Record of Decision for the Warm Fire Recovery Project

The Warm Fire of 2006 was a whoofoo, a wildland fire use fire, allowed to burn unimpeded in the Kaibab National Forest. From Back to the Rim [here]:

On the afternoon of June 8, 2006, a lightning storm swept across the Kaibab Plateau. One of the high voltage, sky/earth exchanges set a tree on fire south of Jacob Lake.

Kaibab National Forest fire crews could have responded immediately. The terrain is flat and roads crisscross the area. The Kaibab has, or used to have, one of the best firefighting teams in the Nation.

But that is not what happened. Instead, the leadership of the Kaibab N.F. chose to let the fire burn. They named it the Warm Fire, and designated it a Wildland Use Fire. …

the Kaibab N.F. violated a main stewardship fact that they were acutely aware of: they allowed, even encouraged, an accidental fire to burn in untreated acres…

The Warm Fire smoldered in duff and crept around for a few days. Everything looked fine, although no real-time analysis was done of the effectiveness of the fire at consuming old fuels, or not consuming green trees.

Then the wind picked up a little. The Warm Fire jumped Highway 67 on June 15. It jumped it again two days later and grew to 750 acres.

By daylight on the 18th, the Warm Fire had grown to over 3,000 acres. Then it doubled to over 6,000 acres on the 19th. Still, the Kaibab leadership kept the WFU designation, and Let It Burn.

By the 22nd Warm Fire had grown to over 10,000 acres. Still the WFU designation was clung to. The fire was not doing the intended fuels management job, but it was natural (read totally accidental) and it was “free” (that would change, and how).

Early in the morning of June 23, strong winds came rushing out of the west, pushed by a high pressure ridge that every weatherperson in the country knew about. The Warm Fire blew up, and overnight grew to 15,000 acres. Still, there was no change in WFU designation.

Finally on the 24th, the Kaibab N.F. was forced to face reality. They decided that the Warm Fire had done enough damage, and called in the Northern Arizona Type 2 Incident Management Team.

There was some public pressure to do this, since Highway 67 had been shut down and 750 visitors and employees were trapped at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, with a raging inferno on one side and precipitous cliffs on the other.

By the time the NAZ IMT got set up on June 26, the Warm Fire had grown to 30,000 acres. By the next day it was near 60,000 acres, the doubling due mainly to the perimeter and backing fires set by the NAZ IMT.

The NAZ IMT is made up of real pros with real experience and abundant ground and air resources. They contained, controlled, and mostly extinguished the Warm Fire by July 4th. The final acreage toll was 58,640 acres …

The Warm Fire was a deliberate accident. The fire could have been extinguished when small but instead was Let Burn with devastating consequences.

Now, two-and-a-half years later, the Kaibab NF has completed an Environmental Impact Statement in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act that describes the possible impacts to the environment from rehabilitation (recovery) of the most severely burned acres. The Record of Decision for the Warm Fire Recovery Project is [here]. More information, including the Final EIS, is available [here].

The Warm Fire Recovery EIS examines the effects from salvage harvest on 9,000 acres and the potential impacts to soils, water, wildlife, wildlife habitat, and the spread on nonnative invasive plants that might result from forest rehab efforts.

In stark contrast, the decision to Let It Burn was not evaluated by an EIS. The choice made by the Kaibab NF staff to Burn Baby Burn was not accompanied by any analysis, there was no preparatory report, there were no public hearings, there were no documents, there was no NEPA process whatsoever.

The US Forests Service feels no compunction to evaluate their Let It Burn program with any public NEPA exercise, no matter how many millions of acres they incinerate. They do not give a plug nickel about the fire effects on soils, water, wildlife, wildlife habitat, public health, public safety, etc.

They couldn’t care less what kind of damage their Let It Burn fires do, and are in utter denial and contempt for the Law of the Land that is NEPA.

Before they roast our forests, that is. Afterwards, the USFS bends over and contorts in six different directions to jot and tittle massive reports that take years of preparation, so that any rehab is assured not to do any “damage”.

This is important, so we say it again: no NEPA is required when the USFS deliberately plans to and then incinerates millions of acres every year; major NEPA analysis is required to rehabilitate a tiny percentage of the acres destroyed.

Is that what you thought NEPA was for? Did you think that that NEPA was enacted to protect the environment? Ha ha ha. Don’t be naive.

NEPA was designed to give full employment to snarky liberal lawyers so they can monkey wrench the environment but good. NEPA is about Burn Baby Burn the whole of America — to roast her, toast her, really do a number on America — to lay waste to watersheds and forested landscapes with hellfire — to kill wildlife and ruin their habitats — to mess up the environment to the nth degree — that’s what NEPA is all about.

NEPA is about destruction — not protection.

In the case of the Warm Fire, and all other whoofoos, NEPA is invoked to hamstring the clean-up, not to prevent the holocaust in the first place.

It may be that the salvage harvest authorized by the Record of Decision for the Warm Fire Recovery Project never happens. The snarky liberal shysters are already drafting their briefs to sue, sue, sue any recovery efforts.

The National Park Service, in the person of employees of Grand Canyon NP, has threatened to call in Earth First! ecoterrorists to sabotage any and all forest recovery activities. The NPS doesn’t bother with lawsuits; they go straight to the eco-nazi mafia and order up felonious run-amokers. Evidently Grand Canyon NP is safehaven for domestic terrorists, and proud of it.

The NPS loves fire. Just last summer the employees of GCNP decided to deliberately burn a few thousand acres in a “simulated natural fire”. With no EIS, no public involvement, and not the slightest gesture towards compliance with the environmental laws of the United States of America, GCNP terrorist-loving functionaries ignited what they hoped would be a 7,000 acre holocaust, the Walla Valley Fire [here].

Fortunately, some non-crazy non-terrorists put a halt to the burning, but not before a firefighter was killed [here].

Murdering forests is nothing new to the NPS. Murdering firefighters is nothing new to them either.

“If I were the Prince of Darkness, I could not have devised a better way to destroy the Kaibab Plateau.” — Dr. Wally Covington, Regents professor at Northern Arizona University and Director of the Ecological Restoration Institute, regarding the Warm Fire

For the compelling essay about the Warm Fire from which that quote was taken, please see Friendly Fire by Stephen J. Pyne [here].

The decisions to destroy forests are made in a flash, by the seat of the pants, with no consultation, by lunatics with no ties or familiarity with the resource. The decisions to Burn Baby Burn are wholly political with zero science attached. The Politics of Destruction are fomented by domestic terrorists and their lackey running dog lawyer pimps, and are embraced by the Farenheit 451 fire “community” of bug-eyed ignorant arsonists in the Federal employ.

But the decisions to save forests, to protect them, to rehabilitate them after the fiery machinations of the holocaust-loving wackos, those decisions must be worried over and litigated for years and years before the first twig is raked.

12 Apr 2009, 3:34pm
by Larry H.

Here is a link to some dramatic pictures from the fire.

Where are the “resource benefits”? Maybe this summer, I will drive by this area and capture some pictorial devastation. The eco’s DO fear this but, they don’t want to abandon their rhetoric. Some will try to blame “Bush’s Healthy Forests”, so soon forgetting that their people wrote it and voted for it. Some will blame the timber industry but, they haven’t done much since 1992. Others will place the full blame on “global warming”, ignoring that stocking levels were two to three orders of magnitude higher than is “natural”.

The plans to salvage 9000 acres is very typical of the new Forest Service. Remember, the Biscuit Fire only salvaged 4% of the half million acre blaze. Stalling, fretting and fuming over the NEPA ensures that the smallest commercially usable and most flammable component of the fire will be left in the woods.

Forest Service foresters have been so battered and disrespected that they just don’t care what happens anymore, as long as they make it to their earliest retirement opportunity.



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