Thread: Smokey Dispute

  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    25 NW of the GW

    Post Smokey Dispute

    Associated Press Writer
    LONDON, Ky. (AP) - For 60 years, Smokey Bear has been the voice
    of caution to hikers and campers across the country, saying:
    "Remember, only you can prevent forest fires."
    Now, the U.S. Forest Service finds itself at odds with
    environmentalists in interpreting that message. Both point to
    Smokey Bear as the reason foresters should or should not set
    controlled fires in public woodlands in the eastern United States.
    The Forest Service says Smokey approves of controlled fires
    because they help eliminate invasive species and burn ground
    clutter that could contribute to catastrophic wildfires.
    Environmentalists say Smokey is opposed to controlled burns
    because fire kills trees and leaves animals homeless regardless of
    whether it's caused by lightning strikes, arsonists or federal
    The debate began in Kentucky when the Forest Service announced
    plans to burn 19,000 acres of the Daniel Boone National Forest over
    the next few weeks, the start of a rotational burning plan that
    would char up to 50,000 acres every year.
    "Smokey is not saying all fire is bad," said Rex Mann, the
    federal forester who serves as the timber, wildlife and fire staff
    officer for the Daniel Boone. "I think we have to put his message
    in context. I think what Smokey is saying is 'prevent arson fires
    and prevent accidental fires.' He's saying 'there is a place for
    fire in the woods, but let the experts take care of that."'
    In the Daniel Boone forest, Mann said trees have grown so thick
    that they're competing for moisture, nutrients and sunlight. The
    result, he said, is that the trees are under stress and more prone
    to be killed by disease or insects.
    Setting fires and controlling where they burn, Mann said, will
    weed out unwanted trees and restore the Daniel Boone to an
    appearance it had when the famous frontiersman first saw the
    region. That's a relatively new approach to forest management in
    the eastern United States, where the federal government and
    individual states spend millions each year putting forest fires
    "The irony is we're finding out that fire is vital," Mann
    said. "It's perhaps tough medicine at times, but it's medicine we
    need. It's the regulator of the forest."
    Perrin de Jong, head of the environmental group Kentucky
    Heartwood, said the Forest Service is rushing to burn public land
    in the eastern United States even though little is known about the
    long-term effects the practice will have on the hardwood forests.
    "One thing I've always appreciated Smokey Bear for is that he
    has always advised caution when it comes to fire," de Jong said.
    "I think that message should apply to the Forest Service just as
    it does for every citizen."
    Controlled burning is not new to national forests, especially in
    the West, where the practice is used to eliminate the buildup of
    underbrush, dead trees and tree branches that have helped fuel
    major wildfires. Robert Bauer, head of the Kentucky Forest
    Industries Association, said controlled fires also have been used
    traditionally in pine forests in the South to kill hardwoods so
    that they don't compete with the pines.
    The Forest Service is doing the controlled burns in the Daniel
    Boone to eliminate the ground clutter, but also to kill trees such
    as red maple that have taken root and are competing with oak and
    other hardwoods.
    Forest fires make many in the timber industry nervous because
    they're well acquainted the damage they can cause to trees, Bauer
    said. He said fire can damage the base of hardwoods, allowing their
    insides to rot and become hollow, leaving them of little value to
    Under the right conditions, Bauer said he believes controlled
    forest fires can be beneficial, especially in helping the oak
    forests to regenerate. However, convincing the timber industry
    could be as difficult as convincing the environmentalists.
    "The average industry guy who sees fire sees hollow trees,"
    Bauer said. "It damages the bark and opens the tree to rot."
    De Jong said foresters know the effects of fire on Western
    forests, but in Kentucky and other Eastern states, he said, the
    science is not so clear.
    "Right now, they want to burn whole landscapes, and they don't
    even know what the long-term effects are going to be," de Jong
    said. "We counsel the Forest Service to burn on a small,
    experimental scale. We counsel the Forest Service to look before
    they leap."
    De Jong said the Forest Service could burn plots of 50 acres and
    study the effects over several decades rather than to burn up to
    50,000 acres and assume it's good for the ecosystems.
    "We think this is a reckless way to go about the burning
    program," he said.
    Robert J. Smith, director of the Center for Private Conservation
    in Washington, said Americans spent most of the last century under
    the false impression that forest fires are inherently bad, even
    though it has historically been a natural part of ecosystems.
    Smith said the Smokey Bear public service announcements get much
    of the blame for that.
    "We've had these gigantic catastrophic wildfires all across the
    country," he said. "I think this is what finally led to the
    realization that the whole forest management program has been
    skewed desperately in the wrong direction."
    Smith said the Forest Service is in the process of updating
    management plans for national forests across the eastern United
    States, and all of them, including the Daniel Boone, are including
    controlled fires as a management option.
    Mann said Kentucky forests look nothing like the ones Daniel
    Boone saw when he first blazed a trail into the state. Trees were
    far enough apart that settlers, he said, could ride horses or pull
    wagons through the forests. That would be impossible now because
    trees grow so close together.
    That results in unhealthy trees that could succumb to insect
    infestations, like the southern pine beetle that killed up to 90
    percent of the pines in the Daniel Boone in 2001, Mann said.
    Already, an insect called the twolined chestnut borer is killing
    white oaks in forests across eastern Kentucky.
    "The danger is that we could see an epidemic on the same scale
    of the southern pine beetle," Mann said. "This is not crying
    wolf. The stage is set. It's not a matter of can it happen, but
    when is it going to happen."
    Mann said environmentalists who insist national forests do not
    need human intervention are promoting a course of action that could
    be devastating.
    "I am absolutely convinced that the reason the pine beetle
    whipped our butts was that we were not able to thin and burn enough
    of our pine forest," he said. "That's why I get so cantankerous
    with folks who say just leave it alone. If you leave it alone, it's
    going to get to a more and more unhealthy condition."
    Fire, Mann said, is one of the tools the Forest Service has to
    return the Daniel Boone to health.
    "There is still a danger of getting across the message that all
    fire is bad," he said. "Fire properly applied is good. Fire
    improperly applied through arson is bad. As more and more of the
    fire emergencies, particularly in the West, show up on nightly
    news, people are getting the message. Smokey is not saying all fire
    is bad."

    (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

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2002


    Perrin de Jong, head of the environmental group Kentucky
    Heartwood, said the Forest Service is rushing to burn public land
    in the eastern United States even though little is known about the
    long-term effects the practice will have on the hardwood forests.
    "One thing I've always appreciated Smokey Bear for is that he
    has always advised caution when it comes to fire," de Jong said.
    "I think that message should apply to the Forest Service just as
    it does for every citizen. Jong


    Kentucky Heartwood cautioning the forest dervice about wildfire is like warning NASA about the dangers of space travel!Smokey bear does not play with matches.You will not find smokey the bear riding a ATV in hills of eastern kentucky playing arsonist.
    Smokeys statements about wildfire is as true today as in the past.Most wildfires will need to be attacked and extingushed.The need for the protection of structures will demand action be taken by firefighters.Let the Forest Service pick the time and place of good fires this is there charter.
    Kentucky Heartwood would have you let arsonists or mother nature pick the time and place.In Northeastern Kentucky alone we have had three firefighters and two cizitens killed in recent years due to forest fires.
    If smokey could speak to Jong about wildfires in Kentucky I reckon he ask this simple question.CAN A WILD BEAR S*** IN A WOODS!!!If not lets fill the woods with pay toilets and give the proceeds to Kentucky Heartwood to file B***S*** lawsuits.
    Last edited by coldfront; 04-20-2005 at 10:24 AM.
    Always a day late and a dollar short!

    Hillbilly Irish!

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

Log in

Click here to log in or register