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Playing with fire: Environmental rules fuel massive inferno ^ | Wednesday, October 9, 2002 | By Sarah Foster

Posted on 10/08/2002 11:52:47 PM PDT by JohnHuang2

In the early afternoon of Saturday, July 13, a lightning storm began in the northwest corner of California, crossed the state line into Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon, and moved northeast toward Crater Lake sparking dozens of small fires in its wake. Several of these fires on the Siskiyou grew large and merged together, becoming the biggest wildfire in Oregon history – a mega-inferno that has consumed close to half a million acres of forest land, including nearly the entire 180,000-acre Kalmiopsis Wilderness, and in late July caused the 17,000 residents of the Illinois Valley to be placed on a hair-raising 30-minute standby alert for evacuation. Some fire suppression activities are still being carried out as the fire continues to burn in spots, and complete control is not expected until early November.

But this need never have happened.

The storm that began that Saturday was a typical "dry" storm with lots of lightning but no rain. Storms like this are common in summer in Western states, and not surprisingly lightning is the most common cause of forest and brush fires. These lightning-caused fires often burn themselves out, or if attacked promptly can be readily extinguished, sometimes by just one or two persons.

But the Siskiyou Forest fires did not burn out and were not promptly attacked. When they finally were, those fighting them were hampered by a web of rules and regulations that do nothing to hasten fire suppression, but have been imposed to satisfy demands by environmentalists.

For example, a July 18 directive from the Galice Ranger District advised firefighters to pay special attention to "known nest sites of any listed species" (the northern spotted owl and the peregrine falcon). These sites were to be protected from high-intensity fire "wherever possible," yet at the same time "the area within three air miles of a nest site (distance based on topographic boundaries) should be protected from disturbance during fire suppression activities, whenever possible."

Compliance with this directive required that aircraft flights less than 1,500 feet above the ground and the use of explosives within three air miles of a known nest site to be kept to a minimum. Moreover, "Camp and staging areas set up before 15 August should be located outside of the peregrine falcon primary and secondary nest protection zones."

Public and official attention has focused on the lack of logging over the past 10 to 20 years as the reason for the size and ferocity of the mammoth fires that in recent years have devastated Western forests and communities – fires like the Cerro Grande and Scott Abel Canyon fires in New Mexico in 2000, the Hayman and Durango fires in Colorado and the Rodeo fire in Arizona this summer.

There's no question that lack of logging has been a major factor. For decades, environmentalists have worked diligently to close government-owned lands to the public – one of their most successful tactics being to lodge legal challenges against cutting timber, mining minerals or grazing cattle. Southwest Oregon and northern California were early targets and a hotbed of environmental activism from the 1970s to the present day.

Barrage of lawsuits

In 1989, a coalition of green groups convinced a federal administrative law judge that cutting down trees threatened the existence of the northern spotted owl by destroying nesting habitat. The judge agreed that the U.S. Forest Service was violating the 1973 Endangered Species Act by allowing timber cutting to continue as it had. In response to the judge's decision, the Forest Service sharply reduced the amount of lumber that could be harvested on its land. The logging industry that was the economic basis for hundreds of rural communities withered and died as one after another of the sawmills were forced to close.

Researcher and author Ron Arnold, in his 1999 book "Undue Influence," reports that the spotted owl lawsuit alone resulted in the closure of 187 mills in Oregon, Washington and California and the loss of 22,654 jobs. A continuing barrage of lawsuits challenging the legality of the much smaller timber sales caused further mill closures and job losses. With no logging there was no need for sawmills.

And with no logging, the forests of the West became dense with millions of small saplings and underbrush. This new vegetation competed for ground water with the larger, older trees, weakening these and exacerbating drought conditions.

To meet the outcries of critics who demand some kind of thinning of the forests if only to control fires, environmentalists argue that the current epidemic of catastrophic fires is the result of decades of fire suppression that prevented the "natural" clearance of underbrush and an overabundance of young trees.

"It's baloney," Arnold told WorldNetDaily. "Logging cuts down the stuff that builds up in the forest, and it's the lack of logging and the lack of budget for proper management and firefighting that has caused [the crisis]. When you stopped firefighting after people had been successfully logging and bringing back [forests], you created the perfect conditions for new fires. … It's not that we've had a century of logging and fire suppression, it's that we've had two decades of no logging."

But environmentalists didn't stop with the dismantling of the timber industry. Undaunted by criticism, they pressed for changes in Forest Service policies towards fire, claiming that fire was good for forests provided it is "natural" – meaning not caused by humans. The Forest Service has tacitly accepted this premise along with a goal that fire should be reintroduced as part of "ecosystem management." Further changes were sought in the way fires are handled, and "let burn" policies are implemented in many instances.

It was adherence to these enviro-driven edicts on fire and firefighting, as much as the lack of logging and resulting fuel buildup, that allowed the small fires ignited July 13 to become the wildfire that has lasted nearly three months.

Fighting fires in a MIST

About 9 a.m July 13, a three-acre "person-caused" fire was reported on the Siskiyou National Forest. It was dubbed the Taylor fire after Taylor Creek where it was located. It was not a "natural" fire, and the Forest Service's Bob Del Monte directed a task force based at an airport near Grants Pass to deal with it before it got any bigger. At 2 p.m., lookouts reported lightning strikes moving up the boundary of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. A little over an hour later, a fixed-wing aircraft spotted a small fire burning in the northern Kalmiopsis Wilderness at Carter Creek, south of the Illinois River. A second fire was reported half an hour later in the southern part of the forest close to the California-Oregon border and outside the wilderness.

Some three hours later, Del Monte requested that smokejumpers (parachutists) or rappellers be dispatched for both the Carter [Creek] fire and the southern Biscuit fire, so-named after nearby Biscuit Hill. He was told no smokejumpers would be available for at least 48 hours, and no one knew when there would be any rappellers.

When a fire burns in a wilderness, otherwise routine fire suppression activities are restricted, including the use of mechanized and motorized equipment. Chainsaws and bulldozers for cutting trees and moving earth to make fire lines require approval by the forest supervisor. If not granted, firefighting crews are limited to hand tools. Even with permission, dozer-line construction and vegetation clearing must be kept minimal. As there are no roads in a wilderness, only occasional narrow trails, motorized travel is difficult if not impossible and it too requires approval, as must the use of helicopters to transport crews and douse hot spots.

The term for these special rules and practices is MIST – Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics. The purpose is to limit the effects of firefighting activity on the land as much as possible, paying close attention to endangered and threatened species.

According to a chronology drafted by Forest Service personnel, acting forest supervisor Tom Reilly wasn't contacted until noon the following day, Sunday, when several officials phoned to request approval of a Type 2 Team and verbal approval for the use of helicopters, chainsaws and portable pumps for use on the Carter fire.

Reilly gave the OK, and a helicopter owned by Grayback Forestry, a private firefighting company headquartered near Grants Pass, Ore., that contracts with the Forest Service, carried in two men to assess the Carter fire.

"The helicopter landed in the wilderness," said Forest Service spokesperson Paul Galloway. "That's why approval was needed for that to occur."

For reasons that have not been fully explained, it was decided that Grayback firefighters would hike in seven miles over rough terrain, rather than be transported by helicopter. By mid-afternoon a 20-person crew was on its way and arrived at 9:17 p.m. Sunday. A second crew followed next day. Working together, the two crews contained the Carter fire by 1:25 p.m. Tuesday.

So far, so good. Or was it? Grayback firefighters were able to keep the fire at about 15 acres, but that achievement was not appreciated by all parties, in particular members of the Siskiyou Regional-Education Project (also called simply "the Siskiyou Project"), an environmental group headquartered in the tiny community of Takilma, near the Oregon-California border, but having a Cave Junction mailing address. According to a highly reliable source, one official of the Siskiyou Project repeatedly phoned the ranger district telling them not to fight the Carter fire.

SREP did not return WND's phone calls, but the account isn't all that surprising, nor would the incident be out of character. The Siskiyou Project (originally called Kalmiopsis Earth First!) is a participant in The Wildlands Project. It was a major instigator and promoter of the effort two years ago to persuade Clinton to create the Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument – a 1.2 million-acre monument covering most of the Siskiyou National Forest and all of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, and extending into California. Due to serious community opposition the plan was defeated, at least for the time being.

The Craggy fire

Last year, the same group of enviro-activists who promoted the monument designation, complained loudly and bitterly about Forest Service handling of the Craggy fire (named for Craggy Creek). The Craggy fire, like the Carter fire, started on the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, and because 2001 was a drought year, the Forest Service jumped on it before it had a chance to become a holocaust. It took some 300 firefighters ferried in by helicopter, but the Craggy fire was contained at 275 acres at a cost of $2.5 million. But rather than applaud the Forest Service for saving the Kalmiopsis, environmentalists griped that the bill came to $10,000 an acre.

"What's troubling about the whole thing is, we're getting all this rhetoric about re-establishing fire into the ecosystem," said Steve Marsden, then-executive director of the Siskiyou Project. "If we can't let this kind of fire burn, how can we talk about re-introducing fire into the natural landscape? This is an area where you would let that happen. It's hard to see why there was an immediate suppression mode."

The Grants Pass Daily Courier reported that the fire burned mostly "brushy, steep slopes that were burned in the 1987 Silver fire, and was nearly 20 miles from the nearest towns, Selma and Agness." The Silver fire had burned over 100,000 acres.

Jack Williams, the Siskiyou forest supervisor at the time, defended his decision in a guest editorial for the Daily Courier. Williams, an environmentalist himself, was caught in a bind. He supported "wilderness values," but realized there are limits.

"Because of extremely dry conditions and large volumes of down wood in the vicinity, our models predicted the Craggy fire had the ability to burn well beyond the wilderness borders if left unchecked," Williams wrote. "The Craggy fire erupted in some very rugged terrain with brush and fallen trees so thick in some areas crews literally had to crawl through thickets to get to the fire. Because of our desire to have minimal human impact on the wilderness and because of concerns for firefighting safety, we employed a relatively small ground attack on the fire. Much of our firefighting effort, and a large majority of the cost, went toward aerial tankers and helicopters to help fight the blaze."

Mike Wheelock, owner of Grayback Forestry, one of several companies participating in the Craggy fire action, seconded Williams' remarks.

"There was underbrush and lots of fuels," said Wheelock, recalling the Craggy fire. "You can't let those burn. In mild seasons that are very wet you can do that, but last year was a severe drought year and the Forest Service knew that. What they did was very good."

Yes, it cost money – a lot of money, he admitted. "But instead of $100 million, it cost only a couple of million, and it would have been the same thing this year."

But that wasn't in the cards.

While Grayback firefighters were bringing the Carter fire under control, aerial reconnaissance reported another fire on the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, this one near Florence Creek. Like last year's Craggy fire, the Florence fire was on an area previously burned by the 1987 Silver fire. And like the Biscuit and Carter fires, it had been ignited by lightning Saturday, though the Forest Service claims it was not spotted until 1:45 p.m. July 15. It covered five to seven acres. Authorization was sought and granted for helicopter use, chainsaws, water pumps, retardant (which is dropped by air tankers) and the construction of helispots.

By 6:30 p.m. the Florence fire was 15 to 20 acres and moving fast. A crew began hiking in, arriving at midnight. The fire grew and by morning was 50 acres.

Admitting later that his decision was a "difficult" one, the incident commander in charge of initial attack decided not to engage the fire. In a written statement, he cited safety concerns and lack of personnel as the reason. But it's likely that the controversy over the suppression of last year's Craggy fire and the recent Carter fire influenced his decision, as well as the Forest Service's overall handling of the Florence fire while it was on the Kalmiopsis.

Not until it had "slopped over" from the wilderness onto ordinary Forest Service land were those in charge of protecting public resources moved to take action.

'Breeding grounds for forest fires'

Local resident Ron Smith, who heads the Illinois Valley chapter of People for the USA, a group fighting for public access to public lands, has monitored the Forest Service's handling of the fires from the very beginning and is sharply critical of what he has observed and learned. Because general forest management in wilderness areas is by definition non-existent, these areas have become, in his view, "breeding grounds for forest fires."

"When they first saw the fire it was six acres, but they did nothing until it got to be over 2,000 acres, and then only when it crossed Bald Mountain Road," Smith reported. "This is their own words – they watched it burn to monitor it. When it crossed Bald Mountain Road, they suddenly had a 15-acre slop-over, and they fought that but screwed up. The 15-acre slop-over became a 60,000-acre slop-over, because they didn't fight it in the wilderness area."

Yet, even though the Forest Service decided to tackle the "slop-over," the fire wasn't attacked directly. The standard firefighting practice today is to create a "fireline" – a cleared area around the fire and some distance from it. This may require some tree cutting. When wind and weather conditions permit, small fires are set inside this line that will (if all goes well) burn towards the main fire, depriving it of fuel.

Firefighters on the Carter fire created their fire line with hand tools, but bulldozers were used to contain the burgeoning Florence fire. Yet even outside the wilderness, eco-considerations trumped prompt fire suppression and mandated numerous extraordinary measures. Of special concern was the possible spread of a fungus that causes a plant disease called Port Orford cedar root rot. The Forest Service "Incident Action Plan" for July 28 (cover page, page 1, page 2, page 3), a daily briefing paper for fire crew commanders and not readily available to the public, details measures to be taken about this threat and others.

Other concerns addressed in the Incident Action Plan: Impacts to species federally listed as endangered or threatened through the Endangered Species Act are to be minimized. To minimize impacts to the endangered Arabis macdonaldiana, a small rock cress, "ground disturbing activities near populations of this species" are to be avoided. In deference to the threatened coho salmon, which doesn't show up in the local rivers, application of chemical agents within 100 feet of streams is to be avoided, so too, the felling of trees within 150 feet of streams and construction within 100 feet of streams.

Mike Wheelock shared his views on such measures with WND. While he appreciates the purpose and rationale behind them, he noted that implementation can be time-consuming and in the end may not be all that effective.

"There are just so many different things that you have to do," said Wheelock. "You have to wash your vehicle before you go out on the fire. It's because of cedar root rot, and I understand that, but sometimes that can take two hours. And you can't dig a fireline within a hundred feet of a creek, so then the fire comes up and burns up the creek."

"It's not just us – we're all hamstrung in fighting fires," he said. "All the agencies and companies are under the same regulations, and there are a lot of restrictions that we didn't have in the early '80s and mid-'80s to suppress fires. Some of the restrictions are good for the land, but when you know a fire is going to burn up a lot of ground and something like cutting a fireline with a cat [Caterpillar tractor] would stop it, and they can't bring a cat in there, that kind of hurts things."

Biscuit fire blow-up

On July 26, the Florence fire, which by then had grown to 15,300 acres, suddenly exploded as a 25,000-foot high smoke plume collapsed under its own weight, pushing the fire through dense forest at 2 miles an hour. Flames soared 150 feet into the air. This became a 30-mile-long wall of fire marching on the Illinois Valley. By July 30 it had grown to 71,000 acres and had merged with the Biscuit fire.

South of the Florence fire, the Biscuit fire that had been growing steadily since its ignition by the July 13 lightning storm, also suddenly expanded, rolling across the state line into Six Rivers National Forest. The containment line had to be extended.

What made this particularly galling was that on July 14, the California Department of Forestry had offered to try and put out the fire. When the lightning fires started, CDF worked with the Six Rivers National Forest and by early afternoon Sunday the spot fires on the California side of the line had been snuffed out. The helicopter pilot had noticed a small fire near the state line and offered to go into Oregon and put it out.

Siskiyou National Forest people turned down the offer. The reason given is that the CDF offered only to work for one fuel rotation, which translates into just a few helibuckets of water, and that there was no staff on the ground to fight the fire, and that by the time the offer was made the fire was 100 acres.

Several matters are currently being disputed. Chuck Blackburn, a supervisor for Del Norte County in northwest California, which has part of Six Rivers National Forest within its boundaries, has been actively trying to piece together what happened, talking to people who claim that they could have put the fire out at its beginning. "From the information I've received from the California Department of Forestry and from the people involved, they felt they could put it out, but were not given permission to do so by the Oregon Region 6 Forest Service," Blackburn said. "They were turned down. They were not given permission to go across and attack that fire."

Contacted for comment, Paul Galloway with the Siskiyou National Forest acknowledged the offer for assistance had been made and rejected, but added that a factor in that decision was that the Forest Service had no one in the forest to manage and fight the fire because the roads in had been allowed to grow over.

"They actually spent a number of days just trying to clear the road to get somebody up in there," Galloway explained. This was a section of forest where the road had been allowed to grow over. Two dozers were assigned to open and improve the roads back to the Biscuit fires, but Galloway did not know how many days it took.

The area where the road had been allowed to grow over was not an officially designated roadless area, but a part of the forest that the Siskiyou Project folks had wanted to become part of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. When that failed, they pushed for designation as a roadless area. That effort, too, was unsuccessful.

Yet, those in charge of the Siskiyou National Forest agreed in principle with the roadless concept, and allowed the road to grow over creating a de facto roadless or wilderness area. Big mistake. When the fire came, they had to spend precious time and money opening a road that was not supposed to be closed in the first place.

'They just let them burn!'

People in southern Oregon are in general horrified at the loss of the forest and many are outraged at Forest Service management of the fire that caused the devastation.

"It's pretty much gone," says Smith sadly, reviewing reports on the Kalmiopsis. "By the time this fire is over it will be completely gone. A lot of the plants will grow back, but they've lost some really beautiful old forest. There were groves of sugar pines that were 300 and 400 years old, six feet in diameter. It will take centuries for them to grow back, but they just let them burn!"

"This fire is going to burn until the rains come in October," Smith predicted. "All they're doing is setting a fire ring around it."

You'd think environmentalists would be devastated by the burning of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, which for them is a sacred place. This is where the Siskiyou Project people held ceremonies – where they had a prayer circle, a sundance circle and worship circles. But you'd be wrong.

Fire 'not a catastrophe'

Lou Gold, a leader in the Siskiyou Project from its Earth First! beginnings and a major promoter of further expansion of the wilderness area, likened the current conflagration to the 1987 Silver fire. Gold recently told the Oregonian newspaper that he was camping on Bald Mountain the night the Silver fire began and actually saw it start. He said he had spent more than 1,000 nights camping in the forest since then, watching the land recover. Madrone, tanoak and bear grass shoots were visible within weeks of the burn, and spring brought "abundant wildflowers."

"The basic impression I had was, this was not a catastrophe, but it was a phase in a cycle of death and rebirth," Gold told the Oregonian.

Gold isn't alone. The Forest Service shares the view that because trees and other plants will grow back eventually, fire is therefore good and its damage is nothing to be upset about.

Showing just how far the Forest Service has adopted this green ideology, a statement right on the Forest Service's own webpage for the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, in a section headed "Current Trail and Trailhead Information," says it all:

Editor's note: The preceding report by Sarah Foster is a small taste of the current edition of WND's acclaimed Whistleblower magazine. Titled "GREEN WITH ENVY: Exposing radical environmentalists' assault on Western civilization" – the October 2002 issue is a mind-boggling expose of the radical environmentalist movement. It documents how environmentalist-inspired laws outlawing asbestos caused the early collapse of the World Trade Center, killing thousands; how environmentalist policy elitists want to lock up as much as one-half of the United States as "Wilderness," basically off-limits to humans; why the save-the-rainforest movement is a fraud; and much, much more. Subscribe to Whistleblower.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: biscuitfire; enviralists; florencefire; landgrab; oregonisburning; oregonstillburning; ruralcleansing; wildfires
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Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Quote of the Day by gaelwolf

1 posted on 10/08/2002 11:52:47 PM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: *Enviralists; madfly; Grampa Dave; farmfriend
2 posted on 10/09/2002 6:41:35 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Stand Watch Listen; freefly; expose; Fish out of Water; .30Carbine; ...
3 posted on 10/09/2002 12:56:13 PM PDT by madfly
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To: madfly
4 posted on 10/09/2002 1:13:25 PM PDT by My Favorite Headache
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To: madfly
5 posted on 10/09/2002 1:28:40 PM PDT by E.G.C.
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6 posted on 10/09/2002 2:00:40 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: madfly

BTTT and bookmarked!!!


7 posted on 10/09/2002 4:04:51 PM PDT by EBUCK
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To: madfly; 1Old Pro; a_federalist; abner; aculeus; alaskanfan; alloysteel; Always Right; ...
Are you just trying to make me angry? ;o)

Why can't we dust drop surplus enviro-nazi on fires (all enviro-nazi are surplus!)

8 posted on 10/09/2002 4:08:55 PM PDT by editor-surveyor
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To: editor-surveyor
Stop the attacks on our Freedoms by the wacko, extreme left-wing, lunatic fringe, dirt worshipping Green Jihadist, enviro-nazis terrorist's and their toadies in the media !!

Freedom Is Worth Fighting For !!

Molon Labe !!

Fighting Irresponsible Radical Environmentalism !!

9 posted on 10/09/2002 4:16:44 PM PDT by blackie
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To: JohnHuang2
Thanks John!

Here is the Burn Baby Burn Baby strategy right from the pink panty wearing Floristry Circus Klowns who were in charge of fires that happened in the former Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area:

These Druid Floristry Circus Klowns love Good Fires. A Good fire is categorized as a natural cause fire like one caused by lightening.

This mega disaster was totally predictable. First the enviral nazis close all roads into the Wilderness Area. Then they block any removal of dead trees and brush. After a decade or so this creates fuel for a massive fire bomb.

This is what happened this summer in what was the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits

Kalmiopsis Wilderness

"A area of wilderness....which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable..." (Wilderness Act, 1964)

What is a Prescribed Natural Fire?
This term no longer represents a type of fire and has no further use other than in historical descriptions. This term is replaced by Wildland Fire Use.

What is Wildland Fire Use?
The management of naturally ignited (usually lightning) Wildland Fires to accomplish specific prestated resource management objectives in predefined geographic areas outlined in Fire Management Plans. Wildland Fire Use is not to be confused with Fire Use, which is a broader term encompassing more than just Wildland Fires.

Wildland Fire Any nonstructure fire, other than Prescribed Fire, that occurs in the wildland. This term encompasses fires previously called both wildfires and prescribed natural fires.

Fire Use The combination of wildland fire use and prescribed fire application to meet resource objectives.
Wildfire An unwanted wildland fire (this is not a seperate type of fire)

Fire Management Plan A strategic plan that defines a program to manage wildland and and prescribed fires and documents the Fire Management Program in the approved land use plan. The plan is supplemented by operational plans such as preparedness plans, preplanned dispatch plans, prescribed fire plans, and prevention plans.
Prescribed Fire Any fire ignited by management actions to meet specific objectives. A written, aproved prescribed fire plan must exist. This term replaces management ignited prescribed fire.

The specific Resource Management Objectives for the Kalmiopsis Wilderness are:

Maintain the natural ecosystems of the area and allow fire to play its role in those ecosystems.

Reduce the risks and consequences of unwanted wildfire in the Wilderness and adjacent areas.

Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you prepare a Wilderness Fire Management Plan? The Siskiyou National Forest Land Management Plan directed that Wildland Fire Use be implemented for maintaining wilderness values and required that Wilderness Fire Management Direction be developed.

What is a "Natural Fire"? A natural fire is a fire that is started by natural causes. Lightning is the most common cause.

Why is there a need for Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits? The objective of this management program is to use "Nature's" ignitions to further an essential ecological process. Fire is a part of the natural process of the forest, some plants and animals depend on it for their survival and regeneration. The natural forest landscape was developed with periodic fires and many species are adapted to fire.

Will fires be allowed to burn outside the Kalmiopsis Wilderness boundary? At this time fires will be confined to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. In the future a decision considering the values outside the wilderness and the allocations in the Forest Land Management Plan may be made which will allow Wildland Fire Use, if compatible.

Won't Wildland Fire Use be dangerous for recreationists that are visiting the wilderness? No! The area where a fire is burning will be well signed and the recreationists can enjoy other parts of the wilderness without being threatened by a fire. Safe vantage points will be identified where the recreationists can view the fire and resulting ecological process.

How many fire per year do you expect there to be? Statistically the Kalmiopsis Wilderness has experienced less than one lightning fire per year during a period of fifty years. So less than one per year statistically, yet in reality lightning fires tend to come in groups. It may be possible to have more than one Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits. Many other factors go into the decision to declare a lightning ignition a Wildland Fire Use, such as drought conditions, distance from the wilderness boundary, available resources to manage the fire, regional and national fire situations, available funds and threat to improvements and private property.

Who pays the cost of Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits Management? The costs associated with this management are paid for by a mix of appropriated funds. Emergency Fire Suppression funds will not be used unless a fire is declared a wildfire (an unwanted wildland fire not designated and managed as a prescribed fire and requiring appropriate suppression action).

Will a Human-caused ignition (other than prescribed fire) always be declared an unwanted wildland fire and be extinguished? Yes! Human-caused ignitions will always be declared an unwanted wildland fire and be extinguished using the most cost-effective means than include the protection of the wilderness resource. Persons causing an ignition are liable for the costs associated with the damage and suppression costs. It is not acceptable to use a human-caused ignition as a Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits because of the liability issue and that human-caused ignitions are not natural and are a "trampling of the Wilderness by man".

Is this the same idea that was used for the Yellowstone fires a few years ago? No! After the Yellowstone fires, a National Task Force reviewed what was then called the Prescribed Natural Fire Policy. The result of that review decided to strengthen policies and include an analysis of all wilderness areas to decide the appropriate use of Prescribed Natural Fire. Since then, our knowledge base and tools for using natural fire have increased. The natural fire issue was analysed in the Siskiyou National Forest Land Management Plan and identified that implementing Wildland Fire Use was appropriate.

Will there be Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits in the other wildernesses on the Siskiyou National Forest? Yes! The Siskiyou and Red Buttes Wildernesses are being considered for Wildland Fire Use. The Rogue River National Forest has the lead responsibility for developing the plan for the Red Buttes and the Klamath National Forest has the responsibility for the Siskiyou Wilderness. The Grassy Knob and the Wild Rogue Wildernesses are not being considered at this time but will be in the future. Problems associated with the Grassy Knob and the Wild Rogue are size, adjacent management allocations and private lands threatened with the use of Wildland Fire.

How do you manage an ignition as a Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits? The decision to manage a natural ignition as a Wildland Fire Use is done in three seperate stages. The first considers: time of year, projected weather conditions, dollars, resource availability, risk and location. If the ignition is identified as a potential Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits in the first stage, a second site specific analysis considers in detail: weather, topography, seasonal condition and risk. Once the Forest Supervisor decides to manage the ignition as a Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits, a validation process takes place as often as needed.

Will smoke degrade the visibility in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, a Class 1 airshed? Smoke from naturally occurring ignitions and wildland fires are exempt from the Clean Air standards. The thinking is that wildland fire is part of the ecosystem.

Will Fires be used as a management tool, for example to improve wildlife habitat, reduce natural debris buildup, provide visual variety, etc? The objective of Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits in wilderness is to allow natural caused fires to play their natural ecological role within the wilderness. This reduces the risk and consequences of a wildfire within or excaping from wilderness. This will produce many benefits including those mentioned in the question.

Why do you allow a fire to burn the wilderness and ruin the beauty? Wilderness is a place where the natural forces dominate the landscape and where human influence does not interfere. Natural fire, lightning, is a natural process that will define the landscape and ecological processes. It is fire that created the beauty and diversity in the first place.

Does Smokey Bear know about Wildland Fire Use for Resource Benefits? Smokey Bear has always had the message "Prevent Wildfire". What Smokey has been telling us is to prevent the human-caused fires. Nine out of 10 ignitions are Human-caused. Lightning is a type of ignition that we cannot prevent. In the wilderness, fire plays an important ecological role in sustaining healthy forest ecosystems.

10 posted on 10/09/2002 4:26:42 PM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: JohnHuang2; EBUCK; blackie; dixiechick2000; AuntB; wanderin; justshe; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...
Here is the hard to find map of the former Kalmiopsis Wilderness, showing how much of the wilderness was burned.

The Floristry Circus Klowns are removing these maps as fast as they can. The last map showing Burned areas was on 25 August and the Fire was not out of control supposedly until 5 September.

They were still sending the big fire fighting helicopters up with huge buckets of water two weeks ago this Friday. My wife and I were on the lower Rogue River on that date and saw a hugh helicopter carry a huge bucket of water up to douse something.

Below is the map before it disappears that show how much of the former Kalmiopsis Wilderness was burnt as of 25 August 2002.

The broken red line is the boundary of the former Kalmiopsis Wilderness. There wasn't much that wasn't burnt as of 25 August. It is still burning and will burn until the heavy October/November rains come.

11 posted on 10/09/2002 4:44:50 PM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: JohnHuang2
Here is a little gem that the Enviral ridden Floristry Circus Klowns would like for everyone to forget:

(Fire officials have acknowledged a request was made to attempt to extinguish the Biscuit Fire when it was only 100 acres, but that request was turned down.)

12 posted on 10/09/2002 4:57:54 PM PDT by Grampa Dave
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To: Grampa Dave
13 posted on 10/09/2002 5:02:27 PM PDT by madfly
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To: editor-surveyor
Why can't we dust drop surplus enviro-nazi on fires (all enviro-nazi are surplus!)

No! This will deplete the supply of enviros.
We must institute a conservation program.
Who knows how many we will need to plug the hole in the ozone layer? ;o)

14 posted on 10/09/2002 6:10:29 PM PDT by sistergoldenhair
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To: editor-surveyor
I vote for that!
15 posted on 10/09/2002 6:43:38 PM PDT by goodieD
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To: editor-surveyor
16 posted on 10/09/2002 7:05:27 PM PDT by mafree
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To: JohnHuang2
Sarah Foster did an excellent job with this. I worked on another aspect of the problem today - prevention of catastrophic loss of life and property through fuel reduction.

I thought you might be interested in some of the problems the Forest Service encounters in our area in thinning trees. (1) Wild and Scenic Rivers - no logging in the viewshed; (2)Endangered Species and Special species of concern - salamanders can only be surveyed for when it is warm and wet, spotted owls require hooting during two nesting seasons (2 years), mollusks must be surveyed for in both spring and fall, voles must be surveyed for, actions within coho critical habitat would a biological consultation and mitigation plan, Port Orford Cedar mitigations would need to be considered, and a marbled murrelet survey would have to be done. (Years ago, a contractor surveyor supposedly spotted one murrelet - a seabird. Although the individual bird he spotted was the wrong color. Neveretheless, surveys now must be done for every activity.

Now you have done all the biological survey work, you must consider how the thinning activity will effect sedimentation and cover under the Clean Water Act Total Maximum Daily Load limitations for the river. Then, if you plan to prescribe burn, you need to consider air quality rules. Staffing must also be considered. Generally, they thin, mechanically treat the slash and prescribe burn the undergrowth. Your air quality time period window for burning is generally in wet periods of spring and fall after/before snow. Unfortunately, your fire crew is seasonal and would not be on staff during that period.

So we work all this out an dot all the is and cross all the t's and we get the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) document for the planned action written and released for public comment. This is when we hear from all the envirals. Next, a decision is made to go ahead. Now we see the cycle of appeals.

Finaly, we get through it all (hopefully before it burns.) The project is put out for bid. If there was any salvage wood from prior fires, it probably has blue stain or some other rot that makes it unmarketable. The logging company may have to do work on the roads to bring it up to sunff for their trucks. That comes out of their profit. If any big logs come out of it, there are no nearby mills that take that kind of timber. They have been shut down, like Hi Ridge was. The cost of hauling the big logs to Eugene, etc., comes out of profit and the jobs for those millworkers are no longer in local communities.

What about smaller trees - well, we are in luck for some species. There is still a local plywood mill that will buy that.

Anyway, you get the drift. Doesn't mean we won't still try our damndest to do these preventative fuel reduction treatments. We did have some limited projects scheduled for this past fiscal year, but they pulled all the funding for that and road mnaintenance to fight the fires.

What do we need? We need a change in policy that will clearly prioritize the safety of humans and their property above all the rest. You know what? If you really pin the envirals down, they probably won't agree to that. Because if they did, they wouldn't be obstructing the Presidents Forest Plan.

17 posted on 10/09/2002 9:30:17 PM PDT by marsh2
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To: editor-surveyor
18 posted on 10/10/2002 3:10:11 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: editor-surveyor; Uncle Bill
The Something Undermining Our Nation
Memory BTTT.
19 posted on 10/12/2002 4:00:02 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: stalin
Wouldn't want you to miss this one.
20 posted on 10/13/2002 3:19:19 PM PDT by farmfriend
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