The South Barker WFU Fire

On August 7th a thunderstorm passed over the Sawtooth National Forest. Lightning struck and a tree burst into flames about a mile north of Featherville in Elmore County, Idaho. For four days the fire smoldered.

The Sawtooth NF officials could have sent a fire crew in to douse the flames. It would have cost a few thousand dollars to extinguish the tiny blaze. But they chose not to, and instead declared the South Barker Fire to be a “wildland fire use” (WFU) fire.

By that date the USFS had spent its entire 2008 fire budget and was transferring funds from other programs. The Sawtooth NF was well aware of this. Sawtooth NF officials were quoted in the Idaho Mountain Express in a story dated Aug 15th [here]:

“We were notified about two weeks ago, around Aug. 4, that fire transfer was imminent,” said the Sawtooth National Forest’s Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson. … “We’re doing fire borrowing,” said Sawtooth National Forest spokeswoman Alicia Bennett. “It’s the first time we’ve done this since 1995.” … “Each region is given the amount of money they have to come up with,” Bennett said. “Then the region tells each of the forests what their share of the regional amount is. Right now we really don’t know what the forest share is.” … “It’s coming out of everybody’s budget,” Bennett said. … “At this point the option the agency has in terms of protective fire costs, we have to look at how we’re going to cover that shortfall and that’s to use the transfer authority and shift money from other programs to cover the estimated fire suppression cost,” Nelson said.

Despite the budget crisis, Sawtooth NF Supervisor Jane Kollmeyer approved the WFU designation on the South Barker Fire.

This morning the South Barker WFU was a reported 32,244 acres (50 square miles) in size and has cost $3,065,807 for “monitoring” to date.

All this is according to plan. The Sawtooth NF has been planning for the South Barker WFU for quite sometime. They have altered their Fire Plan to include WFU. They have mapped a 109,752 acre area they wish to burn, known as the Maximum Manageable Area. They have staffed and trained fire “monitoring” teams known as Fire Use Modules.

Unfortunately most of the public is unaware of these plans and alterations because they were made in secret. There was no NEPA process. The Sawtooth NF never issued an Environmental Impact Statement, never offered alternatives, never engaged the public in scoping or evaluation of their WFU program.

The Sawtooth NF knows what NEPA is. They went through a NEPA process when they decided to allow a communications tower to be built. They went through NEPA when they altered their road plan. But for megafire incineration of over 100,000 acres, the Sawtooth thumbed their collective noses at NEPA.

As a consequence the public never had any say so or input into the WFU program on the Sawtooth NF. The South Barker WFU has been imposed without any consideration or concern for public involvement.

And the public is understandably upset about that. In particular, those who have worked in and lived next to the Sawtooth NF for decades are aghast and irate. A series of letters from Glenn Bradley, a retired Forest Supervisor who grew up on the Sawtooth NF where his father was a District Ranger, expresses that anger:

August 15th — to Tom Harbour, Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the Forest Service in Washington D.C.

Hi Tom

The attached two news articles from the Twin Falls paper make me feel sick about the Forest Service action on these fires.  I have seen the smoke from my house each afternoon and I am having great difficulty understanding why these fires were not attacked when they were single-tree fires.  Now, a national team has been called in, the heart of the Fairfield District is under threat, and gobs of money will be wasted.

For contrast, in 1946, on a very hot August afternoon, a fire started in this same drainage.  Five employees from the Shake Creek Ranger Station responded.  My mother called the six man crew from Dave Stokesberry’s sawmill at Featherville.  A few other residents of Featherville were called.  My job as a ten year old boy was to take the standby horse from the barn, ride to the fire, and carry waterbags around it to give the men a drink.  The fire ran to about 80 acres that afternoon, but we all worked through the night and by morning we had a line around it.  It was before chain saws, fire engines, and retardant planes.  Our only motorized equipment was a Pacific Marine portable pump which was put to good use.

Some would argue that fuel conditions are tougher now, but the paper quotes the Forest Service as saying neither of the two original fires last week “showed much potential to spread”.  I think the difference in these cases is that we wanted to stop the fire in 1946 before it became a major destroyer of resources and a great waster of money.

Something has got to be done to change this kind of management.  A Red Flag weather day is not the time to be waiting to see what will happen when a fire takes off.  You may be the one person who is in a position to get the change started.

We hope you are doing okay and we send our best personal regards.

Glenn

August 21 — to Jane Kollmeyer

Hi Jane

As you suggested, I have been watching the NIFC situation report. Obviously, the people who enter the data do not know the country and cannot read a map. Last night they had the fire located 5 miles northwest of Rocky Bar. Today it is two miles east of Fairfield. I wonder where it will show up next.

That kind of haphazard reporting surely doesn’t build any public confidence.

I note that the acreage is now over 7,000 and the cost is over $1,000,000. I hope there are some benefits.

Has it reached the plantations in upper Marsh Creek? Those came at a high cost about fifty years ago. The next ones just over the hill in Shake Creek may be vulnerable, too. Both involved my sweat.

The information calls it mostly an underburn, but my friends in Featherville tell me it was hot enough to jump the South Boise River near the Bird Creek Campground. That doesn’t sound like a well-behaving underburn.

Just in case you are getting reports to the contrary, the people along the river, while well-behaved at your public meetings, are living in fear and disgust. They cannot understand why you would undertake a burning project like this in the worst part of the fire season with little or no preparation. They know that the two fires could have been put out immediately with very little cost when they first started. They cannot understand why the Forest Service would choose to unnecessarily spend well over a million dollars when the budget was already depleted. They do not agree that turning one of the most beautiful river canyons in Idaho black is a benefit.

I agree that since the vast reduction of sheep grazing, there are areas where brush has completely taken over. Some controlled burning in those areas under favorable conditions would be appropriate.

Most of the area of south-facing slopes on the river canyon are just now recovering from the impact of heavy sheep trailing in the early 20th century. To bare them up now with fire will destroy many years of progress toward soil stability.

My recommendation is that you swallow hard, admit that allowing this fire to burn was a mistake, and do everything you can to put it out before more unnecessary damage is done.

Let me know if you have questions.

Glenn

August 28 — to Tom Harbour, Jane Kollmeyer, and Mike Dettori, Fairfield District Ranger, Sawtooth NF

Dear Mike, Jane, and Tom

Today was my father’s birthday.  I can promise you he would turn over in his grave if he knew what you are doing to his old ranger district on the Sawtooth Forest at Shake Creek.

Tonight I feel trapped.  The smoke to the north from the South Barker WFU fire blocks the horizon.  The smoke to the south from the Jarbidge fire makes a wall separating us from Nevada and Utah.

Assemblyman John Carpenter from Elko said it politely today in the Twin Falls paper by stating that “Anyone who lets a fire burn in August in Nevada is crazy.”  The same is true of tinder-dry forests in southern Idaho.

The reporting in the NIFC situation report has been completely dishonest by stating that the South Barker fire is “meeting objectives” every day.  Jane, you told me a little over a week ago that your objective was to burn 1000 acres per year in the area of the South Barker fire for the next four years.  As of this morning you are 24 years ahead of schedule!  I can tell by today’s smoke that you will be well beyond that tomorrow morning.

The other flagrant dishonesty is that no costs are being reported for resource losses.  The height of the smoke column tells me that some trees are burning.  The fact that it has now run at least a dozen miles through very steep, granitic soil guarantees that some very significant watershed damage has occurred.  The closure of one of the most heavily-used recreation drainages for several weeks is an important current loss.  The fact that you have ruined the air quality for visitors in the Sawtooth Valley is another cost.  I won’t speculate on what the long-term losses of visual quality are in one of the most beautiful valleys in Idaho, but I don’t have high hopes.

I fully understand the need to treat fuels to improve the health of the forest.  I don’t understand destroying the forest to do it.  For the cost of a match, you could have set a controllable fire to meet your objectives in October.  There was no need to use the lightning fire just because it was there.

In my opinion, letting a fire like the South Barker burn in mid-August when it could have been easily extinguished, should be punishable as arson.  Starting a fire or letting a fire burn without a reasonable expectation of being able to control where it goes it not fire management.  It is waste of resources and complete disregard for what the Forest Service was established to do.  This has got to stop!

Glenn

These are strong words, but they are not capricious. Tom Harbour is the author of the “Wildland Fire Use, Implementation Procedures Reference Guide,” the instruction manual for WFU. In the Foreword to that document Mr. Harbour wrote:

Prior to implementing wildland fire use under the standards in the 2005 Guide, local units must have ensured compliance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements.

Mr. Harbour is fully aware that not even the slightest effort at compliance with NEPA, NHPA, ESA, or any other law governing USFS actions has been attempted in regards to WFU. Supervisor Kollmeyer knowingly violated those laws when she signed the directive that designated the South Barker Fire as a WFU. Ranger Dettori is also aware that no EA, EIS, or other NEPA document or process accompanied the changes in the Sawtooth Fire Plan.

In any case, the real complaint is with the action, not the individuals. The individuals are just following orders, orders issued by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council, the Federal Advisory Committee that oversees the National Fire Plan. The WFLC is dominated by “environmental” lobbyists, specifically The Wilderness Society and The Nature Conservancy. The lowest forms of political chicanery and subversion by anti-forest groups have perpetrated all this destruction, see [here].

Mr. Bradley, author of the above letters, responded to charges of disloyalty to the USFS as follows:

August 28 — to “A Critic”

Dear Jack,

I feel very strongly that the wrong decision was made in this case. My criticism is of the decision and not the people. Mike Dettori is the Ranger I know best on the Sawtooth and I think a lot of him. I’m not even sure if he made the decision to let the fire go or if it was Jane Kollmeyer’s. I don’t even want to know. I just want them to get this one stopped and to never let another fire go under conditions that allow no chance to predict where it might stop.

Jane told me the plan they had in place was to burn 1000 acres per year over the next four years. As of this morning, they were reporting 31,744 acres burned. I saw a figure last night that indicated someone had determined it would be okay now to burn up to 109,000 acres! They were also reporting that it was within a short distance of structures and Forest Service improvements. That has to be the private development near Big Smoky and the development on the upper South Fork of the Boise. If those reports are true, the fire has advanced roughly 25 miles from where it started. Almost all of the area is steep granitic country which will readily unravel with any significant storms. I should mention that it is now well over half way to Sawtooth Valley.

It is true that very little money has been spent for the number of acres burned. The fact remains that the two fires that started in Barker Gulch on August 8 could have been extinguished for a few hundred dollars. So far, they are saying they have spent $2.5 million [now over $3 million] on loose herding it. That is not how I would cope with a tight budget.

I am not against using fire as a management tool. I have carried my share of drip torches and have been pleased with the results. I believe that when you let something burn or start something burning, you should have a reasonable chance to predict the outcome. On a red-flag day in early August on the South Boise River they did not have that chance. They reported in the newspaper that neither of the fires had much potential to spread. If they believed that, they have hopefully learned differently by now.

It hurts me to be critical of Forest Service actions. I was born into the outfit and have loved it all of my life. It just hurts worse to see actions taken that are so destructive to the country I love and the reputation of my favorite government agency.  I still think this one is a HUGE mistake.

Luckily, my dad does not have to deal with me on this.  You and I differ on how he would feel. I’d bet on the one of us who knew him the best.

Glenn

Other USFS retirees have chimed in:

August 30 — to Glenn

Great reply. It is way past time that those of us who loved the old Forest Service recognize that today’s Forest Service is not the same outfit we loved. I could see that in 1990 when I recognized that I could no longer feel good about my paycheck.

Unfortunately, I believe the outfit will never be the same. To let a fire that starts in the middle of fire season, that can be extinguished with a few hundred dollars, burn until it becomes catastrophic and then spend millions of dollars in a failed attempt to “loose herd it” is not wise use. It is stupid abuse. We learned that lesson in the 1970s with what was then called “let burn”. There are better ways to manage fuel and vegetation.

Anyone that believes the current Wildland Fire Use policy is wise should take a tour of the South Fork of the Salmon River. What I saw could well mean the end of that river being spawning habitat for summer run Chinook salmon. The damage from WFU far exceeds anything that logging did.  The salmon could be gone before the river recovers. The recovery will take decades.

Ned

August 30 — to Glenn

I’ve probably told you my experience with the Sun Dance Fire in North Idaho in 1967.  It burned 55,000 acres in 12 hours, the last week of August. The NITPA didn’t have money for overtime, so they left a small fire on Friday evening before it was out.  That night winds came up and hit 55 mph. The fire burned 26 map miles from near the Priest River over the Selkirks and into Pack River. The inside of the bends in Pack River were white with dead fish. I’m sure all of the smaller streams had total fish kills.

The scientists that reviewed the fire estimated that the energy released during the height of the fire-storm was equivalent to a 20 megaton bomb going off every two minutes. You can read about it in the July, ‘68  edition of National Geographic Magazine, in an article titled The Devil’s Picnic.

Fred Prussing was a line boss and I was one of his division bosses. The place was vacuumed; there wasn’t even any ash left on the ground.

The loss of animal life must have been totally extreme. People never really give that much consideration. There was little to no escape.

Our national forests are ripe for those kinds of occurrences today.

Jim

These voices are from people who spent their entire careers serving the public good by tending and caring for our federal forests. Their experience, knowledge, and dedication are unmatched. They are hands-on and hearts-on-shirt-sleeves foresters.

The incineration of our priceless, heritage forests comes with a price. That price is more than the cost of “loose herding” of fires, more than the cost of eventual suppression, more than the value of the resources destroyed, more than environmental damages that will last for decades. The price includes the all too casual destruction of human legacies.

We human beings are of the land, of the plains, prairies, savannas, and forests. Our species belongs to and in nature. When we sever those bonds we not only destroy nature, we destroy ourselves.

1 Sep 2008, 9:24pm
by bear bait


So what is the REAL agenda? Certainly no real forester, forest guardian, would loose wildfire on a fragile ecosystem in high summer? So who are the frauds who are perpetrating this rape of our wilderness heritage?

The eco-crazies have no respect or love or decency for the retired USFS people. Read the blogs. So if those who go before are to have no respect, then why can’t I fast-forward that sentiment and have it appropriate to disrespect and defile those in charge today, the imbeciles that they are proving to be?

Those old rock ranges, the ones with decomposed granitics and the schists and serpentines, want nothing more than to fall in the creek. They also are not really supportive of vegetation, and mostly stuff that is already established can shed enough needles, lichens, moss, twigs, cones, to keep themselves with a grasp of holding on. Fire takes that all away.

In no way can I wrap my mind around the concept of destruction as the desired end. Alien to my Scandinavian ships carpenter genes, the idea that ruin is wonderful. Sanding, and putty and filling, and primer and paint, all to keep something like a boat or a house in fine fettle and able to face the vagaries of weather is a rhythm of life itself. Torching a whole forest in the name of “health” does not compute. Just the loss of such a wonderful medium for making useful things to bring joy to our lives, those trees, is repugnant at the least.

What is the agenda? Who is in charge? Is this thing, this fire is good and black is beautiful, is this the result of academics gone mad? Has incomplete research now completely corrupted forest management in the public sector? Fire is a tool, to be used wisely and with care. So is adz or a pocket knife. Either can do great harm if not used wisely. And so can fire.

We used to talk about “Wise Use.” And then that concept was laughed off the stage. In its place, we have Wildland Fire Use. It now appears that granting that freedom to play with fire is not unlike giving teenage boys drip torches and a gas credit card in the name of freedom of expression. Some things are best left to folks with a conservative bent, the use of fire as a tool being one of those. It is a Wise Use of an available tool.

That the USFS has a credit card for fire that claims all other appropriated monies is just plain irresponsible. That idea is a BAD one and should be stopped. Better that the Forest Supervisor who loses the most acres to wildland fire gets canned, and a new one takes her or his place. That would only lose one out of over 200 people each year. But it would give SO’s a nice goal to not achieve, which would be the antithesis of today’s USFS.

I think what this whole fire thing needs is one really angry, unhappy, constituent compromised Congressman. One person on a responsible committee who will rail against WFU, and USFS dereliction of duty. I mean make a stink. I mean holler and yell. Someone who every USFS employee from the Chief on down would not want to ever have to appear before ever again. And you do know that the person can be created by pressure, just like coal can be made into a diamond. Just pick out the one, and put on the pressure. At his D.C. office, at his District offices, at his email, on his fax. Follow him campaigning. Follow him wherever he speaks. Just put on the pressure, and make a convert. Make him come to JoeBob. Meet his makers. Talk to his money. And never let up. I watched carpenter union people from an Oregon plywood plant take out Jim Jontz from Indiana by doing just that. They just worked his district and worked it, and put him out of office. You can’t sell yourself to one union and not another. His district was auto workers, and his politics were spotted owl and wilderness protection, both of which were costing union jobs far from his district. The carpenters just took their vacation time, a drove back to Indiana to defeat him and did. Old Smokies can do the same to the USFS if they try. They can take out the USFS leadership by contacting congressmen and women, and never letting up.

The snot nosed kids out there who want to talk dinosaurs when you mention retired USFS folks, can be spanked. You just dog their bosses, and dog them. People get tired of being stalked. Tired of being dogged. And when it is from the geriatric crew that used to get the job done without national disgrace on an annual basis, they will listen, even if it takes a while.

1 Sep 2008, 11:40pm
by Mike


Tuesday morning update:

Situation as of 09/01/08 4:30 PM
Personnel: 211
Size: 33,500 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired fire size (MMA): 109,752 acs

Costs to Date: $3,350,718

Staffed road guards to maintain the area closure and insure public safety. Conducted a public meeting at the Methodist Camp in the vicinity of the Upper South Fork Boise River Estates. There were 100+ attendees.

Continued structure protection assessments and structure protection actions in Div. Z. Improved handline along fire edge above privately owned lands in Div. B.

Sawtooth NF acres = 29,616, Boise NF acres = 3,128. The Fire Use Management Team is also managing the Old Sam, Johnson Creek, Johnson 2, and Two Point WFUs within the Maximum Manageable Area for the South Barker WFU.

The Johnson 2 WFU grew to approximately 30 acres. Inserted a helicopter module to the Johnson 2 WFU to contain the fire within the Maximum Manageable Area (MMA) boundary.

Single and group tree torching and short crown runs with short to medium range spotting in Jumbo, Weeks and Burnt Log Creek. Fire activity will continue into the evening hours with continued winds.

2 Sep 2008, 6:31am
by bear bait


The daily report sounds like a manager’s notes from a concentration camp slaughter house. Ho hum… shot 1000, gassed 5000. Will shore up the west gate to stop escape attempts, and if they get by, we now have guns enough to shoot them all. Ho hum…

Interesting to see that spot fires now have whoofoo designation. I can see this becoming an urban renewal option in big cities. A house catches fire, and the management plan is to let it go to this park, that river, whatever boundaries the poor and troublesome live within. Can’t risk fireman lives, you know. They are paid to live safely and wear all that gear to delineate them from spectators.

2 Sep 2008, 7:58am
by Bob Z.


Mike:

This column and bearbait’s comments should be mailed to every Senator and every Congressman who represents a district that has ever experienced a WFU. A formal response should be politely and pointedly requested.

What incredible, idiotic, and criminal wastes of the public’s forests and resources! The “scientists,” lawyers, legislators, judges, resource managers, and “environmental lobbyists” who promulgated this crap need to be made accountable for their actions to the American taxpayer and to the rural citizens of the western US.

Arson, homicide, and wanton destruction of resources are crimes against nature and against humanity, with or without NEPA.

Glenn Bradley stated it best when he wrote:

“Assemblyman John Carpenter from Elko said it politely today in the Twin Falls paper by stating that “Anyone who lets a fire burn in August in Nevada is crazy.””

That really is a polite way of stating things. To assume that these nitwits have gross mental defects that cause them to act and talk like irresponsible idiots is really giving them the benefit of the doubt. Who knows what their motives really are? And why are they routinely compensated by US taxpayers?

2 Sep 2008, 11:56am
by Forrest Grump


Maybe it’s time to let the Forest Service die.
Sell the ground to the respective states at FMV (500 bucks an acre for timber and less for the incidental ground) while perhaps leaving the NRAs and wilderness areas in the negligent hands of the ecotopians and white fir willies. And we’ll see how long they last as Congress tightens the funding screws.

2 Sep 2008, 12:52pm
by Mike


Grump, That plan is not going to happen and I wouldn’t support it. If we are to have public forests, and I think we should, then we need a functional public agency to manage them. The USFS is not beyond repair. It may be highly dysfunctional right now, but I haven’t given up on the notion that it can be fixed.

2 Sep 2008, 2:37pm
by bear bait


So far, the USFS “fixing” is no different than having your dog “fixed.” Congress, really tired of lame attempts to carry out their duties, has “fixed” the USFS with the budget. If the Chief can’t get a reasonable budget, neither the Administration nor the Congress has her ear. And if none have your ear, your backside, you really have nothing more than a title and the authority to dig your grave deeper. That is what appears to be happening. In the next budget, Kimball has to go to Congress, fess up to pissing away all the extraordinary fire budget, and a few hundred million that was to go to maintenance and recreation and watershed repair (and WFUs destroy more watersheds) and the public is getting nothing for their money, so they, too, are no longer a constituency. She will be talking to a wall, and no quorum, all for the record, with some junior elected geeks that were required by the party to show up… The future is as bleak as Mann Gulch after the second fire.

To fix the USFS, Mike, they must have Congressional confidence and a reasonable budget and a reliable budget. At this time, they have none of the above. And little prospect of healing the wounds. How are they going to get there from here?

2 Sep 2008, 4:23pm
by Mike


Let me think about it. I’m still chuckling at the “fixing your dog” metaphor.

3 Sep 2008, 6:09pm
by Mike


Wednesday morning update:

Situation as of 09/02/08 4:30 PM
Personnel: 225
Size: 33,900 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired fire size (MMA): 109,752 acs

Costs to Date: $3,450,718 (not updated)

Completed a draft revision to the Stage III Wildland Fire Implementation Plan including the development of new Management Action Points (MAPs). Conducted a community meeting at the Pine Senior Center with approximately 50 attendees.

15.4 miles of the fire perimeter has been secured. Actions to secure fire edge were taken to minimize burned acres on the Boise NF, keep fire out of the community of Featherville, keep fire off privately owned lands and insure fire stays within the Maximum Manageable Area (MMA). Approximately 30% of the MMA has been visited by the South Barker Fire. [Visited? More like incinerated.]

4 Sep 2008, 7:46pm
by Mike


Thursday morning update:

Situation as of 09/03/08 4:10 PM
Personnel: 246
Size: 33,950 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired fire size (MMA): 109,752 acs

Costs to Date: $3,932,070

Minimal fire growth today with some fire spread in sage/grass and isolated torching and short range spotting in timber [whoops, they mean forest] in upper Weeks Gulch, Burnt Log Creek, Big Water Creek, and on the ridge east of Narrow Canyon.

***************

The word “forest” is never used by the modern US Forest Service. It chokes in their craws like poisonous bile. It is always “timber” or “wildland” or “dead and down” or “beetle kill.” The word” forest” is anathema, taboo, absolutely NOT what the US Forest Service is about anymore.

5 Sep 2008, 7:43pm
by Mike


Friday evening update:

Situation as of 09/05/08 4:20 PM
Personnel: 252
Size: 34,100 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired fire size (MMA): 109,752 acs

Costs to Date: $4,246,275

Limited fire growth today with individual tree torching in timber in upper Weeks Gulch, Burnt Log Creek, and Big Water Creek.

First: Mike, bear bait, Bob Z., and Forrest Grump are fellows I’d like the opportunity to meet and shake their honest, hardworking, carpenter-soul hands!

Mike is absolutely right that the word “forest” is being deliberately phased out in favor of language-deceptive terms and phrases. Like the word ‘kill,’ if soldiers can be trained to ‘immobilize insurgents,’ ’secure facilities,’ and other things that divert them from the fact that they are being told to kill, they will be much easier to ‘manage’ and order. If today’s agency personnel (many of whom I call ‘the otherwise unemployable,’ because they’d have a difficult time getting a job outside the government sector, a job where they’d actually be held accountable for their actions) can be trained to stop thinking of forests as forests, it is made simple to get them to do things that destroy those forests, all the while thinking they’re doing things to help the very forests to which they lay to waste!

Good people can be made to do bad things. Language deception is the easiest way to achieve that end. It is as effective as it is insidious. To think independently is to think freely. To be self-sufficient, fixing something with what you have on hand, is to taste freedom. America can be fixed with what we have on hand; each of us that thinks independently and knows how to repair the gaping wound in our Christian Republic.

One way is to give people food for their brains, not empty calories (which is what so much of today’s ‘management’ is all about). My website does not seek to make up others’ minds, but to provide tools for that toolbox, the mind, with which to make its own decisions.

For a moment, please consider that Kimball has her orders, and that the “budget” (which is not how much money is in the bank, but merely how much is “budgeted”) is to be spent on driving from all rural areas everyone that is now considered to be a “threat” to the agenda, which is to Control and Take Over all private property.

Please, consider that the intent is to exceed the “MMA,” or “Maximum Manageable Area,” because Control cannot be levied if things remain “in control.”

Consider that the main threat to spotted owls is barred owls. Making resource providers (in this case, loggers and ranchers) go extinct does not help ANY “endangered” species, but in fact guarantees “job security” for those drones that ask not why, but simply how much they must do in order to guarantee their paychecks and jobs.

Extend this agenda from the forests to the places where there are fish, and mussels, and crustaceans, and everything that requires water to live. Now the oceans and rivers are being locked down to commercial fishing and recreational fishing (and the Indians are being used once again while the carrot of “subsistence” is held out to them, making them think they’ll be allowed [I despise that word when government uses it: "allowed"] after everyone else has been shut down). History certainly repeats itself, both with Indians and taxpayers!

Men, you must decide whether to let yourselves be mere telemones, mindlessly carrying the power brokers to your own execution, or if you’ll throw off the burden and resume the correct stance for people: Upright, using that backbone functionally, not decoratively, and not as a beast of burden (look up “telemon” in the dictionary).

As it is currently operated, the Forest “Service” (”service” being a word whose definition in farm country means bringing a bull to visit the cows, and don’t think that today’s hierarchy at each of the “Services” in the Department of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce don’t know that full well as the screws are applied to all who will allow it) is an agency with an agenda to take us all out of rural places and force us into “government subsidy” submission. Look no further than the scam sold to America’s farmers, who now are like generational welfare recipients, wailing about how they “can’t keep the family farm” unless subsidies go on — subsidies that rob Peter to pay Paul and stealthily reach into every taxpayer’s pocket or purse to continue paying for the charade. The intent is to make everyone, other than the power brokers, serfs once again, just like it was in “jolly old England,” where the ONLY jolly ones were those who stepped on others’ heads.

Here in this place in west-central Ohio where I live, U.S. Fish and Wildlife “Service” thought it would swoop in and feed from the gentle hearts of the Amish and Mennonite farmers, who are pacifists. It forgot to look more closely. A born and bred American lady lived here, by her ancestry a stone patriot and Scandinavian Viking Protectress. She took nothing from USFWS and asked nothing, but demanded that it leave this area, where it was neither wanted nor needed. It took three and a half years, but USFWS left. As it went out the door, it cunningly let the EPA in, and now the farmers’ wives have been cajoled and flattered into being on the “soil and water conservation district” “board” with the EPA. Now this board allows the EPA to tell farmers they cannot mow on or near, or remove trees that fall on or near, grassed waterways: manmade drainage ditches made almost a century ago to help utilize hydric soils and make fertile land and its owners/stewards prosper. The EPA is unofficially doing what USFWS failed to do: gain Control over this area without the victims even knowing what is happening, and letting them actually assist in their demise. My efforts to help are met with such remarks as “You’re just jealous they didn’t pick you!” and “You don’t even own a farm! You live in a ‘trailer park’!” Actually, they did pick me to chair their ‘education’ committee, and did that when I was out of the room in the restroom. When I learned that this had been done, I told them that it was a mistake to vote me into a ‘position’ I did not want and would not take. The ‘position,’ by the way, was to gather and feed information about this area to the power brokers. A snowball has a better chance in Hell than the chance of me doing that. The others in the meeting (an ‘informal,’ ‘organizational’ and ‘facilitated’ meeting, by the way) were disgusted that, in their minds, I had “refused to help.”

In order to steal private property and make a nation of people into serfs (who, not that long ago, came here to escape the king’s clutches), the power brokers must break their spirit and strip them of their property. This is why my website is so important to everyone that understands this fact: Property and freedom are synonyms. You cannot have one without the other.

8 Sep 2008, 1:28pm
by YPmule


Selling fire to the masses seems to be a new mantra for the FS. They have the PR machine in high gear.

ID Statesman headline:

“Fire Wise? Officials look to fire to safeguard forest - But residents have their doubts about letting the South Barker blaze burn”

http://www.idahostatesman.com/localnews/story/496526.html

“Firefighting is changing and you’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of fires, and less suppression,” [Val] Norman [logistics chief for the fire] said. “And that’s not a bad thing.”

Personally I don’t see it as a “good thing” either.

8 Sep 2008, 2:01pm
by Mike


USFS functionaries like Norman make those authoritarian pronouncements as if they were in some way knowledgeable about forests, but they are not. And they run from open scientific debate on the matter like scared rabbits.

That’s the point of the NEPA process, to bring the science out in the open for public discussion. But the USFS cannot stand the scientific light of day. Like vampires or cockroaches, they seek the dark.

Norman et al should get off their supercilious soap boxes and face the facts like rational, thinking, community-minded individuals. He is not an expert and should not pretend to be one. He is a public servant, and it is high time he began serving the public instead of trying to con us with ridiculous ecobabble.

8 Sep 2008, 9:42pm
by Mike


Monday evening update:

Situation as of 09/08/08 4:15 PM
Personnel: 256
Size: 34,250 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired fire size (MMA): 109,752 acs

Costs to Date: $4,686,797

South Barker WFU acres: Sawtooth NF acres = 31,120, Boise NF acres = 3,130. There are currently 71 miles of fire perimeter. Of this 15.4 miles of the fire perimeter has been secured and 33.4 miles contain heat with potential for additional growth. Approximately 31% of the MMA has been visited by the South Barker Fire.

Secured heat near fire edge in Div. C near the NW corner of the fire. Utilized sand table exercises to refine structure protection operations in Div. Z (Upper South Fork Boise River Estates).

15 Sep 2008, 10:27pm
by Mike


Sunday update:

Situation as of 09/14/08 5:00 PM
Personnel: 59
Size: 34,250 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired fire size (MMA): 109,752 acs

Costs to Date: $6,719,437

Continued downsizing and demobilizing excess resources. Continued to backhaul some supplies and equipment.

19 Sep 2008, 9:09pm
by Mike


South Barker WFU Fire update Friday morning:

Situation as of 09/18/08 6:00 PM
Personnel: 57
Size: 38,583 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Maximum desired fire size (MMA): 109,752 acs

Costs to Date: $7,041,364

Fire has grown 2,500 acres in 2 days. Fire management response has been to downsize and demobilize resources.

Planned Actions: Monitor fire behavior, fire growth, and implement checking actions as warranted to protect private structures and maintain fire within the MMA. Maintain structure protection readiness. Evaluate burn severity. Continue to staff road guards to maintain the area closure and ensure public safety.

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