Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post The politics of wildfire

    By ROBERT GEHRKE
    Associated Press Writer
    WASHINGTON (AP) - With fires threatening communities in Arizona
    and New Mexico, a Senate committee considered legislation Thursday
    that would accelerate projects to cut trees from thick, dense
    forests to reduce the risks of catastrophic fire.
    "The long, hot summer of forest fires has already begun and
    they're playing themselves out in the states of New Mexico and
    Arizona," Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, said as the Senate
    Agriculture Committee debated the bill, which is backed by the Bush
    administration.
    The bill would allow federal land managers to accelerate logging
    and controlled burning on 20 million acres of federal land with the
    most severe fire risks, either because they have grown thick with
    flammable brush and trees or because disease or insect infestations
    have left behind dead, dry timber.
    The areas would be exempt from some of the normal environmental
    reviews. It would also limit administrative appeals and direct
    judges to expedite court challenges that Republicans say have
    caused projects to bog down for years.
    The changes, said Mark Rey, the Agriculture Department
    undersecretary in charge of the Forest Service, would allow more
    money to be devoted to treating the forests and shorten the time
    before a project is implemented.
    The Bush administration has already removed some of the hurdles
    to forest treatment. Under rules adopted in May, logging on up to
    1,000 acres and controlled burns on up to 4,500 acres in at-risk
    areas could be "categorically excluded" from environmental
    reviews and administrative appeals.
    Together, the bill, which passed the House last month, and the
    rules implement the bulk of President Bush's Healthy Forest
    Initiative, which he outlined last summer after the touring a
    charred Oregon forest.
    Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., sent a letter to Senate Majority
    Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Tom Daschle,
    D-S.D., urging them to pass the bill before Congress recesses in
    August so the changes can be in place in time to make a difference
    in next year's fire season.
    The administration estimates that 190 million acres of federal
    land - an area the size of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming combined -
    are at heightened risk for a severe wildfire.
    "We can protect the environment, we can restore our forests to
    a healthy condition, we can reduce our danger to" communities,
    said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
    Michael Petersen of The Lands Council, an environmental group
    based in Spokane, Wash., told the committee that efforts to treat
    forests need to be focused more on areas surrounding communities.
    "We can't and shouldn't fireproof our forests, but we can work
    toward fireproofing our communities," he said.
    He also expressed concerns that the bill would allow
    environmentally damaging projects to go ahead without adequate
    environmental review, that it limits public input in forest
    management and would provide new subsidies for logging companies.
    A wildfire along the banks of the Rio Grande has burned more
    than 700 acres outside Albuquerque, N.M., threatening homes and
    forcing more than 200 people to evacuate. And a fire in southern
    Arizona has burned 30,600 acres, destroying 345 buildings in the
    vacation town of Summerhaven.
    Still, this year's fire season has been relatively mild, burning
    653,000 acres, one-fourth of the acreage that had burned at this
    point last year. Over the past decade, an average of 1.2 million
    acres have burned by this time each year.
    On Monday, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., introduced alternative
    forest legislation that would also expedite logging and controlled
    burns in high-risk areas and would limit appeals, but would require
    that 70 percent of forest treatments be focused within a half-mile
    of communities.
    Rey said the Democratic bill would reverse some of the changes
    the administration put into effect in May and would add to the
    paperwork required for forest projects.
    "Many people accuse us of fiddling while this crisis unfolds
    and I fear if you give us that measure it would be a
    Stradivarius," he said.
    Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Dianne Feinstein of
    California also introduced legislation Thursday that would speed
    appeals, authorize $3.8 billion for forest treatment and require
    that at least half the work be done near communities. It also would
    prohibit cutting of old-growth trees and protect roadless areas.
    Wyden said the bill has the best chance of getting the 60 votes
    needed to pass the Senate this year.
    ---
    On the Net:
    U.S. Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post 7/22/03

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Forest Service needs Congress to quickly
    pass a broad overhaul of national forest management, a top official
    said Tuesday, in order to reduce the threat of major wildfires next
    year.
    "Even if it passes next spring, we won't be able to use it in
    the next fire season," said Mark Rey, the Agriculture Department
    undersecretary in charge of the Forest Service.
    Rey's comments came as the Senate appears headed for another
    logjam over a bill passed last month by the House and backed by the
    White House.
    Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the administration is at least four
    votes short of the 60 it would need to pass the House bill over the
    Democrats' objections. He said an agreement is possible if the
    White House is willing to work with Democrats who are reluctant to
    tinker with the role of the courts in reviewing forest management.
    "The ball is in the administration's court," Wyden said. "But
    if they make a judgment that they just want to go on the campaign
    trail, that it's the House bill or nothing, that would be injurious
    to the country."
    Last year the administration's efforts to speed up forest
    treatment failed when senators could not agree on legislation.
    Several expressed frustration at the prospect of inaction this
    year.
    "We're tiptoeing through the forests as they burn," said Sen.
    Larry Craig, R-Idaho. "I would hope that politics would yield to
    common sense on this issue."
    The House bill would speed up efforts to cut trees from
    overgrown forests and use controlled burns to consume excess fuel
    in an effort to prevent the type of catastrophic wildfire that
    charred nearly 7 million acres last year.
    It would exempt 20 million acres of at-risk forests from normal
    environmental reviews and would limit administrative appeals and
    seek to expedite court challenges that the administration argues
    have long delayed some forest treatment projects.
    The Bush administration has already removed some of the hurdles
    to forest treatment. Under rules adopted in May, logging on up to
    1,000 acres and controlled burns on up to 4,500 acres in at-risk
    areas could be "categorically excluded" from environmental
    reviews and administrative appeals.
    The administration estimates that 190 million acres of federal
    land - an area the size of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming combined -
    are at heightened risk for a severe wildfire.
    So far this year, fires have charred nearly 1.5 million acres,
    all of them in Western states.
    The Senate Agriculture Committee has a hearing scheduled for
    Thursday to amend the wildfire legislation and vote to send it to
    the full Senate for action.
    "We need Congress to act. This is an issue that has been
    debated ad nauseam in D.C.," said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a
    Democrat. "While the clouds for the 'perfect storm' have been
    gathering for a long time, we now have the perfect storm, with the
    drought, the bark beetle infestation and the large fires."
    Napolitano said the Western Governors' Association has endorsed
    a plan that calls for protecting communities that border forests;
    cooperation between federal, state and local officials; and a
    substantial increase in the federal funding going to wildfire
    prevention.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  3. #3
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post July 24th

    By ROBERT GEHRKE
    Associated Press Writer
    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Agriculture Committee avoided a
    showdown on a forest-fire prevention bill Thursday, advancing it
    but choosing to deal with its thornier elements when the bill
    reaches the full Senate in September.
    Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said he is hopeful a
    compromise can be reached to tackle the fire issue before Congress
    returns in September from a monthlong recess.
    "We have a real opportunity to address it and I hope we seize
    that opportunity in a bipartisan manner," he said.
    Senators from both parties concede the administration is about
    four votes short of the 60 needed to pass the bill over Democrats'
    objections if a deal is not struck.
    Last year, efforts to pass legislation to streamline forest-fire
    reduction efforts and limit environmental appeals got bogged down
    in partisan bickering in the Senate. On Thursday, senators said
    they cannot afford to wait any longer.
    Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, said the death of two firefighters
    in his state Tuesday - which brought to eight the number of
    firefighters killed this year - demonstrates the need for action.
    "These sacrifices underscore the need for legislation to
    address the health crisis facing our nation's forests," Crapo
    said. "We can't let our forests continue to decay as projects to
    enhance their health are delayed behind frivolous appeals and
    litigation."
    Members of both parties have voiced support for speeding up the
    process to cut trees out of forests that have grown too thick or
    have been ravaged by bugs in order to reduce the threat of the kind
    of massive wildfires that burned across the West in 2000 and 2002.
    The major sticking point remains over whether Congress should
    require anyone challenging such a project to show that the decision
    to cut the trees was "arbitrary and capricious."
    "Essentially what they're doing is reaching in and putting a
    hand on the scale of justice," said Marty Hayden, an attorney with
    the environmental group Earthjustice.
    Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., agreed the bill tinkers with the
    court system and continues to underfund forest treatment projects.
    He introduced his own bill Thursday, bringing to at least five the
    number of Senate alternatives to the House bill.
    The committee added provisions to the bill that would create a
    public land corps to put at-risk youth to work on forest health
    projects, and provide $15 million in grants to help rebuild rural
    economies in nine states that have lost forestry jobs.
    Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., the sponsor of the House bill, said
    it has been two months since the House approved the legislation,
    and the Senate should act quickly.
    "I know the Senate is busy these days, but this is a crisis
    situation of enormous proportions and I would hope that my
    colleagues on the other side of the Capitol would treat this
    legislation with commensurate urgency," McInnis said.
    The Bush administration in May enacted rules that allow logging
    on up to 1,000 acres and controlled burns on up to 4,500 acres in
    at-risk areas without environmental reviews and administrative
    appeals.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  4. #4
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post Budget Spent

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Forest Service has exhausted its
    firefighting budget at a time that more than two dozen large
    wildfires are raging in the West.
    The agency said Monday it would begin transferring money from
    other accounts - including fire prevention projects - to continue
    putting out fires.
    Underfunding is a perennial problem for the Forest Service and
    one that has drawn increasing criticism from Western lawmakers and
    watchdog groups. They say the agency needs to do a better job
    estimating how much will be needed to fight fires and Congress
    should find a way to provide the money.
    "Here we go again," said Keith Ashdown, a spokesman for
    Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group that has criticized
    the Forest Service. "Unfortunately, we handle every fire season
    like it's a financial crisis."
    Ashdown and other critics say the makeshift approach - borrowing
    from accounts for fire prevention, road repair and restoration of
    areas damaged by previous fires - makes little sense, since many of
    the programs are intended to keep fires from happening at all.
    Monday's announcement comes less than a week after Congress
    rejected President Bush's request for $289 million in emergency
    spending to fight wildfires. Bush had requested the money - which
    would supplement $578 million already allocated for firefighting by
    the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management - as part of an
    emergency spending bill for natural disasters.
    Pressured by record federal deficits and eager to leave town,
    the House Republican leadership cut out the wildfire money before
    leaving on summer recess July 25.
    The Senate had initially approved the firefighting money in its
    version of the emergency bill. But senators removed the funding
    last week to align their bill with the House and send it to Bush
    for his signature.
    The omission of the firefighting money left many Western
    senators seething.
    "I have as conservative a voting record as anybody, but I don't
    try to be crazy about it," said Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah. "If
    there's something that's a legitimate role of government, even
    conservatives understand you fund it."
    The Forest Service said Monday it expects to spend at least $773
    million on firefighting this year, about $355 million more than
    allocated in the current budget. That estimate could go up,
    depending on the severity of large fires now burning in nine
    Western states, officials said.
    The Forest Service spent more than $1.4 billion in 2002, one of
    the worst fire seasons on record.
    In congressional testimony this year, Forest Service Chief Dale
    Bosworth said the agency and Congress must find a long-term
    solution.
    "It's absolutely crazy to continue year after year wondering if
    we have to transfer money to cover fire costs," he said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Forest Service: http://www.fs.fed.us/
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  5. #5
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    REDMOND, Ore. (AP) - With the smoke of a wildfire billowing on
    the horizon, President Bush urged Congress on Thursday to support
    his plan to ease environmental restrictions on logging and speed
    thinning projects in national forests to reduce the danger of
    wildfire.
    "We have a problem in Oregon and around our country that we
    must start solving," Bush said, after flying over wildfires in the
    Cascade Range. "The problem is too much undergrowth and that
    creates conditions for unbelievably hot fires."
    Environmentalists have complained that Bush's initiative,
    announced a year ago during a visit to southern Oregon that was
    also marked by wildfires, would allow timber companies to harvest
    old growth forests, reduce public involvement in forest management
    decisions, and could jeopardize endangered species.
    "If you are concerned about old growth, you'd better be worried
    about conditions that can create deadly fires," Bush told a crowd
    at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in central Oregon.
    The strategy, he said, "is not something invented in
    Washington. It is the collective wisdom of scientists, wildlife
    biologists, forestry professionals, firefighters."
    "Our administration is taking their advice. Congress needs to
    take their advice," Bush said.
    Bush had planned to tour a U.S. Forest Service thinning project
    near Camp Sherman and urge support for his initiative in a speech
    in the mountain community. Plans changed after the Booth and Bear
    Butte Complex fires grew to 4,000 acres, forcing evacuation of the
    tiny community of Camp Sherman and closing U.S. Highway 20.
    The fires broke out Tuesday afternoon in the Mount Jefferson
    Wilderness and grew quickly. The cause was under investigation. The
    president toured the area by air, but vision was obscured by smoke,
    which could be smelled in the cabin of his aircraft.
    A bill sponsored by Republican congressmen Greg Walden of Oregon
    and Scott McInnis of Colorado sailed through the House last May,
    and is awaiting consideration in the Senate, where Sen. Ron Wyden,
    D-Ore., has demanded changes.
    Wyden wants the bill amended to add federal funding for thinning
    projects, rather than paying for them through the sale of large
    trees that are the most fire-resistant. Wyden also wants to exclude
    logging in the old growth forests that have been battlegrounds in
    the Northwest.
    Josh Kardon, Wyden's chief of staff, said he did not hear
    anything in the president's speech that would indicate his
    willingness to offer the kind of compromise needed for the House
    bill to be embraced by Democrats and pass the Senate.
    "The president has been the father of the Healthy Forest
    Initiative but he has been something of an absentee father of
    late," Kardon said.
    Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth said existing budgets could
    be stretched farther if the agency did not have to devote so much
    money to paperwork.
    Last year, wildfires burned nearly 7 million acres nationally
    and killed 23 firefighters, destroyed hundreds of homes and cost
    the federal government $1.5 billion.
    Bush's bill calls for aggressive thinning on up to 20 million
    acres of the 190 million acres the Forest Service has estimated at
    high risk of wildfire. It would eliminate some environmental
    reviews, limit appeals on overgrown woodlands, and direct judges to
    consider the need to protect forests from wildfire when considering
    lawsuits, so forest projects could be completed within months.
    Critics say the Bush plan will make it easier to harvest large
    trees - the most valuable for lumber mills - and damage habitat for
    fish and wildlife.
    Tim Lillebo, Eastern Oregon Field representative for the Oregon
    Natural Resources Council, an environmental group, said he was
    encouraged by the president's mention of protecting old growth
    forests, setting priorities for projects that protect forest
    communities, and maintaining public participating in forest
    management decisions.
    "If you're saying it, George, write it into the bill," Lillebo
    said. "If you write it into the bill, we'll get some real good
    common ground."
    The bill includes a provision allowing logging projects on up to
    1,000 acres without environmental review if they are infested with
    insects. Controlled burns up to 4,500 acres could be done without
    environmental studies. Though not eligible for administrative
    appeal, such "categorical exclusions" would still be liable to
    court challenges.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    1

    Question Clinton vs Bush-Fire Prevention?

    Do you have any budgetary numbers on the amounts allocated for Wildfire Prevention?
    What hinderances are there to prevention, imposed by ultra-environmentalists, ie access to rugged, remote regions?

    Thanks

  7. #7
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Default

    These are the numbers I found on the web.

    The Bush Administration requested $2.2 billion in wildfire prevention and firefighting money for the Interior Department and the Forest Service. (FY2003)

    The Clinton Administration's proposal for wildland fire management in September of 2000, was for 2.8 billion dollars, an increase of 1.6 billion over the current allotment at that time.


    Now.....does logging reduce the threat of wildfire?
    Food for thought:

    Perhaps the most significant big wildfire occured in 1871 near Peshtigo, Wisconsin in an area that had been extensively logged. Salable timber was removed, whereas slash and dense undergrowth were left behind. On October 8th, a small brush fire quickly grew into an inferno, consumed Peshtigo within an hour, damaging 16 other towns, and burnt more than 1.2 million acres. More than 1,200 people died, making it the worst wildfire disaster in US history.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  8. #8
    Forum Member RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
    Posts
    6,329

    Default

    Puts it all in perspective doesn't it, the horrendous fire season in BC and parts of Alberta. I like to think that shows the advances in technology etc that we haven't lost 1200 lives. 3 lives lost is bad enough.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  9. #9
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A group of U.S. Forest Service employees
    and others want the government to study its firefighting policies
    and the use of chemical fire retardants.
    Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics contends that
    decades of aggressive fire suppression have created even more
    dangerous fire conditions in the nation's forests, resulting in
    increased risk of death or injury to firefighters.
    The Eugene, Ore.-based group said it will seek a court order on
    Tuesday requiring the Forest Service to prepare a comprehensive
    environmental study on its use of fire retardant and an examination
    of firefighting's toll on human life.
    "Too many firefighters die each year in a fruitless and
    self-defeating war against fire," Executive Director Andy Stahl
    said. "We can't think of a more appropriate organization to come
    to the defense of wildland firefighters or to hold our agency
    accountable for the unwarranted risk it places on its employees."
    Twenty-six people died in firefighting-related incidents this
    year, and more than 900 wildland firefighters have died since 1910.
    A call to the Forest Service's regional office in Missoula went
    unanswered on Monday, a federal holiday.
    "The Forest Service has never, not once in its history, weighed
    the pros and cons of firefighting," said attorney Marc Fink of the
    Western Environmental Law Center, which represents the Forest
    Service employee group.
    Because an environmental impact statement must examine social
    effects, it would have to consider the deaths of firefighters
    killed fighting wildfires in the past century, Stahl said.
    The group contends the Forest Service has violated the National
    Environmental Policy Act by failing to go through an open public
    process to examine the environmental impacts of dropping retardant
    on wildfires.
    It also claims that the Forest Service violated the Endangered
    Species Act by failing to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
    Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service on the lethal
    effects on threatened and endangered bull trout and salmon of
    dropping fire retardant in streams.
    Nearly 3.1 million acres of range and forest has burned so far
    this year with the cost of suppression still being calculated. A
    year ago, 6.7 million acres burned at a cost of $1.6 billion,
    according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The 10-year
    average of 4.1 million acres.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics:
    http://www.fseee.org

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  10. #10
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Just as the Southern California
    wildfires were beginning late last week, the Bush administration
    quietly turned down a six-month-old emergency request by Gov. Gray
    Davis for help in removing dead and dying trees in the same forests
    now being consumed by flame.
    In April, Davis asked for a federal emergency declaration in
    three counties where bark beetle infestation had left thousands of
    acres of dense woodland vulnerable to fire.
    If approved, the presidential proclamation would have paved the
    way for millions of dollars in federal support for clearing dead
    trees in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
    "We made the request in the hope of making a horrific situation
    less serious and we were turned down," Davis spokesman Steve
    Maviglio said.
    A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which
    handled the Davis request, said it decided against the proposal
    largely because Congress had already agreed to provide $43 million
    this year for fighting the beetle infestation in Southern
    California and the sum seemed appropriate at the time.
    But state officials say the money represented only a small part
    of the $450 million needed to clear the forest of dead trees and
    eliminate the fire danger.
    State officials have estimated the fires - which have burned
    about 2,600 homes, blackened about 730,000 acres and killed at
    least 20 people - could take a $2 billion toll on California's
    economy.
    After four years of drought, nearly a half-million acres of
    dense woodland in Southern California had become infested by the
    bark beetle. Local and state officials had warned that the forests
    were a disaster waiting to happen, and some have criticized Davis
    for not moving more aggressively to combat the problem.
    In an April 16 letter to FEMA officials, Davis said,
    "Supplementary federal assistance is necessary to save lives,
    protect property, public health and foster safety."
    A response from the letter has still not been received by the
    governor's office, Maviglio said. The state was notified by the
    office of Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif., last Friday that the request
    had been turned down.
    The FEMA denial came a few days after the first of the major
    fires began to rage out of control in San Diego and San Bernardino
    counties.
    "I don't want to second-guess that decision," said Chad
    Kolton, FEMA spokesman. "They were asking for federal resources
    and federal resources were being provided."
    State Sen. Jim Brulte, a Republican whose district includes big
    parts of the fire-ravaged area, said that it was not fair for Davis
    to suggest the federal government has not been doing enough.
    "The Davis administration twice rejected San Bernardino's
    request for a state of emergency to be declared and we had to beat
    up on them to finally get it," he said. "The fact is that
    everyone has been late to this party."
    The beetles, which are native to California, drill into bark,
    seeking the moist inner layers to feed on. Typically, they can kill
    only drought-weakened trees.
    Healthy trees are able to expel the invaders by flooding the
    infestation with resin, which drought-stressed trees can't produce.
    Once the infestation has begun the trees are starved of water and
    nutrients and quickly die.

    APTV 10-30-03 2136EST
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  11. #11
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post October 30th

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Against the backdrop of raging wildfires in
    the West, the Senate approved a forest management plan late
    Thursday that would allow expanded tree thinning on 20 million
    acres of federal land to reduce the risk of fires.
    Meanwhile, the House approved a record $2.9 billion for
    firefighting and fire protection in federal forests as part of a
    $20.2 billion spending bill for the Interior Department.
    The congressional debate over the forest bill and the
    firefighting money took on urgency because of the devastating
    wildfires that this week have destroyed more than 2,600 homes and
    blackened 730,000 acres across southern California.
    "There is a tremendous lesson in these fires. That the land has
    to be managed," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leading
    co-sponsor of the compromise forest bill. The Senate approved it by
    a vote of 80-14.
    The compromise bill must now be merged with legislation passed
    by the House in May, which would allow more aggressive and more
    wide spread tree cutting than approved by the Senate.
    The legislation, a modified version of President Bush's
    "healthy forest" initiative, calls for establishing expedited
    procedures for tree thinning on 20 million acres of federal forests
    that are especially susceptible to fire threat and in many cases
    are close to populated areas.
    The bill would authorize, subject to future appropriations, $760
    million a year for forest management, more than double current
    spending. About half the money would be earmarked for forests
    situated in areas where wild lands begin to merge with populated
    areas.
    Environmentalists have criticized the legislation because it
    would allow forest-thinning without environmental reviews and with
    limited - and in some cases no - judicial review. They accused
    lawmakers of using the Western wildfires to open federal forests to
    new logging, including the cutting of mature trees.
    Feinstein and other supporters of the bill rejected the
    criticism and said the compromise was designed to limit logging to
    only the most at-risk forest lands out of the 190 million acres of
    federal forests. They said it specifically includes protection for
    large old-growth forests.
    "For those who have been so worried that we're going to log the
    forests to death. They have watched them burn to death," said Sen.
    Pete Domenici, R-N.M. "It's high time we fix it."
    Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said old growth forests will continue to
    be protected. "Even with respect to the amount of acreage to be
    thinned, it is a fraction of the work necessary in high risk
    areas," he said.
    The Bush administration supported the Senate bill and said it
    would provide "the needed flexibility to manage public lands
    wisely" and implement a forest management plan "good for both the
    environment and our economy."
    The firefighting funds approved by the House by a 216-205 vote
    would provide $800 million for battling wildfires, an increase of
    nearly $300 million over the current budget. It also would allocate
    $937 million this fiscal year for activities such as tree thinning
    aimed at reducing the wildfire threat.
    Supporters of the "healthy forest" bill in the Senate argued
    that a buildup of dead trees, brush and undergrowth has aggravated
    the fire threat and resulted in the kinds of wildfires that have
    devastated much of the West in recent years including the current
    fires in California and Colorado.
    During the day, a series of amendments came up seeking to
    further limit the tree thinning program. But each was defeated as
    was a proposal by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to funnel more of the
    forest protection fund to areas close to populated areas.
    A proposal to limit the program to five years, offered by Sen.
    Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, was defeated 61-31. Domenici said the job of
    improving forest health to significantly reduce the threat of
    wildfires could take 15 years or more.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  12. #12
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    KOOSKIA, Idaho (AP) - Environmentalists claim the Forest Service
    unnecessarily cut old-growth timber to fight the Slims fire in
    north-central Idaho this summer, and one federal official concedes
    the assigned crew may have been overzealous.
    Ken Castro, fire management officer for the Nez Perce National
    Forest, said resources specialists are looking at the area along
    Meadow Creek near the Selway River to determine if there should be
    an investigation into cutting scores of cedar trees up to four feet
    in diameter.
    Castro said the trees were cut to protect the crews fighting the
    fire that burned more than 14,000 acres and cost the government
    over $21 million to fight.
    Many of the trees that were cut were rotten in the core and were
    being held up by an outer shell no more than eight inches thick, he
    said.
    But Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League says a
    number of the trees had little rot and questions the need for a
    more than 20 miles of fire line - some up to 30 feet wide - on a
    fire that probably should never have been fought.
    "This was a totally natural mosaic burn in a roadless area with
    the biggest threat of it burning into the Selway-Bitterroot"
    Wilderness, Oppenheimer said. "I have a hard time convincing
    myself there was justification to dump $21 million on this fire and
    build 22 miles of fire line."
    But Castro argued the fire was too risky to let burn. Foresters
    feared it would gain momentum and jump from the Meadow Creek
    drainage into the American and Red River drainages, where insects
    left the forests dying and tinder dry, he says.
    Elk City and scattered home sites in the area would have been
    difficult to save if the flames had made it into the
    bark-beetle-infested forests, and historic weather patterns put the
    chance of that happening at 38 percent, Castro said.
    The fire line was put in to foreclose that possibility, he said.
    Although the fire burned for more than two months, no structures
    were lost.
    But Oppenheimer wants an investigation and disciplinary action
    against the team of firefighters who made what he calls an
    excessive timber cut.
    "The most important thing that can come out of this is to make
    sure this kind of abuse does not occur in the future," he said.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    384

    Default

    Why don't we just burn all the forests and when the hippies bitch tell them they should have supported the bill that would have saved them, instead suing and protesting and lobbying to serve their own self serving agenda.

  14. #14
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post Funding in question...already??

    US Forest Service lacks funds for fires-lawmakers
    By Christopher Doering
    WASHINGTON(Reuters) - The U.S. Forest Service is
    facing a serious threat of wildfires this summer, but the
    agency underestimated the firefighting money it needs and will
    have to shift millions of dollars from other programs to make
    up the shortfall, Senate lawmakers said Tuesday.
    Firefighters are already battling six fires in Southern
    California, an early start to the annual wildfire season that
    was fanned by lingering drought, hot temperatures and wind.
    Forest officials told a Senate Energy subcommittee hearing
    that a build-up of brush, six years of drought in some Western
    states, and insect-damaged trees "have resulted in a greater
    potential for large wildfires" in 2004.
    In the last five years, the Forest Service has borrowed
    nearly $3 billion from other accounts to fight wildfires,
    according to lawmakers.
    "That's a pretty good indication that you're falling short
    in your requests," said Sen. Jim Bunning, a Kentucky
    Republican, who said the Forest Service should ask Congress for
    more fire-fighting money in its annual budget request. "That's
    the answer, whether you like it or whether you don't."
    Lawmakers said the annual borrowing results in poor
    management of public lands by minimizing the impact of projects
    with long-term benefits such as thinning at-risk forests.
    Mark Rey, the U.S. Agriculture Department's undersecretary
    of natural resources, said the department would continue to
    borrow from other projects or ask Congress for extra money to
    pay for fighting fires if they exceed their annual budget.
    "I don't disagree" that the department needs to find better
    ways to pay for suppressing wildfires, said Rey. "But it's the
    only avenue available."
    Rey said it was difficult to estimate how much funding will
    be needed to combat wildfires because annual budgets are
    submitted more than a year before the corresponding wildfire
    season begins.
    The Forest Service, part of the USDA, and the Interior
    Department, which work together to fight forest fires, are
    asking for a total of $2.46 billion for fire-fighting programs
    in fiscal 2005, an increase of $60 million from the previous
    year.
    Their budget proposal would ask Congress for $760 million
    to implement President Bush's forest management plan signed
    into law last year. The funding would allow forest managers to
    thin about 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of forest
    land, up from 1 million acres in 2000.
    In the last three years, more than 15 million acres (6.1
    million hectares) of U.S. land was burned by wildfires.
    Drought conditions now exist in more than 50 percent of the
    West. In California, more than a dozen homes have been
    destroyed and thousands of people have been evacuated due to
    six fires that have ravished more than 20,000 acres this
    month.
    The Forest Service estimated a total of 190 million acres
    (77 million hectares) of forest land in the United States are
    susceptible to fires.
    REUTERS

    Reut16:38 05-11-04
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  15. #15
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    Audit: Larger-than-expected cost of wildfires hurts fire-prevention
    programs
    By ANGIE WAGNER
    Associated Press Writer
    LAS VEGAS (AP) - Federal agencies responsible for fighting
    wildfires have borrowed so much money from other forest programs
    that fire-prevention efforts have suffered, according to
    congressional auditors.
    In the past five years, the Forest Service and Interior
    Department transferred more than $2.7 billion from other programs
    because they repeatedly underestimated how much money would be
    needed to pay for firefighting, the report by the General
    Accounting Office said.
    Because of the frequent borrowing, officials were forced to
    delay projects to prune some forests of dead tress. Wildfire
    training courses were also postponed, along with the purchase of
    extra firefighting equipment.
    The June 2 report by the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress,
    came as no surprise to lawmakers who have complained for years
    about insufficient wildfire funding.
    Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho said the report confirms
    his suspicions that "we are robbing Peter to pay Paul."
    "Each year we are told that the administration's budget request
    will meet firefighting costs," said Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman
    of New Mexico. "Yet each year the administration's budget request
    proves inadequate to cover those needs, resulting in the chaos of
    having to transfer money from one account to another to make up for
    the shortfall."
    The report suggested the Forest Service and Interior Department
    improve the estimates of firefighting costs and said Congress
    should consider alternatives, such as creating a reserve account.
    The agencies now rely on a 10-year average of firefighting costs
    as the basis for budget requests. That practice was criticized by
    the GAO, which said it resulted in estimates well below what was
    needed.
    The cost of fighting wildfires has exceeded appropriated funds
    almost every year since 1990. In 2002 and 2003, the government
    spent more than $1 billion fighting fires.
    The agencies, in written responses, agreed with the report, but
    the Interior Department defended use of the 10-year average,
    calling it "a reasonable and durable" method of budgeting.
    The department did say it is working with the Forest Service to
    develop a new statistical forecasting system to better predict
    costs.
    The frequent borrowing often meant that forest projects were
    delayed, sometimes allowing fire risks to worsen, auditors said.
    For example, the government had planned to remove 150 acres of
    trees infested with spruce beetles from Colorado's White River
    National Forest last year. But $111,000 was transferred from that
    project to fight fires, and now the beetle infestation has grown to
    230 acres.
    The project would now cost an extra $24,000, and the increased
    number of dead trees, along with dry conditions, only raises the
    risk of wildfires.
    The borrowing practices also strained relationships with states,
    nonprofit groups and communities, the report said. Congress
    reimbursed agencies about 80 percent of the money borrowed.
    House subcommittees recently approved adding $2.6 billion for
    fighting wildfires in 2005, a near 10 percent increase over this
    year's levels.
    ---
    EDITOR'S NOTE - Angie Wagner is the AP's Western regional
    writer, based in Las Vegas.
    ---
    On the Net:
    GAO report: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04612.pdf
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  16. #16
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post Endangered Retardant?

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - The Bush administration decided not to
    consult with government agencies on the potential harm to
    threatened and endangered fish from fire retardant dropped on
    wildfires, despite advice to do so from the agencies, according to
    documents emerging in a lawsuit.
    The documents were released Thursday by the Forest Service
    Employees for Environmental Ethics after obtaining them from the
    government as part of their lawsuit over fire retardant use filed
    last October in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont.
    "The public needs to know that if the judge orders retardant
    use to be stopped, it's because the government chose to break the
    law, and it knew better," said Andy Stahl, director of the Eugene,
    Ore.-based environmental group made up of Forest Service employees.
    "We could avoid that outcome. The way to do that is for the
    government to agree it has to write an environmental impact
    statement and involve the public in deciding how we manage fire on
    public lands, something the government has never done in 100
    years."
    Fire retardant dropped from air tankers contracted by the Forest
    Service contains sodium ferrocyanide, which breaks down to form
    hydrogen cyanide, which kills fish when it is mixed with water and
    exposed to sunlight, the lawsuit contends. At least three fish
    kills from fire retardant falling in streams have been acknowledged
    by the government.
    In allowing timber interests to intervene in the lawsuit, Judge
    Donald W. Molloy wrote that if the environmental group wins its
    lawsuit, the Forest Service will have to stop using fire retardant
    until it complies with the law.
    The lawsuit claims the Forest Service has violated the National
    Environmental Policy Act by failing to go through a public review
    of the environmental effects of dropping retardant.
    It also argues the Forest Service violated the Endangered
    Species Act by failing to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
    Service and NOAA Fisheries, which have jurisdiction over threatened
    and endangered fish, on the lethal effects of fire retardant on
    bull trout and salmon.
    Spokesmen for the Forest Service and for Mark Rey, agriculture
    undersecretary for natural resources and the environment, said they
    could not comment on pending litigation.
    Stahl said a motion for discovery in the case produced hundreds
    of documents loaded onto a CD marked with the case number.
    Among them were:
    - A June 23, 2003 briefing paper prepared by Rick Sayers, the
    Fish and Wildlife branch chief for Endangered Species Act
    consultation.
    It said Fish and Wildlife and NOAA Fisheries had told the Forest
    Service that the Endangered Species Act required them to consult
    with the agencies before contracting for and using fire retardant
    on wildfires.
    It added that an environmental review of fire retardants should
    be done before buying new supplies.
    Application guidelines, which include 200-foot buffers along
    streams, are not sufficient to protect fish, and do not include
    permission to inadvertently kill threatened and endangered fish,
    the briefing paper said.
    - A June 30, 2003 memo from Tom Harbour, Forest Service deputy
    director of fire and aviation. Harbour wrote that he was told by
    Dave Tenny, deputy undersecretary of agriculture for natural
    resources, that he, Rey and an unnamed undersecretary of interior
    had met. They decided "there would NOT be formal consultation on
    retardant use." Instead, they would cooperate with Fish and
    Wildlife and NOAA Fisheries on appropriate guidelines.
    - A June 26, 2003 Forest Service and Interior Department
    briefing paper on fire and aviation management. It noted that Fish
    and Wildlife and NOAA Fisheries advised the Forest Service must
    consult with them over the use of fire retardant as called for by
    the Endangered Species Act. The agencies said they should also do
    an environmental review under the National Environmental Policy
    Act. A list of options noted that "legal vulnerability is high"
    if they decided against consultation.
    The briefing paper noted that more than 11,000 loads of fire
    retardant are dropped annually on 6,500 acres in the course of
    fighting wildfires. In the previous two years, retardant went into
    streams eight times, resulting in three fish kills.
    "The Forest Service maintains that this level of overflight,
    spills and fish kill would not jeopardize the continued existence
    of any listed species," the briefing paper said. "Additional
    guidance will not increase protection of fish where life or
    property are threatened, or reduce the risk of an accidental
    spill."

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  17. #17
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post March 7th, 2005

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Western lawmakers are furious over
    proposed cuts to wildland firefighting funds, including grants to
    help rural communities fight fires and prevent fuel build-up.
    There's also bipartisan sentiment to get rid of the Bush
    administration's traditional method of determining wildfire
    suppression budgets. At recent Interior Department and Forest
    Service budget hearings for 2006, senators warned that the Bush
    administration's proposed 283 (M)million dollars cuts - intended to
    shore up the nation's deficit - could end up costing taxpayers more
    in the long run.
    The federal agencies base funding requests to Congress on the
    average annual firefighting costs from the last ten years, then
    later ask lawmakers for hundreds of (M)millions of dollars worth of
    "emergency" supplemental funds if the account is drained by a
    busy fire season.
    The federal fire budget's woes stem from a difficulty in
    accurately forecasting the severity of the fire season before
    knowing how quickly mountain snowpacks will melt in spring and
    summer. In 2002 - the worst fire season in 50 years -
    three-point-six (M)million acres had burned by late July. But by
    the end of the year, seven-point-two (M)million had gone up in
    smoke, driving federal costs to one-point-six (B)billion dollars.


    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  18. #18
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    By DON THOMPSON
    Associated Press Writer
    TAHOE CITY, Calif. (AP) - Scenic, wooded Lake Tahoe, one of
    America's natural gems, could easily go up in smoke, speakers at an
    annual lakeside summit warned Sunday.
    Much of the attention - and millions of dollars - have gone in
    recent years to protecting the high alpine lake's fabled clear blue
    waters, where visibility once penetrated to more than 100 feet and
    has recently been improving.
    But it is the forested Sierra Nevada mountains reflected in the
    lake that could destroy the basin that is home to multimillion
    dollar homes, casinos, ski resorts, lodges, restaurants and parks
    that draw thousands of tourists.
    Moreover, a fast-moving wildfire on a crowded summer weekend
    could pose deadly danger to panicked people fleeing over the Tahoe
    basin's few winding roads.
    Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, a Democrat, and John
    Ensign of Nevada, a Republican, announced Sunday that they will
    jointly push for legislation promoting a 10 year U.S. Forest
    Service program to thin crowded forests around the lake. About 80
    percent of the basin is federal land.
    "We live up here in a big tinder box. We are very lucky we
    haven't had the type of catastrophic fire that would really do
    damage to this lake," Ensign said Sunday. "We figured out we're
    going to need $200 million to restore forest health around Lake
    Tahoe."
    The legislation is designed to "cut through the red tape and
    remove hazardous fuels" that threaten the Tahoe basin, Feinstein
    said.
    Part of the money could come from the federal Healthy Forests
    Act and the Southern Nevada Public Lands Act, which included
    federal land sales around Las Vegas.
    The emphasis would be on areas within 1 1/2 miles of
    communities, though areas including watersheds and steeply sloping
    mountainsides would be included.
    Getting approval could be challenging, Feinstein acknowledged,
    noting that logging brings environmental damage. Similar efforts
    throughout the Sierra Nevada and across the nation have brought
    myriad challenges and lawsuits.
    A similar thinning plan significantly cut fire danger after a
    lengthy drought 15 years ago, said Forest Service spokesman Matt
    Mathes.
    "If you stood on the lake and looked around you, one of every
    three trees you saw was dead," Mathes said. "The folks in the
    Lake Tahoe basin got behind a very serious thinning campaign that
    was very effective."
    Trees around the lake have grown too crowded, thanks to a
    century of fire prevention efforts, making them more susceptible to
    fire and disease.
    All five California and two Nevada Tahoe-area fire protection
    districts have completed Community Wildfire Protection Plans in the
    last year, identifying 26,000 acres of federal and private land
    that is most at risk of wildfire. They are now working on a
    comprehensive fire protection plan, to be completed by next March.
    The Forest Service estimates 42,000 acres of its land need
    thinning, yet a lack of money enabled it to thin only about 15,000
    acres the last five years, Feinstein said. She and the other
    senators have several funding ideas that could be incorporated into
    their proposed legislation.
    Officials who said there needs to be a new effort on wildfire
    prevention noted that erosion after a fire would have a severe
    impact on water quality that has been a prime focus of lake
    restoration projects for years.
    "If there was a fire to happen here, it wouldn't matter how
    much we spent to keep Tahoe blue - because it wouldn't be blue,"
    said Bruce Kranz, a member of the Placer County, Calif. Board of
    Supervisors. Scientists say such a wildfire could set back lake
    restoration efforts by one hundred years.
    More than $500 million in federal, state and local government
    and private funds have been spent on over 200 environmental
    projects around the lake since 1997, with another $150 million
    pending. A 10-year, $900 million partnership created by the federal
    Lake Tahoe Restoration Act still has another five years to go,
    Feinstein noted.
    Water quality continues to be the major research activity at the
    lake, and on Saturday a dozen research institutions and management
    agencies signed onto a new Tahoe Science Consortium they said will
    improve sharing of scientific research, monitoring and computer
    modeling. That effort will provide land and lake managers and
    policy-makers with timely information to help in their decisions,
    officials said.
    The consortium's creation comes as the University of California,
    Davis, and Sierra Nevada College laid the cornerstone Saturday for
    a new $24 million Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences research
    laboratory at the college's Incline Village campus.
    The annual Tahoe events have been held since 1997, when
    President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and other state and
    federal officials convened at the lake to bring awareness to
    environmental problems that threaten it's delicate ecosystem.
    Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, had been
    expected at this year's meeting but is at home recovering from a
    mild stroke.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  19. #19
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Arrow Let them burn!??

    GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - A federal audit says the U.S. Forest
    Service should let more wildfires burn and demand that state and
    local governments pick up a bigger share of firefighting costs that
    regularly top $1 billion a year.
    The audit released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of
    Agriculture's inspector general said Forest Service personnel feel
    that protecting private property where cities meet forests, known
    as the wildland-urban interface, accounts for more than half of
    Forest Service firefighting costs, which have exceeded $1 billion
    in three of the past six years.
    Produced at the request of the Forest Service, the audit said
    that by picking up so much of the cost of fighting wildfires, the
    Forest Service was taking away incentives homeowners would have to
    take responsibility for protecting their homes in the woods.
    And because state and local governments control development in
    the wildland-urban interface, they should bear a greater share of
    the costs, the audit added.
    "We are pleased with the results and hope to have all the
    recommendations in place for the 2007 fire season," Forest Service
    spokeswoman Jennifer Plyler said from Washington, D.C. "It's
    something we looked at and felt we needed some outside help to
    decide how to approach it."
    Many western forests evolved with fire, but the Forest Service
    has long put out all the fires it could, despite recognizing for
    many years that this led to an unnatural buildup of fuels that has
    increased the size and severity of wildfires.
    The audit said current Forest Service policy calls for giving
    equal consideration to putting out fires and letting them burn to
    reduce buildups of brush and small trees, but outside pressure and
    a lack of trained personnel make it difficult to choose to let
    fires burn. It noted that only 2 percent of wildfires from 1998
    through 2005 were allowed to burn for ecological benefit.
    The audit urged the Forest Service to train more personnel to
    assess and monitor wildfires for the practice known as wildland
    fire use, and hold wildfire incident commanders and line officers
    accountable for controlling costs.
    The Forest Service should also ask Congress to decide who has
    primary responsibility for protecting homes in the woods, and if
    that turns out to be the states, renegotiate its firefighting
    agreements with them.
    Bill Lafferty, fire program manager for the Oregon Department of
    Forestry, noted in an email that one reason the Forest Service was
    created in 1910 was to fight wildfires that were destroying whole
    towns.
    Mike Carrier, natural resources adviser to Gov. Ted Kulongoski,
    objected to the idea of states paying a greater share when they
    already spend millions on protecting private property from
    wildfire. He said Oregon has been a leader in helping communities
    reduce local wildfire danger, and that the underlying problem
    remains the huge buildup of forest fuels.
    Andy Stahl of the Forest Service Employees for Environmental
    Ethics agreed that more wildfires should be allowed to burn, but
    disagreed that protecting homes was driving up costs.
    "Ninety percent of the homes lost to wildland fire are located
    in one tiny part of the country, Southern California," said Stahl.
    "So home loss is simply not a particularly significant issue where
    we fight most wildfires. To Southern California's credit, they are
    doing a lot, certainly more than anywhere else, to make their
    communities fire resistant."
    The Wilderness Society has been urging the Forest Service for
    years to let more fires burn and supports many of the
    recommendations, but how much they can reduce firefighting costs is
    anybody's guess, said wildfire policy analyst Jaelith Hall-Rivera.
    "Apparently the main reason the Forest Service has not been
    doing this is it feels the states object to it - concerns about
    fires escaping and smoke," she said. "You have to have a balance
    of what is ecologically appropriate with what will help you reduce
    suppression costs.
    "Unfortunately the moniker 'Let It Burn' has caught on, but
    that's not what wildland fire use is," she said. "It's a very
    highly managed process, with teams of people on the ground."
    This year, 357 fires have been allowed to burn under supervision
    across 164,775 acres, amounting to 1.7 percent of the 9.5 million
    acres that burned on federal, state and private lands across the
    country, according to the National Fire Information Center Web
    site.
    Forest Service figures show 819 residences, 60 commercial
    buildings and 1,265 outbuildings and other structures burned this
    year around the nation.
    The California Department of Forestry reports that 102
    structures burned in areas under its jurisdiction last year, 1,016
    in 2004, and 5,394 in 2003.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Inspector General's report:
    http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/08601-44-SF.pdf
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts