We Will Burn You

Sharp-eyed SOSF operatives forwarded us the tripe below. It seems the Dead Tree Press in Missoula is hot to burn Montana’s forests to the ground, which is odd, considering that they are in the wood products business, and convey tons of ground-up trees to their customers every day, for obscene profit.

Be that as it may, cub-reporter Michael Jamison just discovered the USFS Let It Burn Program, and is all gaga to swoon over the Beasts in the USFS, who by the way are NOT foresters. The Missoulian tripe follows:

Foresters may extend ‘let it burn’ policy beyond wilderness areas

by MICHAEL JAMISON of the Missoulian [here]

KALISPELL - Foresters looking to fight fire with fire have started looking beyond the boundaries of designated wilderness areas, and this summer will apply a sort of “let it burn” policy to public lands throughout northwest Montana.

They call it “wildland fire use” and this summer it could be used in the North Fork Flathead drainage above Columbia Falls, the Swan Range near Bigfork and the Mission Mountains.

Again, they are NOT foresters but ignorant functionaries with zero professional forestry training or background, hired because of their political affiliations, not their forestry expertise, which they lack in spades.

Jamison evidently just discovered whoofoos, even though whoofoos have been burning in Montana forests for years. Pathetic. But I suppose that the information seeping into his skull now, after years of Let It Burn holocausts in his state’s watersheds, is better late than never.

While many wildfires will be fought, others can provide “a valuable tool for land managers,” said Steve Brady, Swan Lake district ranger for the Flathead National Forest. “Decisions to use naturally ignited fire as a tool for resource management objectives are made incident by incident, and only under certain conditions,” he said.

The tools in this situation are the obsequious functionaries of the USFS who know absolutely nothing about forests or how to manage them. They are pawns at best who promote forest incineration without a clue has to the destruction fire causes.

It all began back in 1983, when lightning struck deep in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, a tree burst into flame, and firefighters did absolutely nothing. Instead, they watched as the flames crept slowly up-mountain, eventually burning across 230 acres.

It was, by forest officials’ own admission, a “huge moment,” coming as it did on the heels of seven decades of aggressive fire suppression.

Now we have legend-building. Some epiphany happened in some place at some time. That led to today’s USFS forest incineration program. NOT! This is junk journalism at its worst, creating myths that hopefully cause readers to marvel at the mysteries of nature. It’s a crap story, pure hogwash. Very bad writing, but typical of the Dead Tree Press, which cannot get one fact straight anymore, and has sunk to fairy tale levels in their efforts to placate Big Brother.
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The Incineration of California

Today the Wall Street Journal published the most ignorant article ever about the California fire situation. It is so ignorant as to constitute criminal stupidity. Many thousands of people will be killed and billions of dollars of damages will ensue if the ignorance displayed by the WSJ is not corrected.

An Open Letter to Californians:

IT’S THE FUELS, STUPIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The ignorant WSJ article is [here]. It was written by a Class A moron named Jim Carlton, but we do not know the name of the braindead editor that reviewed and published it. Both individuals should be locked in stocks in the public square and be mocked incessantly for a few weeks.

Here’s a taste of flaming ignorance from the WSJ:

California Frets Fire’s Early Start — Real Fight Isn’t With Mother Nature, but Residents Who Live in Blaze-Prone Areas

By JIM CARLTON, Wall Street Deadly Morons, June 3, 2008; Page A16

GILROY, Calif. — Californians normally are treated to a kaleidoscope of colors this time of year as spring rains give rise to wildflowers and verdant hillsides. But following one of the driest March-May periods on record, the predominant color in the Golden State’s wildlands is brown — and that is fueling an unusually early start to the state’s fire season.

Already, firefighters have been deployed to more than a dozen wildfires, including a massive conflagration in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains above here that broke out on May 22 and scorched more than 4,000 acres and 31 homes before being declared under control Wednesday. State officials are so concerned about the potential for fire damage this year that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order mobilizing California’s firefighting resources in early May. Normally, the fire season begins in June, but doesn’t really get going until late summer.

But the real battle for the “Terminator” star and his staff isn’t against Mother Nature. Forests and brush have burned with nearly clock-like regularity for thousands of years. The fight, instead, is with the humans who insist on moving into fire-prone areas — and other regions buffeted time and again by natural disasters that people soon forget.

Excuse me? Human beings have been living in California for THOUSANDS of years. The current spate of fires have burned in CITIES of long standing like San Diego and Oakland.

STOP BLAMING THE VICTIMS!!!!!

It ain’t the people – IT’S THE FUELS!!!!!!

But the WSJ, a major forest raping company, doesn’t stop there. Jimbo Carlson then blames, you guessed it, GLOBAL WARMING!!!!!!

Global warming is making the situation even worse. Many scientists blame man-made climate change for unusually dry conditions that have begun to appear in California and much of the rest of the West.

Here’s the real story. the fires have everything to do with fuels. All the areas burned this Spring have been heavily populated for thousands of years. CA is the ideal climate for people, and plenty of people lived there for millennia. They did not suffer massive conflagrations that wiped out their civilizations, despite the vagaries of climate over the last 13,000 plus years.

Why not? Because they controlled the fuels with human-set fires. Regular, frequent, seasonal, anthropogenic fire kept most of California in prairie and savanna. That’s the facts, supported by numerous works of anthropology, landscape geography, ethno-ecology, and plain history.
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17 May 2008, 8:24pm
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin
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The Honeybee Fire: A Whoofoo Blows Up In California

The Honeybee Fire is a whoofoo (wildland use fire) currently burning out of control in the Inyo National Forest. The Honeybee Fire was ignited by lightning on May 6. Although the fire could have been readily extinguished with little effort and expense, Inyo NF officials led by Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch decided to Let It Burn.

Today the Honeybee Fire reached over 1,150 acres in size. It has burned from the Pacific Crest Trail near Haiwee Pass (30 miles south of Lone Pine, CA) westward into the Kern River watershed. The fire has crossed the Kern River in the Kennedy Meadows area, and is burning onto the Sequoia National Forest.

The Honeybee Fire has grown nearly 4-fold in the last two days. The 8-man fire use management team (FUM) assigned to the fire was unable to manage or “steer” the fire as high winds swept over the Sierra Crest.

Today (May 17) two 25-man crews were sent to fight the Honeybee WFU Fire. As far as we know the official status of the Honey Bee Fire is still WFU although suppression efforts have been applied.

No notice has been issued regarding the Pacific Crest Trail, but we assume it is either closed or very dangerous from Haiwee Pass to Olancha Pass at the moment.

At this writing there is no mention of this incident on InciWeb. Most of the on-the-ground info comes from Cal Fire News [here]. No cost to date information has been released.

Inyo NF officials led by Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch apparently believed that they would watch this fire burn from May until October or November. They issued a press release [here] that states:

Fire management officials from the Inyo National Forest are working closely with fire management from the Sequoia National Forest in the monitoring of the Honeybee Fire to ensure that it continues to meet resource objectives as it burns.

What those “resource objectives” are is not stated. No NEPA planning, no Environmental Impact Statement, no Environmental Analysis, and no public involvement of any kind were implemented prior to the decision to let the Honeybee Fire burn for six months.

Now the “unplanning” has backfired and nearly 60 firefighters are risking their lives to stop a fire that could have been extinguished by one man with a shovel 11 days ago. Many millions of dollars will be spent on the Honeybee Fire. It could blow up and become one of the largest fires in California history. That possibility is real because Inyo NF officials led by Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch are still operating under the delusion that the Honeybee Fire is “good” for resources.

Your tax dollars are being spent to destroy your forests by the most irresponsible and lawless agency of the Federal Government, the US Forest Service.

The Honeybee Fire will go down in history as a catastrophic mistake. Remember, you read it here first. As of the time of this writing, no other news outlet has carried this story (except for Cal Fire News [here], a stellar source of fire info in California).

For more late-breaking information on the Honeybee Fire, see the W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking Site [here].

7 May 2008, 10:08am
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin
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Trigo Fire Follow-up

The new W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking website has been reporting on major fires in the West since mid-April. The first fire covered was (is) the Trigo Fire southeast of Albuquerque, NM.

The Trigo Fire began on April 15 in the Cibola National Forest and by April 21 had grown to 3,750 acres and burned nine homes. The residents of Manzano and Torreon were ordered to evacuate by the Torrance County Office of Emergency Services. By April 26 the fire was 4,910 acres but 60 percent contained.

It was big news. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson toured the fire, as did a group of Congressional staffers. A FEMA declaration was issued. Community meetings were held. Over $5 million was spent on suppression.

But then attention deficit disorder set in. The news media went away, as did most of the firefighters. Bill Richardson went to Venezuela to hobnob with Hugo Chavez. And the Trigo Fire smoldered.

On April 30 winds gusted up to 50 mph and the Trigo Fire blew up. Embers blew over containment lines and the fire doubled in size in a matter of hours. The remaining few firefighters were overwhelmed. By May 2 the Trigo Fire was 13,700 acres and an additional 50 homes had burned. Some 600 families were evacuated from the Torreon and Tajique area. The Sherwood Forest subdivision was decimated.

The Southwest Type 1 Incident Management Team (Whitney) was called in. Over 800 firefighters arrived, but it was too late to save the homes.

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Three Charged in X Fire

Three campers left their campfire unattended, and it erupted into a forest fire. The campers have been charged with Federal crimes and face jail, probation, fines, and restitution penalties.

The X Fire is burning on Tusayan Ranger District the near the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. It began April 29th and has consumed about 2,050 acres. The fire has been largely contained by Hot Shot crews and fire personnel of the Kaibab National Forest.

The three campers were apprehended without incident and have cooperated with authorities.

From the Arizona Republic in Flagstaff [here]:

Authorities track down trio suspected in X Fire

by Lindsey Collom - The Arizona Republic

When an unattended campfire touched off a 2,000-acre blaze just outside of Grand Canyon National Park Tuesday, it didn’t take long or much effort for authorities to track down the people believed to be responsible.

A trio of campers, visiting from Texas, returned the next day to the site in the Kaibab National Forest to retrieve a sleeping bag, court records show.

The three cooperated with authorities and, after being questioned, were summoned to appear in federal court in Flagstaff Thursday - even as fire crews continued to rein in the X Fire by dousing hotspots with water, digging at smoldering dumps and aerating the soil. …

The X Fire suspects could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail, five years’ probation and a $5,000 fine. A judge could also force them to pay what it cost to fight the fire. Murphy estimated the fire suppression tab to be $250,000 by Thursday morning.

Interestingly, the Kaibab NF spokesperson claimed that the X Fire has benefited the forest:

Meanwhile, Murphy says the forest is benefiting from the blaze, which has burned overgrowth and ground fuels while mostly sparing trees. Fire also releases nitrogen into the soil, promoting new growth.

“It’ll be nice again,” he said.

Also interesting is the fact that in 2006 Kaibab NF personnel burned 58,000 acres of that national forest in the Warm Fire, a whoofoo (Wildland Fire Use fire) that consumed 40,000 acres of old-growth ponderosa pine and Mexican spotted owl habitat. The Warm Fire was a deliberate act on the part of Kaibab NF personnel, and in direct violation of a Court Order and Record of Decision that prohibited such burning [see here for more about the Warm Fire].

Yet, in the case of the Warm Fire, no Kaibab NF personnel were charged with Federal crimes, jailed, put on probation, fined, or forced to pay restitution. The Warm Fire rang up a bill of over $7 million in suppression costs, ten times that in resource losses, and more $millions in subsequent forest rehabilitation expenses. That work has only begun, following a year of planning which also cost a pretty penny.

No one claimed that the stand replacing (total tree mortality) Warm Fire “benefited” the forest. Yet the perps went unpunished and are still collecting Federal paychecks.

All that is not an excuse or defense for the three campers who unwittingly started the X Fire. But whatever punishment the judge and jury apply to those three, something in excess of a hundred times more severe punishments should have been meted out to the Kaibab NF personnel responsible for the Warm Fire.

1 May 2008, 10:02am
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin
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Trigo Fire Blows Up

You may have been following the 2008 fire season on the new W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking Site [here]. If so, you might have noticed the Trigo Fire on the Cibola National Forest, Torrance Co., New Mexico. The Trigo Fire started April 15th, from human causes, probably a campfire probably left by illegals who just crossed the border.

Burning in pinyon-juniper, gamel oak, ponderosa pine, and grasses, the Trigo Fire was pushed by high winds toward the towns of Torreon and Manzano, where nine homes and nine other structures were burned.

The New Mexico Type II Incident Management Team was called in and as many as 500 firefighter fought the blaze. Fire departments from as far away as Phoenix sent support. FEMA approved New Mexico’s request to help pay for state and local efforts to fight the Trigo Fire, which exceeded $5 million. The Governor and a Congressional staffer delegation toured the scene last week.

Things settled down. It appeared the Trigo Fire was under control, 95 percent contained. Fire management transitioned to a Type III local team. Everybody went home.

Then yesterday the winds whipped up and the Trigo Fire blew up again. Embers blew over the containment lines and in a matter of hours the fire area has more than doubled from 5,000 to over 11,000 acres. Torreon has been evacuated again. The fire is climbing Capilla Peak and heading for the UNM observatory there. Highways 55 and 337 are closed.

The Southwest Area Type I IMT has been called in. Type I’s are the biggest responders, set up to handle 500 firefighters or more and all the equipment and support entailed. It costs upwards of a million dollars a day or more to fund Type I IMT efforts.

Heavy winds are expected in the area throughout the day with gusts of up to 50 miles an hour. Air tankers and water-bucket helicopters cannot be flown safely in high winds, and may not be used today.

Police are patrolling evacuated areas to prevent looting, which had been reported during the previous evacuation. At least one home has been burned during this latest blow up, and possibly many more. News is difficult to extract from any sources, but the best might be KRQE TV in Albuquerque [here]. (And it isn’t much; if you know of better news sources, please let me know).

The 2008 Fire Season has gotten off to a running start. More than 700,000 acres have burned in Texas (mostly grasslands). Two fires have erupted in Southern California, one near Santa Anita and one near Palm Springs. The latter is the Apache Fire and has closed the Pacific Crest Trail in the San Jacinto Wilderness. Arizona has had three major fires already, one burning today near the Grand Canyon and another, the Alamo Fire, that burned on both sides of the International Border. Like the Trigo Fire, the Alamo Fire might have been set by illegal immigrants. The lightning season has not started yet in the Southwest.

We are doing our best to track all these fires on the W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking Site [here]. Your assistance with information is greatly appreciated. Already SOSF stalwarts have chipped in some key news regarding the Apache Fire and earlier blazes in the Southwest. Thank you, Greg, Bob, and Wayne!

News Droppings

It has been a busy week for news already. Some of the highlights (or lowlights):

USFS Chief Gail Kimbell proffered an excuse for soaring fire costs and her agency’s failure to do a Congressionally ordered analysis of the nation’s aerial firefighting program following fatal crashes of planes working on wildfires: “We are a nation at war, and we’re a nation with a huge budget deficit.” [here].

Pretty cheesy. We can’t do our job because the nation is at war. It could be the war that Kimbell is talking about is the one the USFS is waging on forests and landowners throughout the West. Her agency did find $54 million to spend on conservation easements to stop homebuilding on private land. It “saved” the taxpayers money by curtailing private property rights and resident stewardship of the land in favor of holocaust megafires.

Weyerhaeuser was busted in another anti-trust case. A Portland jury on Monday ordered Weyerhaeuser to pay almost $28 million for unlawfully monopolizing the market for finished alder lumber [here].

U.S. Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey was in Missoula on Monday to answer questions about controversial secret meetings between the U.S. Forest Service and the Plum Creek Timber Company. Plum Creek is the country’s largest private landowner, with 8 million acres nationwide and 1.2 million acres in Montana [here].

More gravy for the Big Potato. Maybe Mark doesn’t realize that we’re a nation at war.

In wildlife news, a rabies outbreak is plaguing the Southwest. A rabid bobcat attacked two hikers, who had to kill it with a hammer [here]. Lesson: never go hiking without a hammer. For more rabies news see Wolf Crossing [here].

Speaking of disease-carrying animals, twelve “environmental” groups have sued to halt wolf delisting [here]. Nuff said.

On the climate front, the founder of the National Hurricane Center is being forced out for his failure to buy into Algore’s Inconvenient Lie [here]. Naughty, naughty. Here come the PC police.

And finally Friends of the Earth have been blamed for starving millions of poor to death after spreading ugly rumors about American food aid to Africa [here]. Guess that’s one way to deal with the overpopulation problem. Pin a medal on FOE.

Lovely news. Going outside now. Had my fill of it. If there were some way to dig the news into my garden, I’m sure I could grow pumpkins the size of Volkswagens. For big punkins, it’s all about the bull …

21 Apr 2008, 8:37pm
Introduction The 2008 Fire Season
by admin
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W.I.S.E Initiates Fire Tracking Site

The Western Institute for Study of the Environment is pleased to announce the creation of the W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking website [here].

We will endeavor to keep site visitors up-to-date on large wildfires while they are occurring. This is a difficult job requiring attention to a variety of news outlets on a round-the-clock basis. We will very much appreciate your input throughout the fire season to keep the W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking site as current as possible.

This service depends on your assistance. We appreciate your donations of information and funding. For the latter, please see our donation page [here].

Kimbell Axes Fire Planning

On April 2nd USFS Chief Abigail Kimbell decided that four Region 3 National Forests no longer needed Fire Management Plans (FMP’s) as part of their Land and Resource Management Plans (LCMP’s). As a result, the existing FMP’s on the Carson and Lincoln NF’s in New Mexico and the Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto NF’s in Arizona were thrown in the dumpster.

Kimbell axed the FMP’s because an environmental group, the WildEarth Guardians (formerly the Forest Guardians), had sued the Forest Service in December, claiming the agency’s FMP’s for the four forests were inadequate because they were produced without any NEPA process (i.e. no Environmental Analyses or Environmental Impact Statements were created).

From the WildEarth Guardians’ Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [here]:

61. The Apache-Sitgreaves, Tonto, Carson, and Lincoln National Forests did not solicit public input and did not prepare an EA or EIS before preparing and approving their FMPs. Consequently, the public had no opportunity to comment on the fire management practices required by the FMPs, and the Forest Service did not analyze alternatives to the FMPs.

Rather than comply with NEPA, Kimbell junked the FMP’s, and the next week the USFS requested the lawsuit be dropped. From the Las Cruses Sun-News [here]:

Forest Service seeks dismissal of fire plan lawsuit

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Las Cruses Sun-News, 04/10/2008

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The U.S. Forest Service is seeking dismissal of a federal lawsuit filed by environmentalists who had challenged the agency’s fire management plans for four Southwestern forests.

Forest Guardians, now called WildEarth Guardians, had sued the Forest Service in December, claiming the agency’s plans for the Carson and Lincoln forests in New Mexico and the Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto forests in Arizona were inadequate and produced without enough public involvement.

The Forest Service, in a motion filed Thursday, argued that the lawsuit should be declared moot since the agency withdrew the fire plans last week.

“As a result, the purported decisions that are the basis for plaintiff’s claims are no longer in effect, such that there is no continuing case or controversy to support jurisdiction,” the agency’s lawyers wrote in the two-page motion.

Court documents also show that Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell on Wednesday waived a requirement that the four forests have fire management plans. …

On March 5th the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF issued a notice that they were going to prepare an EA to include Let It Burn fires in their FMP [here]. The Western Institute for Study of the Environment prepared a 170 page complaint requesting that the RR-SNF prepare an EIS before they adopted Let It Burn into their FMP [here].

Now it seems that the Chief of the USFS can merely dump the RR-SNF FMP altogether, rather than obey the law. This type of criminal behavior on Kimbell’s part has also been pointed out and documented many times at SOS Forests [here, for instance].

The USFS has devolved into a lawless outfit that spurns NEPA, ESA, NFMA, NHPA and other laws of the United States in their quest to incinerate America’s priceless heritage forests. The level of abuse and dismissal of the rule of law by this federal agency is appalling and bodes catastrophic disaster. Something must be done and soon.

USFS Scorched Earth Policy To Be Unveiled

The US Forest Service is set to release its new “scorched earth” policy on March 29th. The policy will encourage Let It Burn fires on 15 National Forests. The Let It Burn policy will be installed by formally adding Wildland Fire Use (WFU or whoofoos) to the Fire Plans on the 15 forests.

The Let It Burn policy was instigated by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council, a Federal Advisory Board that includes representatives from the five fed land management agencies (USFS, BLM, NPS, USFWS, and BIA) and is heavily influenced by BINGOs (TNC, TWS). See [here].

The new Let It Burn policy will be installed by altering or adopting language in the Fire Plans known as “Appropriate Management Response” (AMR). The changes will be made without public input or Environmental Impact Statements (EIS’s), even though whoofoos fires have huge impacts on plants and animals including Threatened and Endangered Species. The Let It Burn fires will also impact:

• Non-listed flora and fauna
• Historic/cultural resources
• Water and watersheds
• Air quality and airsheds
• Carbon emissions
• Public and worker safety
• Local economies
• Recreation opportunities
• Soils
• Hydrology
• Transportation networks
• Social resources
• Fisheries
• Invasive and noxious weeds
• Insects and disease
• Wilderness and roadless areas
• Wild and scenic rivers
• Scenic quality
• Short-term and long-term productivity
• Irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources
• Wetlands and floodplains
• Farmland, rangeland, and private property
• Energy sources
• Civil rights and environmental justice

The new USFS scorched earth policy was predicted by this blog, and now it is coming to pass, without public notice in most cases and without the appropriate NEPA process (EIS’s) in all cases. The new policy also violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) among others.
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