Burn the Village

(Mike rambles on…)

The Shadow Lake Fire received no initial attack. DNF public announcements declared the fire management strategy as “allowing nature to run its course in the wilderness”. That is a treatment prescription. No EIS or EA or NEPA process was instituted. No Section 7 ESA consultations with USFWS. No Section 106 consultations under NHPA. No public process. No NEPA. It was an illegal fire.

Over 6,000 acres of the total forest burned was firebombed. IC Wally Bennett and the Boise NIMO team firebombed old-growth in Oregon. They used ping pong balls filled with TNT ejected from helicopters into green*, old-growth, heritage Oregon Cascade forests. The effect is similar to napalm. More than 60% of the Shadow Lake Fire burned because it was firebombed by the NIMO.

* The 10,000 acres burned was NOT dead lodgpole pine. It was green, mixed conifer, at least 10 species, multicohort, with an older cohort of ponderosa pine from 200 to 500 years-old. The fire was mainly in the Santiam Pass corridor south of Cache Mountain at 4,500 feet elevation.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that Oregon old-growth has been firebombed. Let It Burn has now become Burn It By Firebombing.

“Firefighter safety” is a feeble and disingenuous excuse. An initial attack crew of 5 people could have put the fire out in two days. That’s 10 man-days total. Instead, some 15,000 man-days were expended. Most injuries suffered by firefighters do not come from getting burned by the fire. Instead they come from accidents with equipment and machinery, such as pulaskis, chainsaws, trucks, vans, and helicopters. The likelihood of injury is directly proportional to the number of man-days. By increasing the man-days one-thousand-fold, they also increased firefighter risk one-thousand-fold. If the fire had been contained, controlled, and extinguished at 10, 20, 50, or even 100 acres, there would have been no need to emergency evacuate Big Lake.

Fire planning is a rude joke. It seems the planners are always fooled. Their models never work. So let’s just firebomb.

It “needed to burn” so much they had to firebomb 6,400 acres out of the (exactly) 10,000 acres within the final fire perimeter. They were careful to firebomb only within the designated wilderness boundary. The amount of acreage burned and the specific area were predetermined and desired at least from the discovery of the fire and likely much before that.

Clearly, the fire was an applied treatment, a federal agency action undertaken for “environmental” reasons, including the DNF’s initial public statement that the fire was to be allowed to burn “to let nature run its course in the wilderness”.

Another purpose was apparently to reduce the fire hazard. However, the firebombing of green trees left more dead, dry biomass than was present before the fire. While fine fuels were consumed, they will soon grow back in the form of brush. Within 10 to 15 years the hazard will have returned, but with an additional 200 tons/acre of dead fuels.

In any case, regardless of the USFS’s ever-changing, never examined justifications, the National Environmental Policy Act requires an EIS process before a federal agency undertakes an action that will likely have significant impact to the environment. Note that under the law (NEPA) it does not matter whether the impacts of the action are beneficial or detrimental to the environment. The NEPA process kicks in if the impacts are expected to be significant. No one, including the USFS, denies that the impacts of fire on forests are significant.

One good question never asked is why the area is designated wilderness at all. Wilderness, by law, is supposed to be “untrammeled” land, absent the signs of man. In the case of the Shadow Lake Fire, the area is the Santiam Pass south of Cache Mtn.

The Pass, a plateau at 4,500 feet (a fairly low elevation between 10,000-foot mountain peaks), has been the main east-west highway across the Oregon Cascades for 10,000 years. The Pass connects the MacKenzie, Santiam, and Willamette Valleys with the Metolius, Deschutes, and Eastern Oregon. Just to the south of the Pass is Obsidian Cliffs, an ancient quarry — tools from which can be found 1,000 miles in any direction. The Pass was vegetated by open, park-like ponderosa pine for thousands of years due to anthropogenic burning — frequent, seasonal, human-set fires in grassy fuels. Many of those old trees (now dead from the Shadow Lake Fire) had been bark peeled or used as hearth trees.

When the Indians were driven off by disease and conquest, the Pass became the site of the Santiam Wagon Road. It was/is still the best route between Western and Eastern Oregon. The wagon ruts are still visible.

The point is that the hand of man is plainly evident. This land should never have been designated “wilderness”. That not only disrespects history and science, it has led to a management problem wherein firebombing old-growth is now the preferred solution. Let It Burn is not enough - they must firebomb, too. …

Burn the Village

by bear bait

Read what Mike says about the Shadow Lake Fire [above and here]. No EIS. No consultations. Omnidirectional kowtowing to the money in the NGOs of “environmental protection.”

This is McNamara strategy: Burn the village to keep it from going over to the Viet Cong. You betcha. No villages, no enemy. No timber, no logging. No fire, we make some.

The Occupy Wall Street deal is recognition of that insanity. A basic governmental diversion from the truth, from doing the right thing. It is now all about power, the power to destroy because the power to create has been spent, at the rate of two dollars for every dollar of revenue.

Insanity. Pure, unadulterated, in your face insanity. A government rambling down the tracks to oblivion, and the engineers and conductors are all power mad and drunk on public money. If you believe the Big Lie about “provident fire” and about “firefighter safety”, you are as insane as they are. Use you noggin for something other than a hat rack. Think! Abstract. Linear. Convoluted.

Just think. You do not set fire to old growth forests to “save” them. It don’t pass the smell test.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, receives an inordinate amount of financial support from people who don’t know their ass from second base, then it must be a duck!!!

Setting fire to forests to save them is Milo Minderbinder bombing US assets because the Germans made him a good deal on plane rent. Bidness. And now the bidness of the USFS is to burn forests to save them.

Re-introduction of fire into the ecosystem. Only the model they are following was never present or used since the last Ice Age. Fire into unprepared landscapes is the newest of management schemes in the history of trees on land once covered with perpetual snow and ice fields. When they were uncovered by global warming, the natives were there to fire the forests to keep them in check, and to keep their livelihoods and safety and food stores safe.

Fire is a tool that can be used successfully only on prepared landscapes. Letting fire burn in unprepared forests yields catastrophic destruction. It is the antithesis of the original mission of the USFS. That agency was formed to save timber for the future. It has been transformed into a Fahrenheit 451 agency that routinely destroys America’s forests as a matter of policy and action.

Conservation. Conserve. Use and replace. Log and plant. Thin and burn. Manage. Not dropping little droplets of ping pong balls of napalm to burn 500 year old forests in a significant pre-European trade and use area.

What the USFS did was criminal A crime against the forests. A crime against logical preservation and conservation. It was the little kid kicking down the sand castle because he could. The USFS burned the Shadow Lake landscape because they can and did. Out of control government. Maybe there needs be an “Occupy the Forest” movement, to reorder the management of such forests.

bear bait

12 Oct 2011, 5:29pm
by TLM

Good to see you “rambling” again Mike.

Five years after setting fire to our forest (to save it?), this is what it looks like back here:

13 Oct 2011, 8:07am
by bear bait

Mike: you are NOT rambling on. You are just exposing the fraud that is USFS and other Federal agency fire policy. It is an arson policy. It would be a fire policy IF they did their due diligence and prepared the landscapes they want to burn prior to the allowed conflagrations. But to encourage fire in unprepared landscapes is bad policy. Then they lie to you, and describe the burn as some sort of wonderful mosaic of fire of varying degrees of severity, which will improve and define habitats…..and then send in the Hot Shots, their elite shock troops, to burn them so as to deprive the fire of fuel. Potemkin did that for the Tzar. Painted the false fronts with no building behind them. That is the way the USFS paints a fire. Selective showmanship. All the while the destruction of 500 year old trees and forest copses goes on, unabated. Then they have the gall to decry the loss of Spotted Owl habitat and want to conscript private lands to provide for what they just purposefully destroyed. Insanity rules the day!!!! Open the door and there is no there, there. Nothing behind the green door, or any other door. Empty promises and empty policy.

If you pay people hazard pay to attend to fire, I expect there to be a hazard. If the policy is not to expose the fire “fighters?”/watchers/paid minders to danger, then drop the hazard pay and the extra pension benefits and the short work life expectancy that has early required retirement and only a twenty year work history for full retirement. You can’t have it both ways, and have the people of America paying for a fraudulent fire non-suppression effort in the name of safety. Then to decide to fight fire when it is conflagration size, with hundreds of people, the statistical chance of injury or death rises arithmetically with every additional person put on the fire. That is almost a guarantee of injury or death. Exposure in the most unsafe of conditions. The old smoke jumper deal was two people with a hand saw cutting down one burning tree or snag, lining the area, burying the hot fuels, a time of babysitting the smokes, and then a long hike out with as much equipment as you could carry, and the rest cached along a trail where the packer could retrieve it later on. No big fire. But the NGOs of Green want fire, big fire, and the USFS follows the direction of their fifth column supporters and NGO backers. If Big Money rules Wall Street and the economy, it is Big NGO that rules the environmental agencies, and the never ending dough from those tax forgiven, wealth forwarding to the next generation, trusts and foundations pay the way for the “deciders” who really make and implement USFS, EPA, NOAA, USFWS, USPS, BLM, et al, policy and work. The voter and the public have no say. A cabal is running the show. And the results are ugly and not good public results. And even I am not “rambling on.” That is the sad truth.



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