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Jim Beers on Wildfires/Forest Fires Fior Dummies

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Jim Beers on Wildfires/Forest Fires Fior Dummies

Old 09-06-2015, 12:34 PM
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Default Jim Beers on Wildfires/Forest Fires Fior Dummies

Jim Beers on Fires


Forest Fires for Dummies

A Short Course written in a short time.

First of all, forget all that romantic mythology about those noble
inhabitants of North America that greeted the Europeans. The natives
engaged in both intermittent and long warfare. Therefore they moved and
were even massacred with some frequency. Ergo (therefore for you that
didn't take Latin) the idea that somehow the woodlands, grasslands and other
habitats of that undeveloped wilderness (the correct two words) were
"burned" regularly, or that the harvest or "take" of fish and wildlife was
somehow "in tune" with other than opportunity and the effort required, or
that trees were cut or grass grazed in tune with some sort of system or
understanding is a "Myth, a Myth!" (Miss Piggy enters stage right at this
point saying "Yeth, Yeth?")

Set aside, if you will, the fact that some few tribes in a minority of time
were able to find some rare stability, inhabit an area for a period of peace
and develop primitive land and animal use schemes that did provide these
people with some measure of use that hopefully kept their surroundings
productive of their needs. Never the less, lightning fires ignited
grasslands and mature woodlands, fires ignited by natives often got away
with wind shifts and surprise fuel ignitions that burned longer than
imagined. Life was tough for these tough people. Between warlike
neighbors, marauders, weather, disease, food scarcities and weapon
advancements (just like Europe longbows replaced crossbows; bow and arrow
material changes, arrow/spear point material, chipping techniques, use of
horses, and battle/sneak attack procedures made early North American life
too often "nasty, brutish and short." Bottom line there ARE NO "NATIVE

That said, Europeans moved westward cutting timber, making farms and towns
etc. etc. Buffalo were whittled down (how else to grow crops and graze
livestock?) Fertile farm land was homesteaded and the better grazing lands
were similarly claimed and "developed". The marginal places were cut for
timber and grazed by rovers. This was done hard because they were not the
property of those cutting and grazing them: therefore fires like the
Hinckley (MN) Fire were not uncommon in the late 19th century in all the
slash (deadwood not used) lying about. Also, Americans were beginning to
realize that it was not good to just cut everything and graze it so hard so
unowned lands wound up under a new system wherein the federal government
would own and manage it for all - the loggers, the ranchers, the hunters,
the fishermen, the camper, the local communities, the hikers, the Scout
Troops, the elderly, the schools, the local government, the animals, the
trees, the children the puppies, the scientists. - ( I apologize here, I
always get carried away at this point like some federal political staffer or
bureaucrat writing a new law for my boss to get votes out of.)

In the first 2/3 of the 20th century this worked reasonably well. Gifford
Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, Teddy Roosevelt et al saw their names etched in
books, and on all manner of federal landholdings. While the National Park
Service always kept their original mandate for the Washington Gods to
forever oppose tree-cutting and hunting; the US Forest Service managed their
vast woodlands well as did the Bureau of Land Management manage their vast
grasslands for one and all. Cattle grazed year after year, trees were cut
in rotations and access roads were numerous and frequent making timber
hauling AND Fire Fighting possible. Elk and Deer harvests plus fishing
managed streams filled state conservation coffers, local businesses thrived,
and local government revenues were stable and important. Also, predators
like wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, and cougars were either
exterminated or kept at tolerable (to those living with them) levels to
sustain the ranches, timber industry, and livestock. Forest (or Grass)
Fires were infrequent because fire fuel was managed along with timber
cutting for rotating habitats, desired wild animals and local community need
and desires. When fires did occur, fighting them was possible and the
nearby persons, towns and private property were in nowhere near the danger
they are today in the frequent, massive, "catastrophic" fires that fill our
newspapers and Congressional Requests for more and more Billions of dollars
and even appeals to far away countries like New Zealand to send us men to
fight these seemingly impervious to everything but bombers with red
chemicals fires.

What happened? The 1960's happened. Free love (i.e. sex), drugs, anti-war,
animal rights, and extreme environmentalism happened.

So the US Fish and Wildlife Service showed the way with new laws, especially
the Endangered Species Act that the federal bureaucrats owned everything and
could do what they want with impunity. Spotted owls killed the logging
industry in SW Oregon. The snail darter almost stopped a needed dam.
Wolves were released, protected and spread like, well, wildfire. Grizzly
bears were protected everywhere under pain of being "Gulagged" and your
family deported. Everywhere animals were suddenly "endangered" or
"threatened". Suddenly, trees shouldn't be cut but loved and "saved."
Likewise grass became some sort of Monet-like subject of only beauty and to
use it was verboten. Add in that the Universities saw what was happening
and ground out government-paid-for "science foe every cockamamie claim being
made by the 1960's-leftover radical organizations like Defenders of
Wildlife, NRDC, CBD, "Friends" of this and that", and all the ill-educated
urban worthies that sent their lunch money to these outfits to influence the
bureaucrats and fund and promise votes to the devolving politicians that
were once game fish-like and were rapidly becoming bottom feeders like some
20# Asian carp in the Illinois River.

Rising out of this effluvium were all the "New Age" foresters, biologists,
and associated experts replacing the old white guys. The new goals were all
credited to "shareholders". "input", "science" and "coordination". The
USFWS continues to declare and prohibit tree cutting over growing areas.
The USFS Forests close roads, eliminate logging, prohibit even timber
cleanup after disease outbreaks or storms and generally do all they can to
grow fire fuel in unmanaged woodlands. USFS and BLM close every grazing
allotment they can. All three (USFS, BLM, USFWS) work with the radical
1960's leftover organizations like nurses working with doctors, not to save
lives but to destroy rural America. What they can't do the pandering
political slogs in both parties declare "Wilderness" and "Sanctuary" lands
where no one goes legally and the unmanaged and unused RENEWABLE NATURAL
RESOURCES simply create fire fuel and the catastrophic fires we blame on
global warming (like the moose disappearance to wolves in Minnesota) and
"European lifestyles" and "too many people" that have destroyed that
pristine and idyllic world that formerly occupied the United States.

It's not global warming; it's not even the fire fuel: the fires are caused
by a faulty political philosophy fueled by radical groups buying politicians
and ignorant bureaucrats posing as natural resource "experts" that are no
more than Charlie Mc Carthies for whoever is in charge. Blame them and the
next time you, hear, "Did you see where President named a new "Wilderness"
and a new "Marine Sanctuary"? Oh, I don't care about that Iran nuclear deal
or the National Debt; I'm going to vote for whoever makes more Wildernesses
and send some money to the Sierra Club too." Blame yourself for not
changing what has been going on now for 50 years.

Jim Beers
27 August 2015
Old 09-06-2015, 03:44 PM
MooseHenden's Avatar
Super Moderator
Well, golly JimBob!
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 36,454

Long read but worth it. It's amazing to me how the NFS has gone from a managed user basis of controlled harvesting to a,"Don't you dare touch that tree", mentality. Whatever happened to the citizens who pay for all these public lands actually getting to use them? I mean everybody, not just hikers and bicyclists....
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