Comments Submitted on Draft Cohesive Strategy

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) has embarked on a “Cohesive Strategy” planning process [here, here, here, here, here].

The “Cohesive Strategy” was mandated by the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement or FLAME Act [here, here, here].

A draft report entitled National Wildfire Management Report to Congress and Cohesive Strategy Draft has been issued [here, 3.2 MB] and comments were requested.

W.I.S.E. has complied and submitted our Comments today [here, 1.7MB].

Some additional comments:

more »

6 Sep 2010, 11:58am
The 2010 Fire Season
by admin
leave a comment

Fire Follies on Labor Day

For all of you that don’t follow fires on W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking, here are some of the more egregious dis-competencies from the fire reports this morning.

The Twits on the Twitchell

Twitchell Canyon WFU Fire [here] has been burning on the Fishlake National Forest since July 20th. It was declared a Let It Burn fire from the get go, without any NEPA process or public oversight. In their own words:

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”.

Yesterday the Twitchell Fiasco Fire blew up to 7,000 acres. The Kimberly Mining District has been evacuated. Ourada’s Type 2 IMT has been called in. Hundreds of firefighters will “monitor” the out-of-control fire and spend more $millions ($3.2 million has been spent to-date).

Oh yes, the watershed being incinerated contains the Manderfield Reservoir 7 miles east of Manderfield, Utah. $Millions are been spent to turn that watershed into a moonscape. The genius behind all that is Fishlake NF Supervisor Allen Rowley.

The Bull S*** Fire

In mid-August a lightning storm swept across the Oregon Cascades. Numerous fires were ignited, among them some on the Mt. Hood NF near Olallie Lakes [here].

A local fire crew responded, but two weeks later (August 26th) they were withdrawn and the PNW Team 2 (Type 1 National IMT, Hoff) assumed command. The fires were over 3,000 acres combined on that date and $2.7 million had already been spent (unsuccessfully). One of the fires (Pyramid Butte Fire) had swept across the Pacific Crest Trail and was burning on the Warm Springs Reservation.

Fire crews ramped up to over 850 personnel and a $million per day was spent to contain some of the fires. By September 2nd 4,523 acres had burned and over $7 million had been spent. The fires near Olallie Lakes had been contained, but not those in the Bull of the Woods Wilderness.

The Bull of the Woods Wilderness is on the west side of the Cascades. It is 37,607 acres in size and contains low elevation old-growth spotted owl forests. It was designated in 1984 ostensibly to “protect” the old-growth and the owls. Of course, it is not really “wilderness” due to the fact that human beings have been residing there for approximately 10,000 years.

Because it is “designated wilderness” the fires there were not fought but allowed to burn unchecked. And burn they have. Of the 4,736 acres burned in the View Lake Fires, 2,871 have been the Bull of the Woods “wilderness”.

On September 3rd the Type 2 IMT was withdrawn and a special National Incident Management Organization (the Portland NIMO) has taken over. There is still zero firefighting going on in the Bull of the Woods although 660 firefighting personnel are doing something somewhere. Yesterday a firefighter was seriously injured by a falling rock. The Warm Springs Interagency Hotshot Crew member was transported to Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center in Portland where, this morning, he is reported in serious condition.

The PCT remains closed, as does the Bull of the Woods “wilderness” where spotted owls are exploding into balls of flame in mid-air and their old-growth habitat is being destroyed. The NIMO has informed the public that the fires will burn until the snow flies for all they care. MHNF Forest Supervisor Gary Larsen has cloaked himself in a cone of silence.

Meanwhile dingbat eco-freaks [here] have climbed into trees in Eugene to protest a timber sale on the Willamette NF. The Trapper Restoration Project has been in the planning and preparation phase for 12 years! After numerous appeals and court cases, it might be logged, but not if the eco-insane can stop it. They claim it is the last native forest in Oregon. No word on how they feel about the Bull S*** Fire incinerating thousands of acres of old-growth owl forests.

Oak Flat Follies

The Oak Flat Deliberate Forest Incineration continues [here, here, here, here]. Today it was reported to be 7,494 acres and still growing, due to extensive backburning.

The Southern Oregon/Northern California Type II Interagency IMT has called it quits, though, after deliberately burning down some 7,000 acres for no good reason. It’s some other IMT’s problem now.

That’s the same thing ORCA did with the Williams Creek [here] and the Rattle Fires [here] on the Umpqua NF in 2009, and the Blue 2 and Siskiyou Complex Fires [here] on the Klamath NF in 2008. It’s their modus operandi. Drop back miles from the fire and backburn. Then walk away.

It might be useful to assign ORCA to Washington DC. They could set fire to that hell hole of freakazoid Communists instead of to Oregon. We residents would prefer it if Oregon was not incinerated by dingbat flunkies from the Gooberment. Whereas Washington DC should be burned to the ground on principle.

The Party Fire in the Park

The Sheep Party Fire [here] in Kings Canyon National Park has been burning since July 17th. No firefighting has been done, but plenty of drugs have been smoked by the “monitoring” crews.

The Sheep Party Fire is now 3,915 acres, of which 988 acres are on the Sequoia National Forest, and it’s still growing. Yesterday the fire reached the valley floor west of Cedar Grove and private property is now threatened. La la la.

Incident Planning Meeting scheduled for 9/9/10 at Hume Lake Ranger District Office between USFS-SQF and NPS-KNP. The public is not invited. Just arsonist gooberment flunkies.

Trails are closed in Kings Canyon National Park and an Area Closure is in force for the Hume Lake Ranger District. A Temporary Flight Restriction in the area of the Sheep Fire is also in effect.

La la la. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Burn, baby, burn.

4 Sep 2010, 12:46pm
The 2010 Fire Season
by admin
leave a comment

Criminal Incineration of Oregon by Fire Nazis

Burn, baby, burn. Kill, baby, kill.

The deliberate, criminal incineration of Oregon forests, especially spotted owl forests, goes on and on.

On the orders of the Obama Administration, with full complicity of Oregon’s extreme leftist “leadership”, the catastrophic destruction of Oregon’s priceless heritage forests continues unabated.

The Oak Flat Fire [here, here, here] is now 7,400 acres and still growing — because of government arson. This fire could have been contained, controlled, and extinguished weeks ago, but it has been expanded by deliberate backburning miles away from the original fire.

Southern Oregon/Northern California Type II Interagency IMT Incident Commander Brett Fillis, Rogue River-Siskiyou NF Forest Supervisor Scott Conroy, and Region 6 Regional Forester Mary Wagner have conspired to incinerate 18,000 acres, including old-growth spotted owl forests.

They are only half way there. Ground-based and aerial burnouts continue in Divisions D,F, & L. The red area shows the fire size on Aug 14 when the plan was drawn to incinerate 12,000 acres (now 18,000 acres, purple lines).

Despite calm winds, rain, and cool weather, arsonistic firecrews have managed to expand the fire again and again.

Nearly $17 million has already been spent, but the meter is still running. Over $100 million in resource damages have already been inflicted, including incineration of spotted owl nesting and foraging habitat.

More destruction of old-growth owl forests is occurring in the View Lake Let It Burn Complex Fires [here] on the Mount Hood National Forest. The Olallie Lakes area has been burned over, but those fires have been largely contained. Adjacent is the Bull of the Woods Wilderness, and those fires have been Let Burn. Over 2,700 acres of old-growth spotted owl habitat has been burned dead while firecrews stay as far away as possible [here].

But they do rake in the coin. Over $7 million has been spent on the View Lake Let It Burn Complex Fires and that meter is still running, too. Portland NIMO IMT [here] is taking over from the The Southern Cascades Type 3 Interagency IMT so they can get in on the cash flow while watching Oregon’s old-growth being catastrophically destroyed.

Because it isn’t about forests, or protecting them. It is about looting the Federal Treasury while arsonistically destroying America’s priceless, heritage forests.

Meanwhile noted Oregon Communists Ron Wyden, Pete DeFazio, and Ted Kulongoski cheer from the sidelines.

Burn, baby, burn. Kill, baby, kill.

2 Sep 2010, 3:38pm
Federal forest policy
by admin

Comments Requested on Draft Cohesive Strategy

The newly reconstituted Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) has embarked on a “Cohesive Strategy” planning process [here, here, here, here, here].

The “Cohesive Strategy” was mandated by the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement or FLAME Act [here, here, here].

A draft report entitled National Wildfire Management Report to Congress and Cohesive Strategy Draft has been issued [here, 3.2 MB]

The timeline for this report is extremely tight since it is due to Congress by November. As a result, public involvement opportunities have been limited, which means many in the natural resource and wildfire communities may have not had a chance to provide comments. In haste, the WFLC is missing opportunities to hear from people with years of experience in natural resource management and fire use and protection.

The future of the report is uncertain since Congress has more than enough issues to consider. However, it would be a mistake for as many knowledgeable and experienced people as possible not to go on record with their thoughts. If the report surfaces and Congress decides to follow some or all of its recommendations the impact on federal agencies, state, local fire and natural resource as well as governments and land owners in general could be significant. For this reason it important for the fire and natural resource community to provide WFLC with good counsel.

W.I.S.E will gather your comments as best it can with this short response period and craft a response which we will post.

If you are able to provide input and would like to share it, you can do that by making it into a comment and placing it at the bottom of this post.

Thank you,

Mike Dubrasich, Exec Dir W.I.S.E.

2 Sep 2010, 11:46am
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

Wildfire Benefits or Damages?

The “fire community” makes a lot of noise about the “benefits” of wildfire, but when issue gets to court (as it sometimes does), the “benefits” magically turn into enormous damages and losses.

UP pays $17.3 in damages for Rich Fire

By Delaine Fragnoli, The Plumas County News, August 27, 2010 [here]

Union Pacific Railroad Co. has agreed to pay more than $17 million for damages and suppression costs related to the 2008 Rich Fire [here] on the Plumas National Forest.

The payment, announced by government officials, settled a federal claim after a Forest Service investigation concluded a crew of railroad workers negligently ignited the fire by cutting and welding rail without using tent shields.

The fire, which started July 29, 2008, in the Feather River Canyon, burned 6,500 acres, destroyed four structures, led to evacuations and temporarily closed Highway 70, the rail line and the Pacific Crest Trail.

The settlement amount includes the $10 million* it cost to suppress the fire and another $7 million for destroyed timber, reforestation costs and other environmental and resource damages.

* The suppression expenses reported at the time were $13,233,637 [here]. But those accounts were confounded by the numerous other fires burning on the Plumas NF at the time, including the Belden Fire and the Canyon Complex Fires [here]. There were 45 to 50 fires in the Canyon Complex (37,831 acres, $45,501,474) all ignited by lightning.

We can safely assume that all those fires damaged the environment. After all, the Rich Fire was no different than all the other fires, and the U.S. Judicial System has determined that damages (in excess of suppression costs) were in the order of $7 million on the Rich Fire alone.

That determination was based on the pleadings of the US Forest Service, which (as it turns out) maintained in court, under oath, that wildfires inflict severe and very expensive damages to bugs, bunnies, and other environmental values.

Let’s reiterate the main point here. Wildfires do not provide benefits, they inflict damages, very expensive damages, according to the USFS contentions made under oath in Federal Court and agreed to by the Judiciary.

As it turns out, when the USFS deliberately incinerates forests, as they did this summer again in numerous places, they KNOW they are not doing anyone any favors, but rather they KNOW they are inflicting severe and costly damages to the environment.

So the next time some obsequious bureaucrat from the USFS, or one of the fawning supporters of Let Burn, tries to tell you that they are doing you a favor by destroying your forests with catastrophic holocausts, that pro-holocauster can be dismissed as a lying sack of manure, an arsonist, and an eco-terrorist, and if the pro-holocauster wants to, he (or she, as in the case of our Regional Forester) can tell their sick lies to a judge and see where that gets them.

According to the USFS, that is, and to the Courts, who completely agree that when push comes to shove, wildfires inflict environmental damages (which can be measured in dollars).

More from the Plumas County News article:

Union Pacific agreed to pay the bill in full in exchange for a release from damages claims.

The settlement comes two years after a record-setting agreement on the August 2000 Storrie Fire, which scorched 52,000 acres on the Plumas and Lassen national forests. That fire was also sparked by a UP crew repairing track.

In 2004, the Forest Service billed UP $63.9 million for damages. The company refused to pay that bill, and the United States filed suit.

After two years of litigation, Union Pacific settled that case for $102 million [here].

It remains the largest settlement ever in a case about the origin of a wildfire.

It also set precedent by including, not only suppression costs, but also damages to natural resources.

Settlement funds representing resource losses from fire are dedicated by federal statute to support restoration projects on the damaged national forests. A substantial portion of the Rich Fire settlement funds will go to the Forest Service to help remedy damages caused by the fire.

A fire restoration team on the Plumas National Forest will spend approximately the next year assessing needs and developing a plan said forest spokeswoman Lee Anne Schramel. …

The Eastern District of California has special Fire Recovery Litigation teams that focus solely on these types of cases.

That’s right, sports fans. The US Dept. of Justice has special Fire Recovery Litigation teams whose job it is to sue the bejabbers out of anyone (with deep pockets) who can be held negligent for causing some of the severe environmental damages that accrue from wildfires, damages that will be assessed by the Federal Court to the tune of many, many $millions.

Benefits? Tell it to the judge.

No word yet on whether the special Fire Recovery Litigation teams will be prosecuting Regional Foresters, Forest Supervisors, Incident Commanders, and other government functionary perpetrators of Let It Burn fires that inflict many, many $millions in damages to the environment.

We encourage such prosecutions. Go get ‘em, USDOJ. Bring the perps to justice. In orange jumpsuits and shackles. Throw the book at them.

Because if private companies and individuals are held negligent and financially responsible for inflicting severe environmental damages via fire, then public servants must be treated in exactly the same manner.

Because in the USA the law applies to everybody. There is not one set of laws for the peasantry and another set of laws for government functionaries. That might have been the case in the Soviet Union and Red China, but it is not the case here.


  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta