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Friday, August 21. 2015
Why do we fight forest fires?
Fallen firefighters remembered as heroes as thousands battle blazes across west
Like most conservationists, I believe that Smokey The Bear is obsolete. He was, in fact, an agent of the lumber industry as administered and subsidized by the US Forest Service. Lives and money should not be spent to combat a necessary natural process. As that article notes:
Government fire-suppression policies, like so many government policies, have unintended consequences which are worse than the original problem. If you must have a house in the woods or fire zone, get fire insurance and hope for the best. Or don't. Monitoring fires from the air is a worthwhile government - or private -warning service, same as storms.
And let the trees burn. That restarts the natural succession which produces an abundance of wildlife and biodiversity. Brave as they are, these firefighters die horribly for no good reason at all.
Posted by The News Junkie in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 14:30 | Comments (15) | Trackback (1)
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Some formative events http://www.foresthistory.org/ASPNET/Policy/Fire/FamousFires/1910Fires.aspx
Would not have a home in a wildfire zone. Maybe a hunting cabin is all.
People in New York City used to only have beach cottages in the hurricane flood zone...then they became living on the beach. And now we have all the whining when a hurricane strikes the area.
I found this observation of interest in a book, published in 1896, but represented as be memoirs of an early settler of the upper Charles in Massachusetts in the mid 17th century
For the custom of
the Indians was, as I well knew, to fire all the
forests in November, to clear their paths of under-
wood : that is why you may find no timber trees in
our country, save along the watercourses. But in
those days, as the greatest trees escaped, they grew
hither and there in clumps, as in our parks at home;
and even in the forest there was less tangle of wild-
wood or vine, so that you could see a deer through
the great trees nigh a gunshot away.
But then Leland Sanford was such an advocate of the national forests because at the time his railroad interests had a near insatiable need for wood for cross-ties, etc. So every tree burned was a loss to the powerful men.
If my house were burning down, naturally my instinct would be to try to save it. I hope I'd rein in my instinct before I encouraged someone else to get killed trying to save it.
In the 1880's, after the railway was built across Canada to Vancouver, prospectors were more easily able to get to the East Kootenay area (before had been Dewdney Trail, which was foot or horse only). Between the trains and the prospectors, there were a lot of fires, which cleared pastures for large game animals.
Fast forward about 70-odd years, and the forests had regrown, so the animal population dwindled. Have a few good fire seasons, and the animals will return.
the circle of life applies to the forest as well as the critters. Up here in maine, forests were clear cut for paper and saw logs. It looks like he'' for a couple years, as the forest grows back animals flourish because the food is within reach. Sunlight hitting the ground produces an explosion of new growth. I suspect a fire accomplishes the same thing, but has some ugly side affects as well.
cousin Smokey seems to be speaking to picnickers and campers, hikers, hunters, fugitives, Scouts, Girl Guides, etc., who build campfires, rather than lightning, volcanoes, dragons or whatever else causes rangefires. while I'd be more than happy to burn down any forest I think the better policy is to vigorously fight man-made accidental and arson fires and let natural forest fires do their thing.
You got a fool-proof(or should I say "Donnie-proof") method of distinguishing between the two?
During early stages, not forensically......
I'm going to make an educated guess that a fire that starts within a hundred yards of a campground or in the Pasadena foothills is man-made, and that one starts 100 miles from nowhere, in the presence of lightning is, natural.
that's earl-proof enough for anyone.
Many of the points here are correct. But, one thing that has not been discussed is this: we can help trees to grow larger by controlling the undergrowth. That is to say burn the undergrowth in a controlled way. Take out the overpopulation of new growth trees, but don't just do it in the lazy man's way. If you want all the trees gone from one area--let the loggers cut, then go and burn the residual. If you want to save the larger trees and some of the middle aged/younger trees then you go in and burn the brushy undergrowth. It is so typical of the hippie/laid back/ generation of management to say--"let it all burn--it's natural".
Environmentalists have shut down timber cutting on federal lands for the most part. We have a choice to harvest timber or burn timber....we chose to burn it. There are not enough natural fire breaks to contain fires but timber harvesting can add additional fire breaks and provide grazing for wildlife. But no...we adopted a policy to let it grow from coast to coast and are surprised when it tries to burn from coast to coast.
The worst fire in Yellowstone history was "not fought" and the only thing that stopped it was the fall snows. That was a stupid mistake by the parks department. They realize it now but won't admit it. However they will fight future fires.
The most likely lands to burn or the public lands where fire suppression and wood cutting has been abandoned. The least likely forest land to catch fire is the privately owned land that is being grown to harvest. It is the government policies that make fires more likely. It is doubtful that letting them burn (another brilliant government idea) will prevent future fires. Wouldn't it make more sense to harvest the wood than tolet it burn???
Letting the trees burn is an ignorant and typical liberal viewpoint on management of forests. Letting the trees burn is not an act of conversation but rather an act of destruction.
Small fires clear underbrush and weak trees; however, the western states are clogged with huge amounts of fuel from blowdown trees, beetle kill trees, unthinned stands of trees, and years of planned neglect by federal and state authorities. As a result when the fires start they are not small, relatively cool fires, but are large hot fires which sterilize the earth almost a foot deep. In the areas after a hot fire, there is no regrowth for decades.
The American people are lulled into thinking that fires are natural and refresh the environment, but having worked on wildfires, I can tell you with authority that the large fires destroy the earth, kill hundreds of large animals and birds and kill multiple thousands of small animals -- voles, chipmunks and the like. The insects are eliminated and the earth is laid bare for erosion to carry it away.for decades. Streams are so damaged that they take years to recover.
We refuse to allow logging of any type in our national areas. As a result beetle kill ranges from New Mexico into Canada destroying entire forests and allowing them to burn like a movie set. If America maintained its national areas in a similar manner to European nations, we would have selective clearing of trees and underbrush allowing for good growth in the forest and reducing the large, complex fires that kill the earth for decades.
Letting the trees burn is ignorant and is not conservation.
The heat has left us, though the humidity remains here in the Lakes Region. Not that I'm complaining. All I have to do is remember what it was like here last January and any thought of complaining about the...
Tracked: Aug 23, 22:46