20 Jan 2008, 5:08pm
Saving Forests
by admin

Fire Suppression Is Not To Blame

This morning I read a dead tree press article about defensible space. The article was okay, but the reporter felt compelled to add the usual PC canard about fire suppression having caused fuel build-ups.

I’m not going to link to the article because I don’t want to embarrass the reporter. There was nothing special about his remark; it’s a common misstatement and falsehood. I could cite thousands of other, similar utterances, probably millions if I had the desire and capital to do it.

Far better (and cheaper) would be to quash this canard once and for all.

Fire suppression, throughout its entire history, has not added one ounce of fuel to the environment. Not even a microgram of fuel has been added by fire suppression.

The culprit is photosynthesis. All the biomass in the Biosphere got there directly or indirectly via photosynthesis. There is an exception: sulfur bacteria growing near undersea vents, but besides that paltry scum, the rest of Life is photosynthetic in origin or dependency.

Reducing, hamstringing, and/or banning fire suppression altogether will not solve our fire crisis. Withholding fire suppression will not stop any fires.

It’s the biotic fuels that are burning, and they got there via photosynthesis.

Another non-solution to our fire crisis would be to attempt to eliminate photosynthesis. This would be an impossible task, for Life is Resilient. If it could be done, it would also have the unintended consequence of killing off all oxygen-dependent life forms, including you and me.

Interestingly, there are a few spots where mankind has nearly eliminated photosynthesis. The Los Angeles Basin comes to mind. In LA the roadside and sidewalk vegetation is made of plastic, because real trees won’t grow there anymore. The Los Angeles Basin is a net oxygen depleter, an oxygen sink, a photosynthetic black hole.

If photosynthetically-produced oxygen didn’t diffuse into LA from elsewhere on the planet, everybody there would suffocate and die.

Ditto Washington D.C. Far more hot gases are expelled in D.C. than the weeds in the concrete or the moss under the eaves can even begin to fix.

Fortunately (in my opinion, I don’t know about yours) 99.99+ percent of the Earth’s surface is not like LA or D.C.

That leaves us with the only viable (and rational) solution to our fire crisis problem: manipulate the fuels.

That was what the article mentioned in the beginning of this essay was all about. Defensible space is achieved by manipulating the fuels.

That means manipulating photosynthesis, too. Fixation of carbon and the production of oxygen are good and worthwhile features of the environment; the idea is to have photosynthesis happen in the appropriate plants in the appropriate places. And to tend those plants, disposing of the excess biomass on a regular maintenance schedule.

The purpose (one of them, anyway) of manipulating fuels (including green plants) is to prevent catastrophic fires that destroy landscapes, habitats, homes, and lives.

There is too much of that happening now. Nationally, nearly ten million acres have burned in wildfires in each of the last two years. Thousands of homes have burned in megafires emanating from unkempt and fuel-laden public lands. Dozens of lives have been lost. Millions of acres of wildlife habitat, terrestrial and aquatic, has been seared, polluted, and converted to fire-type brush, which will only breed more wildfires.

Defensible space extends to the entire landscape. It is not functional and will not succeed if applied only to private properties. More than half of our western landscapes are public land. Defensible space needs to be applied there, too.

We desire fire-safe biota, but that’s an oxymoron. Biomass burns. To achieve a landscape where photosynthesis is rampant and catastrophic fires rare, we need to continually manipulate the fuels and the plants. Both grow back. We need to deal with the paired phenomena of photosynthesis and biomass combustion on an annual basis.

One way to manipulate fuels and maintain biomass at safe levels is to dispose of the excess today, and then broadcast burn safely on a regular, seasonal schedule (I call that prepared anthropogenic fire).

That method doesn’t work on private land, but it could work on some public lands. (On private land we pile and burn on a regular, seasonal schedule).

That method (I call it restoration forestry but I’m open to other monikers) is especially well-suited to public lands if the mission is to protect, maintain, and perpetuate photosynthesis, native ecosystems, old-growth forests, abundant wildlife (including rare species), clean and abundant water, history, scenery, recreation, and other public land values. We need to tend our public lands as well as our private lands, or the former will explode into megafires and do irreparable harm to both.

But we’ll never get there if the Mass Consciousness has been dulled into thinking fire suppression causes or fuels fires.

Photosynthesis is to blame, and stewardship is the adaptive solution.

21 Jan 2008, 1:32pm
by Forrest Grump

I got a real cynical cackle out of what is happening now with the millions to be spent on the beetle kill in Colorado.

Those with a clue have seen this coming for years. But rather than look to ways to capture the energy, and value, et cetera in order to minimize fiscal and environmental impacts, now there’s this giant dump into the waste hopper — and that includes the money that great hero Wayne Allard gouged from the national treasury. Cheeze.

21 Jan 2008, 7:00pm
by Mike

Grump, how much of the $12 mill (or whatever it is) in emergency beetle funds do you predict will actually be spent on on-the-ground forest management activities?

I speculate that none will be, but I’m interested in your forecast.

21 Jan 2008, 11:27pm
by Forrest Grump

Four million dollars, four thousand acres. The rest will be dithered away into nothingness as well as new Tasers.

21 Jan 2008, 11:42pm
by Mike

But there’s 1.5 million acres of beetle-infested forest in Colorado. 4,000 acres is only about a quarter of one percent of that. What would be the point?

Maybe it would be more useful to spend the whole amount on Tasers and ninja-trained bodyguards, to protect the political elite from angry citizens.

22 Jan 2008, 12:28am
by Backcut


Now this is going to put a dent in the enviros plans to turn all of our western forests into dripping rainforests. As soon as all this climate change stuff is fixed, we’ll all have another Amazon, right here in our own country! And then, all the foresters can corner the market on hacky-sacks and make a better living than they ever thought they could.

22 Jan 2008, 12:21pm
by Mike

Climate “change” is the new lingo, ever since global warming jumped the shark.

There has been no warming since 1999 and strong evidence that global cooling has begun in earnest.


(CNN) — Bitter cold gripped most of the United States on Monday, with temperatures dipping below normal from coast to coast.

Temperatures in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains were about 30 degrees below normal, CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider said.

“It’s very hard to find any part of the country that’s warm,” Schneider said.

The CONSENSUS is that hysterical global warming alarmists were dead wrong about everything. Now they seek sanctuary in climate “change” because it’s fuzzy and non-specific. A vague chimera.

But that’s all that Al Gore and UN dictators need to shut down American industry and economic activity worldwide.

A vague chimera. A puff of wind. A haze that may or may not be visible to the naked eye. A dream, an illusion, a parlor trick performed by Uncle Al before the kiddies go to bed.

22 Jan 2008, 2:58pm
by Forrest Grump

Ah, Kamerad Miksha, you UNDERSTAND the Dialectic. The semantic subtleties, the Orwellian (peace be upon him) twisting of language. For example, skeptic into Denier? Da, is goot.

22 Jan 2008, 5:44pm
by Mike

What I understand is that graft and corruption are what our government is by, of, and for. The Dialectic is just a cover story to distract citizens away from the thieves looting the Treasury.



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