More Junk Forest Science from OSU

By Mike Dubrasich

Destruction and Sabotage

I write this essay with a heavy heart. As a professional forester for 35+ years, I have always professed good forest stewardship backed up by the best forest science. But over the last 20 years or so, forest science has been polluted and degraded by political advocacy of a pernicious and destructive nature, and so too have our priceless, heritage forests been destroyed by horrendous and catastrophic fires.

There is a crisis in our forests and in our forestry schools and those crises are interconnected. Bad forest science, junk or pseudoscience if you will, has sunk to the level of promoting forest destruction. Instead of commitment to saving forests from destruction, our forestry schools now promote that destruction on the most tenuous and disingenuous grounds.

The root cause of both crises is a corrupt political movement that seeks to impose centralized control and oppression, authoritarianism if you will, in the name of environmental protection. But protection is the furthest thing from the minds of the advocates and activists; diminution of freedom and liberty is foremost. The propaganda about environmental protection is a smokescreen, and behind the smoke lays a wasteland of environmental abuse on a landscape scale.

This essay is not about the crass political motivations of the neo-authoritarians, however. It is about catastrophic forest fires and corrupted forest science, and how the two go hand-in-hand.

It is an essay written in grief, grief for the loss of our heritage, our rationality, our institutions of higher learning, and most especially grief for the priceless forests incinerated by exceedingly bad decisions founded on exceedingly hateful and hurtful lies.

The Rape of Forest Science

A case in point: an article in Science Daily dated Feb 25, 2010 and entitled More Frequent Fires Could Aid Ecosystems [here] (unsigned but “adapted from materials provided by Oregon State University”).

The article reeks, of myths, half truths, and out and out lies.

Its ostensible purpose is to promote a conference taking place today at OSU, where the pseudoscientific justifications for forest holocaust will be preached to the public, the paying public mind you, and we all pay for it in more ways than one.

Its actual purpose is promotion of catastrophic and irreparable forest fires.

The pernicious fallacies in the article are numerous, and I shall demolish them one by one. This exercise may be tedious, but I see no other way to thoroughly deconstruct the lies.

The article begins:

With a changing climate there’s a good chance that forest fires in the Pacific Northwest will become larger and more frequent — and according to one expert speaking at a professional conference, that’s just fine.

Lie #1. The climate is cooling, not warming. Worldwide and nationally the climate has been cooling, or at best stable, for the last 15 years.

Lie #2. Forest fire size and frequency have nothing to do with microscopic “changes in climate.” Fires are fueled by biomass, not air temperatures. Biomass accumulates year by year. It is the a-historical build up of fuels and the fad toward un-management that has allowed continuity of accumulated fuels across entire landscapes that have generated the megafires of the last 20 years. It’s the fuels, stupid.

Lie #3. The expert isn’t, but we will not dwell on that.

The article continues:

The future of fire in this region is difficult to predict, will always be variable, and undoubtedly a part of the future landscape.

Lie #4. Forests fires are easy to predict, and prevent. In fact, the catastrophic fires that have decimated forests in this region over the last 20 years were predicted by many, including myself. The future holds more of the same, unless active management to reduce fuel loadings is implemented.

The article continues:

People should understand, however, that fire is not only inevitable but also a valuable part of forest ecosystems and their management, says John Bailey, an associate professor in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management at Oregon State University.

Bailey will speak as one of many invited experts at “Forest Health in Oregon: State of the State,” a conference being held at Oregon State University. He describes fire as a force that should be understood, often welcomed, used as appropriate and more frequently incorporated into long-term ecosystem management.

Half Truth #1. Fire is inevitable but not always valuable. There are low-burning fires which can aid forest restoration and benefit resources, but there are also intense fires that decimate resources and forest values.

Half Truth #2. Fire in forests should indeed be better understood and used appropriately. “Ecosystem management” is a meaningless term and not among the statutory mandates that guide public forest stewardship today. Statutory mandates are the laws established by Congress that govern and direct federal land management agencies. No law directs those agencies to apply “ecosystem management.”

The article continues:

“Forests historically had more fire across much of Oregon, and they would love to have more today,” Bailey said.

Lie #5. Forests are not sentient beings and do not have emotions. Anthropomorphizing forests is a childish and decidedly unscientific thing to do. Dr. Bailey realizes that, but uses emotional allusions anyway in an effort to “simplify” which can be taken only as rude patronizing and arrogance toward the public.

The article continues:

“Burning is a natural ecosystem process and generally helps restore forest ecosystems.”

Lie # 6. Catastrophic fires destroy forest ecosystems, often converting forests to fire-type brush. There is nothing restorative about severe, intense fires that kill old-growth trees of ancient vintage and leave forests in smoking ruins. Historically, over the last 6,000 to 10,000 years frequent, seasonal, low burning anthropogenic (human-set) fires have maintained conditions whereby old-growth trees could develop. So-called “natural” fires of today destroy that heritage of stewardship and alter forest development pathways – often eliminating forests entirely.

The article continues:

“It’s ironic that we spend so much money to stop fire, because we should learn to see fire as more of a partner and not always an enemy.”

Lie #7. It is not ironic that catastrophic fires damage resources to the tune of tens of billions of dollars every year, some 10 to 50 times the amounts spent on fire suppression [here]. It is a travesty and a tragedy that abandoning forests to conditions conducive to megafire have decimated forests, damaged timber and forage values, wildlife habitat and populations (including endangered species and their critically protected habitat), air and water quality, recreational opportunities, public health and safety, private property, local and regional economies, and other resources and amenities important to all citizens.

The article continues:

Many experts are warning that global warming and drought stress in forests may make them more vulnerable to frequent, larger and hotter fires, Bailey said. That may be true, he added, although future predictions can’t be made with a high degree of certainty, and there will still be a wide amount of variation in the types of fires and acreages burned in various years.

Half Truth #3. Many experts, including myself, have been warning that the lack of active management will lead to more frequent, larger, and hotter fires. And we were right. It has nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with biomass accumulation. It’s the fuels, stupid.

The article continues:

But the more important point, he emphasized, is that even if some of the more dire scenarios are true, they shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a crisis.

Lie #8. In fact, for the last 20 years we have witness a growing frequency of catastrophic megafires. During that time every state in the West has experienced the largest and most damaging fires in state history. Tens of millions of acres of forests have been severely burned, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of forest resources have been destroyed, watersheds denuded, airsheds polluted, wildlife populations decimated, thousands of homes incinerated, and hundreds of lives lost. It is a crisis, and widely recognized as such by forest experts, elected officials and the general public.

The article continues:

Frequent fire in Pacific Northwest forests will promote forest composition, structure and function that’s more consistent with how these forests grew historically. Prior to European settlement, fires were significantly more frequent, sometimes were started on purpose and rarely suppressed.

Half Truth #4. Historical anthropogenic fire induced the forest development pathways that led to fire- and insect-resilient forests. Those open and park-like forests maintained by frequent, seasonal, deliberate indigenous burning gave rise to the old-growth trees of today. It was not “natural” lightning-ignited fires that gave us old-growth; lightning is too irregular to create the anthropogenic mosaic of prairies, savannas, and open forests encountered by the first Euro-American explorers and pioneers. Irregular and infrequent lightning fires burning in fuel-laden forests are highly destructive of forest structure and indeed of forests themselves.

The article continues:

“Right now we’re spending billions of dollars to prevent something that is going to happen sooner or later, whether we try to stop it or not, and something that can assist us in sound land management,” Bailey said.

Lie #9. Right now we are spending $1 to $2 billion per year on fire suppression to prevent damages to forests, homes, livelihoods, and lives that are anywhere from 10 to 30 (sometimes 50) times more expensive than the fire suppression outlays. Catastrophic forest fires are not inevitable and can be prevented and/or mitigated by sound restoration forestry and active management.

This is important: the advocates of No Touch, Let It Burn, Watch It Rot have caused the infliction of tremendous destruction and tragedy, none of which was inevitable, and most of which could have been avoided. OSU College of Forestry has no restoration forestry experts, no restoration forestry program, and has promoted a hands-off approach. They abandoned “sound land management” 20 years ago, and adopted in its place an anti-forests, anti-forestry, and anti-forester attitude. That has been tragic for the profession and tragic for our forests.

The article continues:

“It may always make sense to put out some fires when they threaten communities, or in other select circumstances.

“But periodic fire has always been a part of our forests, and we need to accept it as such, sort of like how we plan for and accept a very wet winter that comes along now and then,” he said.

Half Truth #5. It makes more than sense to protect communities, forests, and watersheds from catastrophic fires – it is imperative. Such fires are nothing like wet winters, any more than the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina was common occurrence. The downplaying of wholesale destruction and disaster by implying it is a normal thing is despicable, irresponsible, and insane.

The article continues:

Fire regimes vary widely based on fuel loads, topography and weather in the short term, and forces such as fire suppression, forest management and climate changes in the long term, Bailey said. They can be linked to droughts, insect attack and other factors that are all a natural part of the forest.

Lie #10. Historical fire regimes in North America have been anthropogenic for thousands of years. Dr. Bailey’s “linkages” are the result of poor science and a stubborn blindness to history. The denial of historical human influences is an outgrowth of Victorian racism, the kind that spawned the eugenics movement and horrendous genocides in the 20th Century.

The article continues:

But the key to the future, he said, is accepting the inevitability of fire and learning to manage it as a natural part of the ecosystem.

That may take a substantial culture shift, he conceded, when much of the public and even government agencies have traditional ways of looking at fire and resource loss, consider all forest fire as bad, and even organize large, commercially important systems based around fire suppression.

Half Truth #6. A cultural shift is needed alright – at the OSU College of Forestry. The culture of politicized forest science at odds with reality, the community, and the common good is debilitating to that institution as well as to our forests and to society at large.

It is evident that political advocacy and pleas for cultural modification have replaced good science, but it would be unfair to single out OSU CoF has the only or even a rare case of the corruption of science by politics. The now collapsing global warming hoax perpetrated by politicized elements has all but destroyed climate science. Wildlife ecology, medicine, anthropology, and numerous other sciences have been corrupted by political advocacy, too. Our universities have been captured and perverted by politics, and rational inquiry is the primary victim.

The imposition of strawmen and falsehoods has been long been feature of politicized science arguments. In this case, the non-existent strawmen are those who “consider all fire as bad” and the falsehood is that government agencies have been “traditional” or even slightly competent at evaluating fire and resource cost-plus-loss [here].

The article continues:

Much recent research, however, has explored the ways in which fire helps treat fuel loading issues within stands and across landscapes;

Half Truth #7. Some recent research has been valid and useful [here], and some tainted by preconceived political conclusions. Catastrophic fires do consume some fuels, but they also kill green trees and can leave dead wood fuel loadings far in excess of the dead fuels present before the fire.

It is interesting and perhaps laughable (wryly) that recent studies of post-fire fuels from OSU CoF have concluded that little or no carbon is emitted by forest fires. The implication is that most of the carbon, i.e. the fuels, remains to rot or burn again in few years. The politically motivated researchers want it both ways: they wish the fires to consume fuels but not emit CO2. Basic laws of physics, such the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy, conflict with their desires and their “scientific” conclusions.

The article continues:

reduces competition for moisture and nutrients;

Half Truth #8. Catastrophic fires that kill all the trees do indeed reduce competition. No living trees, no competition. But competition is a natural feature of life, the way the world works, and is not some evil thing. Ask Darwin.

This is another example of political ideology tainting science. Organic competition, a rule of biology, is conflated with capitalist competition in the economy, and summarily rejected by Marxist utopians, despite the fact that notions of “mutualism” and “cooperation” have failed miserably in the latter and are decidedly non-existent in the former.

The article continues:

develops complex forest structure;

Lie #11. Complex forest structures are destroyed by catastrophic fires. “Fire synthesizes its surroundings” – Dr. Stephen J. Pyne. Fire simplifies through combustion, consumption, and oxidation at high heat. Fire leaves a denuded wasteland with dead snags that soon fall over. Tall vegetation, habitat to a variety of creatures, is reduced to short habitat that is home to far fewer species. The ecosystem is reduced in volume and complexity.

The article continues:

helps maintain the health of surviving trees and leaves them better able to resist disease and insect attack;

Lie #12. Fire attracts insects, especially bark beetles [here]. Trees that survive the fire are often killed by bark beetles within a year or two.

The article continues:

and sometimes sets the stage for forest renewal.

Lie #13. This one is truly egregious. Yes, catastrophic fire often kills all the trees, but what grows back is not forest but fire-type brush. The increased loading of dead, dry fuels (as much as 300 to 500 tons per acre) can be ignited by reburns carried by the fine fuels in the newly sprouted brush. Any tree seedlings that may have germinated are consumed in the reburn 10 to 20 years later.

“Forest renewal” is not a goal that anyone ascribes to old-growth forests. Society has decided that old-growth trees have special value due to their antiquity, heritage, and biological rarity. Nobody wants to kill the old-growth in order to “renew” forests. That goal is imaginary and perverse. In the West we have sacrificed so much to retain and preserve old-growth. Now the political advocates who promoted “save the old-growth” hail the imaginary virtues of killing old trees to make room for seedlings.

Shall we destroy 200-, 300, 500-, 1500-year-old trees in favor of seedlings? Why? And if that is the new desire, why not utilize those old trees instead of incinerating them? The entire concept of “forest renewal” is bankrupt: intellectually, scientifically, socially, economically, and ethically. It’s just nuts.

The article continues:

Most burned area within the majority of Oregon fires are not stand-replacement situations, researchers have found. Their structure varies after a fire, usually as a result of pre-fire variability in the fuels, weather fluctuations and sometimes suppression activities.

Half Truth #9. The research in question is questionable, but it is true that within fire perimeters not all trees are killed. Indeed, forest fires often do not burn to established perimeters, because fire suppression is not always (in fact rarely) done by direct attack on crowning trees. But catastrophic megafires are propagated by canopy conflagrations that do kill all the trees within vast tracts. And it is a common fire suppression practice to “burn out” unburned pockets within the perimeters by aerial ignition. That is done to prevent flare ups that could occur after firefighters have demobilized and left the area.

Even when all trees are not killed by the fire, bark beetles invade afterwards and kill the survivors. Post-fire mortality can continue for years. And untreated burns can erupt into reburns within a few years, as has happened in the Tillamook Fires, the Spring/Rattle Fires, the Silver/Biscuit Fires, and in numerous other cases.

The article continues:

But proactive fuel management can lower the importance of suppression efforts.

Half Truth #10. Well duh. Finally a semi-valid statement. Proactive fuels management not only lowers the “importance” of suppression, it can prevent $billions in damages to resources and communities caused by fires in unprepared stands.

Proactive fuels management is most effective if it is done within a carefully planned, landscape scale, scientific restoration forestry program. It is not enough to piddle with tiny trees and fine fuels. It is more appropriate and effective to use the principles of historically-informed restoration forestry.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, OSU College of Forestry has no restoration forestry experts and no restoration forestry program. This is surprising (perhaps) considering that forest restoration is now a statutory mission of the US Forest Service.

Two laws mandate forest restoration: the Healthy Forests and Restoration Act (2003) and the Forest Landscape Restoration Act (2009). In contrast, there are no such things as the “Ecosystem Management Act” or the “Ecosystem Services Act” or the “Global Warming and Forests Act”. Those missions have been adopted without any Congressional mandate, whereas the mandate for restoration has been all but ignored.

Regardless of that, OSU CoF drags ass. They are far more concerned with political advocacy, in particular with advocacy that is anti-forest, anti-forestry, and anti-forester than with any sensibility toward science and restoration forestry. And that is the situation despite the opportunities that abound for funding of forest restoration studies. Go figure.

I have figured, and what I have concluded is that political elements have taken over the OSU CoF, much to the detriment of our forests, our economy, and the forestry profession.

As long as OSU CoF is more concerned with radical politics than forest science and forestry, they will continue to promulgate egregious pseudoscience and landscape scale disasters via catastrophic fire.

And that is a multiple tragedy for all of us.

Bonus Section: Lying With Photography

This is the photo and caption that accompanied the Science Digest article

Fire burned in this stand during the B&B Complex fire in 2003 near Canyon Creek in the central Oregon Cascade Range, killing about half of the overstory trees, but also allowing a high level of tree survival and rapid recovery of vegetation, seen in this image from 2007. This is typical of many Pacific Northwest forest fires. (Credit: Photo by Garrett Meigs, Oregon State University)

There is not one obviously fire-killed tree in this picture.

Here is another of the B&B Complex Fire post burn.

Photo taken north of Suttle Lake. Credit: Mike Dubrasich

Notice that all the trees are fire-killed.

What’s going on here?

The first photo is in the upper Canyon Creek drainage at 5,500 feet, just east of the Pacific Crest Trail. The trees are mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana). This spot is on the extreme upper slope edge of the B&B Fire, near timberline. This is where the fire stopped of its own accord, due to sparse, wet fuels.

The second photo is near the center of the fire at 4,500 feet in old-growth pine (Pinus ponderosa). This area is part of the historic Santiam Pass Trail system used for thousands of years. Many of the trees killed are CMT’s – culturally modified trees such as bark-peeled trees and hearth trees. They are relics of history, formerly living artifacts of human occupation and anthropogenic fire.

More B&B post-fire photos:

South of Santiam Pass. Photo by Greg Brenner. Click for larger image.

Along the Pacific Crest Trail. Photo by Sarah Dubrasich. Click for larger image.

Near Square Lake. Photo by Bob Zybach, courtesy Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc. Click for larger image.

25 Feb 2010, 10:57pm
by Larry H.

I had a thought today about current eco-happenings of late. It appears that there is a big push to convince America that wildfires are both over-estimated in intensity and under-estimated in environmental “benefit”. For a long time there have been groups that seek to shut down public timber sales. I had a revelation that their new target could lead to their endgame scenario.

They want to eliminate forestry itself from the forests. They would choose to do nothing at all and label forestry as irrelevant and unnecessary. I’ve seen on another website (where some others from here occasionally attend), where forestry opponents are only succeeding in amplifying the differences between abusive emotional eco’s and foresters armed with scientific facts. We couldn’t ask for a more perfect situation to convince open minds.

Excellent pics!

25 Feb 2010, 11:18pm
by Bob Zybach

Thanks, Mike.

This “study” was pure politicized crap. I am sorely disappointed that Dr. Bailey would even pretend to be an “expert” on a topic of which he obviously knows little or nothing. What a bunch of junk.

As you know, I have a PhD from OSU specifically in the study of catastrophic wildfires. The kind of junk displayed in Science Digest greatly diminishes the value of my own research. Too bad the unnamed authors have never bothered to do even a superficial literature review of prior research, including my own. Isn’t that a “first step” taught by the college? What must the students think?

The OSU College of Forestry should be greatly embarrassed by this public display of advocacy and ignorance. What a mess. And they have plastered it across the media here, here, and here, for instance.

26 Feb 2010, 2:02pm
by Tim B.

Unfortunately, this type of thinking is seeping into the Forest Service as well. The Willamette NF has been asked by the D.C. office to analyze last Fall’s 15,000 acre Tumblebug Fire to see what Forest Plan “desired future conditions” may have been accomplished by this fire. Pretty amazing that anybody could figure that there’s an up-side to the incineration of about 4000 acres of spotted owl habitat, or the death of 400 to 500 year old legacy trees, not to mention what may happen with the precious bull trout at the bottom of the hill. Hopefully this exercise will provide an opportunity to offer a reality check to the folks in the far away windowless rooms.

Then there’s the not-so-uncommon-today phrase, “Most burned area within the majority of Oregon fires are not stand-replacement situations.” I don’t know what fires these idiots are looking at (unless “most” includes every piddly little lightning strike) but all the big fires I have been intimately familiar with over the past 22 years (Shade Beach, Warner Creek, Charleton, Clark, and now the Tumblebug) have from 40 to 90% of the burn areas in complete stand replacement. Sure the whole area affected by fire is not incinerated; there’s the stuff that underburned towards the end when the fire was winding down, and the stuff that was underburned as a suppression effort, and there are usually some areas within the perimeter that never burnt in the first place, but to say that most fires are not stand replacement does not convey the mental image of half or more being stands like the pictures included in this piece.

What it really boils downs to is these folks, researchers and bureaucrats alike, are not field going and really don’t have the least little clue what is happening in these forests. And they don’t even have the courtesy to converse with those of us who may actually know something about real life ground conditions.

26 Feb 2010, 4:09pm
by Larry H.

We’re supposed to learn to love mosaics that include vast stands of bug-trees, burned “snaglands”, and brushfields, even though their presence isn’t “natural” in those “wildly” excessive amounts. We’re also expected to leave our forest homes, or be burned out, intentionally or unintentionally.

They are treading right into our areas of expertise and we have to remain vigilant to objectively present the science we know to be true, through decades of observation and experience. Don’t let them drag us down to their ignorant and childish levels, because they’ll beat us with experience. Clever patronizing and simple responses to their meaningless comments and insults will gain us more with those who have open minds and eyes that see beyond the shrill rhetoric of partisan politics.

28 Feb 2010, 10:56pm
by Roger Underwood

Thankyou for this analysis.

In Australia there are interesting parallels between the issues of global warming and bushfire management. Global warming protagonists tend to be academics and agency researchers who use computers to generate scenarios. Increasingly these scenarios are being found not to reflect what is actually happening in the real world. Similarly bushfire science has increasingly been taken over by academics whose tool of trade is the computer, and who have little or no actual experience of fire in the bush. This allows them to develop models which produce laughable outcomes - well, laughable to people who know about fire, but tragic in their consequences, because of their influence on policy and management. For example, a recently-published study by Australian academics produced a computer model that shows that suppression capability is always more important than fuels management in determining wildfire outcomes. No firefighter in Australia would confirm this from personal experience. Needless to say, a quick look at the model quickly reveals “Garbage-in-Garbage-out”. Many of the model’s premises are questionable to say the least. But this did not stop the paper being accepted after peer-review and published in an international journal. It is now widely quoted by Australian environmentalists as providing support for their opposition to prescribed burning in eucalypt forests.

Unlike in the global warming situation, there is no groundswell of popular interest in bushfire management in Australia, and our academic gurus continue to write and say what they like, virtually without scrutiny. Its good to see that this is not the case in the USA.

1 Mar 2010, 8:10pm
by Al

I find that the late Prof. Bob Colwell of the U.C. School of Forestry had a better explanation of GIGO - “Garbage in, gospel out”

2 Mar 2010, 8:36am
by Warren S.

Thanks for the thorough de-bunking of this pro-fire crap. One correction Id like to offer: it does not support your argument or your credibility to deny global warming. Whatever your opinion on the subject, by publicly claiming it a hoax you are declaring yourself a fringe wingnut. Global warming impacts make forest restoration even more important. Since your forestry arguments do have merit, I’d leave the climate science to the scientists (who seem to be in agreement on this one).

2 Mar 2010, 10:07am
by Mike

Dear Warren,

I hear you. I can post 1,000 erudite analyses and expositions over years and years, display my intelligence and deep knowledge of forestry and environmental sciences, create an online institute and post the top research papers by the top scientists, but if I slip in one non-conformist phrase, I am labeled as a fringe wingnut.

Whoosh, there goes all my credibility.

But here’s the thing: I am not a fringe wingnut. I am well-versed in all the environmental sciences and in daily communication with some of the top climate scientists in the world. They have provided me with their papers, research, data, and much expert discussion. And from that, I have concluded that there is no significant global warming happening.

Even Phil Jones of CRU admitted the other day that there has been no significant global warming for the last 15 years. The leaked CRU emails (the smoking gun of Climategate) reveal that numerous IPCC drafters are consternated by that fact.

The troposphere is not warming as the models predict. The oceans are not warming. Sea levels are not rising any faster than they have for the last 8,000 years. There are valid questions about the quality of the surface temperature record, which appears to have been manipulated. There is no scientific consensus on global warming, despite all the propaganda to that effect.

So I am going to call these things like I see them, regardless of whether people think I’m a fringe wingnut or not. I have established my credentials as an expert in environmental science by dint of my online honesty, authenticity, and integrity.

I’m not going to hold back for fear of disturbing non-expert prejudicial notions. I never have before.


3 Mar 2010, 10:29am
by leader_stroke

I would not mind a posting here that presents facts and science supporting the notion of anthropogenic fire regimes in the Pacific Northwest. What is the evidence? This seems like standard arm-waving by the worst of the archeological mind-sets.

In my mind, the idea of anthropogenic fire regimes is politically convenient for advocacy of a heavy hand-on-the-land approach. It stands on much less firm ground than the published science the author here decries as politically motivated.

To support the case for anthropogenic fire regimes, over extensive areas, there needs to be a strong case for a space-time pattern of fire that is not more parsimoniously explained by climate and lightning. And if there is such a case, it must always be qualified about where it applies (i.e., only areas now in agriculture?). Thank you.

Reply: What you mind and don’t is of no concern to us, l_s. However, if you wish to comment on posts here in the future, you must submit your real name and a valid email address. Those are the rules.



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