28 Mar 2008, 4:45am
Federal forest policy The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

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.

For some press reports confirming all of the above see:

Scorched Earth Policy — The Eugene Weekly [here]

It’s already time to start planning for fire season. It’s always that time if you’re involved in fire management in the West. The “Scorched Earth” panel at last weekend’s Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) at UO discussed how fires, from small prescribed burns to enormous “megafires,” are dealt with by firefighters, managers and scientists. The panelists also talked about a soon-to-be-released fire management policy.

Timothy Ingalsbee of FUSEE (Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology; the acronym also refers a pyrotechnic device) organized the panel and led off the discussion on “Appropriate Management Response” (AMR) to wildland fires. AMR, according to Ingalsbee, “expands the strategic and tactical options for fire managers so they can choose from a full spectrum of potential actions — everything from aerial monitoring to aggressive suppression can be used to manage wildland fires.” …

FUSEE Airs Out AMR Policy Debate at AFE Fire Conference — FUSEE Blogspot [here]

The Association for Fire Ecology’s annual regional conference just concluded. It’s conference on “Fire in the Southwest: Integrating Fire into Management of Changing Ecosystems” brought together over 350 fire scientists, managers, and other interested persons to share the latest research findings and scientific knowledge of wildland fire. Over 125 oral presentations and 60 poster displays were offered, and Leon Neueschwander, emeritus professor from the University of Idaho’s excellent fire science program, was presented with AFE’s lifetime achievement award.

FUSEE members were out in force at the conference. We had our poster display and literature table strategically placed next to the bar where we recruited several new members and made lots of great new contacts. FUSEE’s executive director, Dr. Timothy Ingalsbee, gave an oral presentation on the concept of Appropriate Management Response. His talk was titled, “Begging the Question: Appropriate Management Response as a Toolbox vs. Tautology: Integrating Safety, Ethical, and Ecological Sideboards into AMR.” …

Forest Service aims to fight fire with new tools — The Missoulian [here]

WASHINGTON - With an intense fire season under way, the U.S. Forest Service is employing some new tools and strategies to fight wildfires in the West, said Marc Rounsaville, the agency’s deputy director for fire and aviation management.

In a wide-ranging interview Monday, Rounsaville said indexes show the wildfire season is running two to three weeks ahead of schedule in some parts of the West. The most recent updates show an above-normal potential for fire during the next 30 days in southwestern Montana. …

Lately, Forest Service officials have talked about implementing a policy of “appropriate management response,” or AMR, to give them more flexibility in firefighting decisions. …

Forest Service officials address misconceptions about AMR and structure protection — Clark Fork Chronicle [here]

U.S. Forest Service officials will not formally respond to recommendations that Montana fire chiefs offered last month to the legislature’s interim study committee. But officials emphasized to the Chronicle that the protection of homes and outbuildings–structure protection–remains near the very top of firefighters’ priorities. …

Frenchtown Fire’s Scott Waldron appeared in Helena earlier this month to present the state fire chiefs’ report, and offered his perspective on the Black Cat Fire in response to the committee’s questions. He alleged that Forest Service firefighters were not allowed to engage in structure protection, and testified that the agency’s policy of “Appropriate Management Response” could endanger communities. …

Forest Service updates Commissioners on firefighting strategies — the Challis Messenger [here]

As wildfires have grown larger, more intense and dangerous, the U.S. Forest Service has been spending up to 45 percent of its budget on firefighting and has had to change its attack strategy in the last 5 to 10 years. …

These and other factors are weighed when deciding whether to aggressively attack a fire or pull back and monitor its progress, he said. The agency also considers fuels, time of year, fire danger and available firefighting resources in planning its strategy. …

Wood said the AMR strategy is not a “Let it Burn” policy, because the agency still manages wildfires. Commission Chairman Wayne Butts said he interprets it as “Let it Burn” but with an emphasis on safety. “Exactly,” Wood said. …

Federal Fire Management Changing Direction, But More Work is Necessary — The Wilderness Society [here]

The Fiscal Year 2008 Forest Service budget proposes some important shifts in the way fire is managed, introducing the concept of a “risk-based fire suppression approach.” This means that wildland fires would be suppressed on a priority basis as determined by considering private property, infrastructure and human values at greatest risk and setting suppression priorities accordingly (this strategy is also sometimes referred to as “Appropriate Management Response” or “AMR”). The main reason the agency cites for making this change is to reduce suppression costs. …

The agency must:

Ensure that adequate monitoring is in place to evaluate, and adapt if necessary, this new “risk-based suppression” approach.

Recognize that managing fire in this way is not only good economically, but good ecologically. That means that Wildland Fire Use (WFU), the practice of actively managing naturally-burning fires in designated sections of forests to accomplish resource management goals, must be an explicit component of this new “risk-based suppression approach” (or AMR). WFU is widely accepted by scientists, policymakers and land managers as an important tool not only to help mitigate the escalating costs of fire suppression, but also to help restore forest ecosystems and make them more resilient. The Forest Service’s FY08 budget recognizes that WFU needs to be expanded to reduce suppression costs, but the ecological values of WFU also need to be reinforced.

Integrate non-federal stakeholders, particularly from those communities that will be impacted by these management changes on federal lands. That means that community fire assistance programs will be increasingly critical; however, the proposed funding for these programs continues to decline in FY2008.

28 Mar 2008, 5:01am
by Mike


Eleven eco green wildlife lover groups sued to halt the delisting of Rocky Mtn. wolves. Dozens of environmental preservation groups have sued to stop the evil Bush Administration from thinning forests and managing fuels under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act. Hundreds (thousands?) of do-gooder charitable organizations have sued under NEPA and the ESA to protect jumping mice, frogs, snail darters, spotted owls, etc. etc.

Americans love their wildlife and respect and support those wonderful organizations that go all out to save whales, polar bears, prairie dogs, and all the other wonderful creatures that roam God’s Green Earth and that are so frightfully endangered by ugly, greedy human beings.

So how many of those animal loving groups will sue to stop whoofoos?

iven all the violations of every environmental law that the USFS Whoofoo Program commits, and the terrible fires that will result (that have been resulting from trial runs of whoofoos), how many of the environmental watchdogs groups are going to sue to save spotted owls et al from holocausts?

If you guessed none, you win a stuffed polar bear!!!

The “watchdogs” sue to encourage fires, to ban fire retardant, to hamstring firefighters, to stop forest health projects and responsible forest stewardship. They WANT our forests to BURN, BABY, BURN, no matter what the laws say, no matter how many cute and fuzzy creatures are incinerated, no matter how much habitat is lost, no matter how fouled and polluted the air and waters of this county become.

Those are the facts. The harsh reality. Just what I’ve been telling you.

The forestry colleges are filled with un-foresters who desperately desire raging holocausts that incinerate forests. They want to crawl around in the tick brush below charred and blackened snags to count the red stem germinants under the brush. And then they declare, “See the new forest rising out of the ashes!” except it’s not a new forest but permanent tick brush, and the old forest, the old-growth ancient forest that existed for millennia, is dead.

Ugly but true. Everything I’ve written on this blog for two and a half years, as un-PC and disturbing as it has been, has been true.

I’ve caught a lot of grief for telling the truth. I am a pariah in many circles, slandered and libeled every day. But I also am a prophet of sorts. And I have been dead on, right on the money, exactly correct in all my assessments and predictions.

This fight is not over. I will save our sacred forests. It’s not over until I decide it’s over, and I am not there yet. Can one disturbing pariah make a difference in a battle against corrupt Federal bureaucracies and mighty arsonist BINGOs? Maybe not, but maybe so. All I can say is, it’s not over.

28 Mar 2008, 11:02am
by Joe B.


Which 15 forest are they? I just want to know where the smoke will be coming from.

28 Mar 2008, 12:57pm
by Mike


Excellent question. My sources did not reveal that information. We should find out tomorrow. Here is a short list of my suspicions:

Rogue River-Siskiyou
Payette
Gila
Bitterroot
Salmon-Challis
Boise
Lolo
Nez Perce
Shoshone
Dixie
Deschutes
Okanogan-Wenatchee
Kaibab
Wallowa-Whitman

But those are just guesses. We’ll see how good I can guess tomorrow, I hope. Next week at the latest.

28 Mar 2008, 1:14pm
by Joe B.


Well if those happen to be the ones, I guess it will be more of the same for me. I’ll let you know what it is like to be surrounded completely by firestorms, but I think I’ll fill up my super soaker water guns just in case. That way, I’ll be better prepared than the fire watchers. Cuz if those are the ones, I can’t go east Salmon-Challis, I can’t go South Boise, I can’t go north or west Payette, can’t go north Nez Perce or west Wallowa Whitman. Maybe I can escape to the Sawtooth, but they don’t take to riff raff. I’m practicing my Thurston Howell III impersonation as we speak, Lovey.

28 Mar 2008, 3:02pm
by Forrest Grump


Let it burn — safely. J h fin C. In other words, the USFS is rolling over like a whipped puppy. Congress won’t change the laws, and the USFS leadership is too gutless (or too close to Pension Day) to call a pulaski a pulaski. What a crime.

29 Mar 2008, 9:29am
by Mike


Note to Timbo: have you connected the dots yet?

29 Mar 2008, 9:36pm
by bear bait


I counted cars of lumber as the train went by my house this afternoon. All Weyerhauser lumber. This train starts just south of Portland and comes down the west side of the Willamette River to Corvallis and then turns east to Albany where it merges with the UP mainline. There are only a couple of mills on the whole of the Oregon coast now. This railroad serves a goodly portion of the north Coast Range’s east side. No Hampton lumber. No plywood anymore. Just paper from the mill in Newberg, empty gondolas for scrap metal going south to get more, no poles or piling, Canadian Pacific grain hopper cars, most likely hauling nitrogen fertilizer from the gas fields of Canada to farm supply outfits. Imported fertilizer, scrap iron, and the lumber monopoly. That is the economic activity on this line. The north-bound train just went by and it was scrap iron to the mill in Mac, empty high wall box cars for the paper mill, and five empty “A” frame lumber cars. A short train tonight. Maybe 25 cars. The recession is picking up steam.

My wife promotes a home and garden show, and gave a press release from which to transfer data to the newspaper, but the Statesman-Journal screwed up the dates. So when the S-J or any other newspaper puts thoughts and purported facts in print, you have to know that they have a terrible time just copying information, let alone interviewing people or reading facts and being able to transcribe them. It is a stretch for them anymore to copy material. So you have to read what any news release says with the thought that someone might have messed up in reporting the facts as they were told to them, or even from prepared statements.

I read the Concerned Science comments and critique on the BLM plan to log more O&C timber. What I read in the scientists’ comments and what was reported in the newspaper did not quite jive. The green journalists are spooning with anybody who would criticize a government plan from the lackeys of the Bush administration. Most of the criticism they printed was opinions on models and word use, misinterpretations of data. Uninspired in my mind. Bill Clinton asking what “is” is. Parsing words, phrases, concepts. Smarty pants science.

The Science Team as quoted was especially critical of the use of words or phrases that either they did not know the meaning of or were not in the glossary of the Plan. There was a lot of Clintonesque parsing of words as to their “true” meaning and detailed accounts of disagreement as to the meaning of certain scientific phrases and words. My, my. Ruby Ruth Smith, my high school English teacher, would have had a grand old time setting the boys and girls straight on the use of language, even the stellar members of the review board that the Oregonian reported were not happy with the BLM document. With that in mind, I will wait for the 15 forests to be incinerated report to appear and read it.

On the BLM O&C logging acceleration plan, even the Honorable Curmudgeon De Fazio, D. Oregon, US House of Representations, reported he was livid about the language of the BLM Plan. Reporting that De Fazio was not happy with something has to be a waste of time and newsprint. De Fazio has yet to be happy with anything. Nor has he ever produced a lasting piece of environmental legislation that was in the least bit kind to his District. He would be happiest sitting through a Right Reverend Wright left wing racist God Damn America sermon if he could go somewhere right afterwards and whine to the press corps about his opinion regarding how bad we treat people of color in these United States. Last I heard, there was no affirmative action help for white males in these United States while the treasury has expended trillions on such gratuities to minorities since the Johnson Administration.

So, in the vein of the Right Reverend Wright’s ability to garner the support of such a qualified and morally upright citizen legislator as the Honorable Barack Husssein Obama, US Senator from Illinois, who is a leading candidate to be on the November ballot for the office of President of the United States of America, I want to address the USFS and other Federal government agencies wanting to burn our forests in order to save them… some money. It’s Viet Nam all over again: destroy the village to save it from the communists. Uh huh, incinerate the forests to keep them from loggers or restorers. To the USFS I say:

GOD DAMN THE US FOREST SERVICE. YOU AND YOUR INTER-AGENCY BEDFELLOWS, AND ALL THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO INCINERATE FORESTS AND THE LAST OF THE OLD GROWTH, GOD DAMN YOU, YOUR SUBORDINATES, AND THE VERY OFFICES AND CHAIRS YOU SIT YOUR SORRY BUTTS ON. YOU ARE AGAINST RURAL PEOPLE. OUR INTENTIONS ARE TO DRIVE ALL PEOPLE OFF THE LAND WITH YOUR ELITIST PROGRAMS. GOD DAMN YOUR FAKE SCIENCE AND YOUR HATE FOR HONEST PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE FORESTS ARE VALUABLE FOR MANY REASONS, MANY USES, AND SHOULD BE PROTECTED FROM WILDFIRE. GOD DAMN YOU FOR OPPOSING JUDICIOUS USE OF ALL THE TOOLS AVAILABLE RESTORE HERITAGE FORESTS WITH OPEN CANOPIES, LARGE TREES, AS WELL AS OPENINGS. GOD DAMN YOUR CRIMINAL INTENTIONS TO BE GOVERNMENT SANCTIONED ARSONISTS. YOU ARE NOW WORTHLESS PIMPLES ON THE BEHINDS OF SOCIETY. GOD DAMN YOU FOR WAGING WAR AGAINST THE RURAL POOR AND GOD DAMN YOU FOR NOT DEFENDING OUR JOBS AND LIVELIHOODS. GOD DAMN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE.

That kind of talk is evidently the moral high ground Senator Obama resides upon, so he should take my words to heart, and if elected President, should strive to ask me about guiding his public policy. He might say my words are too strong and he must reject their tenor, but he should respect my opinion and take it to his heart. Either that, or he is a horse’s ass and so am I. Or at the least, Obama is a flaming hypocrite. That I am not.

By the way, do you know the difference between a left behind DeFazio and a left behind puppy? The puppy will quit whining after a short while.

29 Sep 2010, 10:11pm
by scott


Spot on Mike. Keep up the good fight. Don’t ever say “it’s over.” And let it be known here and now, those of us who think like you are no longer afraid to let our voices be heard. The tyrannical minority has ruled us for long enough and burned all our forests to the ground.

It is high time to give the people who used to manage things another shot.

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