than-usual weather keeps contradicting the Incredible Warming Models.

Even the President and Chief Alarmist Barky Obama had to concede last winter that Snowmageddon had arrived [here]. Al “Sex Poodle” Gore bought a mansion on the beach, indicating his money doesn’t go where his mouth does [here]. Record salmon runs have filled western rivers [here], in response to the PDO shift [here] to colder waters. And despite their best efforts, the Nation’s Interagency and Interdepartmental Wildland Fire Management Community has not been able to burn as many acres as they had hoped for. $Billions in FLAME Act funds are not getting spent, much to everyone’s chagrin.

Our cold, wet Spring and the Shortest Summer On Record have pretty much shot the Incredible Warming Models full of holes. Which was also predicted [here]. It’s that darn weather. It just won’t cooperate.

World Governments are doing all they can to raise taxes and inflict economy busting regulations, and they need evidence to justify their Luddititude. But the evidence keeps undermining the Alarmist wonkies. The seas won’t boil, the fires won’t burn, and the weather won’t do what the models tell it to do.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody seems to be able to make it do what they want.

But not to worry. The Lame Ducks will quack things up. Get out your check books, or sell your kids if you have to. The Largest Tax Hikes in History are coming. They’ll cure what ails the weather, or my name isn’t Quetzalcoatl.

6 Sep 2010, 2:43pm
The 2009 Fire Season
by admin
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Final Report Issued on Deadly 2009 Victoria AU Fires

The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission has presented their Final Report to the Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser AC. A copy of the report can be viewed or downloaded [here].

In February 2009 wildfires ravaged the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia. 173 people were killed and 2,133 homes incinerated. Termed “Black Saturday”, it was the worst fire disaster in Australian history, a history replete with fire disasters, most notably in 1939, 1944, 1969, 1977, 1983, 2003, 2005, and 2006.

A Royal Commission was formed to inquire, consult, and report on the fires and the fire suppression efforts associated with “an unprecedented loss of life, extreme property damage, and major community trauma and displacement.”

An Interim Report [here] was released a year ago containing 51 recommendations focused predominantly on changes to be implemented prior to the 2009–10 bushfire season.

The Final Report contains an additional 67 recommendations which will now be considered by the Victorian Government and others.

Some (not all) previous posts on the 2009 fires and related matters are [here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here].

Some excerpts from the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report:

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