August 23, 2012

"The irony here is that the argument for setting these areas aside as national forests and parks was... to protect them from fire..."

"Instead, over time they became the major habitat for free-burning fire."
So instead of a few dozen trees per acre, the Southwestern mountains of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah are now choked with trees of all sizes, and grass and shrubs. Essentially, it's fuel....

"Now the fire behaviors are just off the charts.... I mean, they are extraordinary. Actually, I think in some cases, they're fire behavior that probably these forests haven't seen in millennia or maybe even tens of thousands of years."...

"Basically, the mountains in the Southwest — you can almost think of them as caskets of fuel.... Gunpowder has been building up in these things for a century, and now it's dangerous to try to defuse."
 For the annals of unintended consequences.

36 comments:

Alex said...

So Teddy Roosevelt was wrong?

jimbino said...

It is pure poetic justice that Nature destroys those national parks and forests that are nothing more than rich White Country Clubs, bought and maintained with the wealth of our minorities--Black, Hispanic and Native Amerikan--who virtually never visit them.

Matthew Sablan said...

Ooh. I get to say it again!

The consequences, they were unintended!

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

I don't think you can claim unintended consequences when there were plenty of people, at the time, saying that this is exactly what would happen.

"Willful ignorance in blind pursuit of a how-I-wish-things-were ideology", is what one can now say.

Bob Ellison said...

I know someone who has a multi-acre parcel in that area. He is a birder, and he wants the land to remain natural and beautiful. He has spent serious money culling trees on his property in order to protect it from fires that in recent years have come pretty close.

People who own the land know what to do, and put skin in the game doing it. People who don't own the land don't know what to do, don't have any skin in the game, and force others to adhere to their stupid ideas about conservation. It's especially galling when Easterners, who tend not to understand dry climates, call the shots for Westerners.

n.n said...

They believed human ego could subordinate the natural order. Time and again they are proven wrong. There are reasonable compromises, but they have to be reasonable, and they have to be compatible with the prevailing order.

I wonder if trees will now be reclassified as a renewable resource.

roesch/voltaire said...

I just came back from hiking numerous trails in the Giant Red Wood forests in Northern California-- the old growth areas showed signs of previous fires, but the tall trees are still standing. In areas where heavy logging took place, the second and third growths do not do as well. The claim that these forest are only for rich white folks wasn't born out by my observations as on the trails we meet folks( students) from as far away as China, and as close to home as the Hispanic work force of Calif.

jimbino said...

That's right, Bob Ellison: Ted Turner has skin in the game and is successfully multiplying the bison herds the gummint never could. Too bad Ted Turner isn't educating our children and delivering our mail.

We need to sell him our national parks and forests so he can start busing our Blacks, Hispanics and Native Amerikans there.

Rumpletweezer said...

This is a completely predictable result from the actions of people who don't actually understand how the world works.

Sorun said...

This is true in the other parts of North America as well. IIRC, it's believed a typical forest tract in the upper Midwest would naturally burn once every century or so.

Crunchy Frog said...

The Slide and Grass Valley fires in October 2007 burned 375 homes in the Lake Arrowhead area because the green weenies would not allow trees that had been killed by bark beetles to be harvested because (gasp) the looging companies might make a profit. Quel horreur!

jimbino said...

Yeah Roesch/Voltaire, stop blowing smoke. A dollar to a donut says you didn't see any Amerikan Hispanics visiting the park. Yes, you saw lots of foreign Asians--non-citizen, non-resident, non-taxpayers--taking advantage of the rich lands paid for by our minorities who would prefer to spend their share of their patrimony on putting food on the table and sending their kids to college instead of supporting your White Country Clubs.

The Drill SGT said...

I'll add to the environmentalist folly, the total fanatic resistance to any type of logging anywhere any time.

There are areas ravaged by pine beetles for example. The damage could be reduced by logging "beetle breaks", bands of clear cut, seperating infested acreage from healthy trees. Then the infested trees can be treated, and logged out while they have value and before they die and become fuel load for massive fires.

but no, no logging, nowhere, no time.

Logging is vital to the management of those resources.

Paco Wové said...

I would have thought the must-not-let-Nature-burn! philosophy would have met its demise after the 1988 Yellowstone fires.

A lot of people have been saying "you've gotta let these places burn" for decades. Amazing that our policies are still so counter to reality.

Sorun said...

A lot of people have been saying "you've gotta let these places burn" for decades. Amazing that our policies are still so counter to reality.

The article points out that a "controlled" fire in 2000 went out of control and burned hundreds of homes.

I'd bet that a lot of forest managers would prefer delaying these management burns until after they retire.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Poor jimbino. Trolling frantically and no one rising to the bait.

:-D

Joe said...

The obsession with trees has all sorts of perverse effects, including crowding out animals, especially bird, which prefer fields. One thing that amazed me is how much beavers would (and still do if given the chance) clear cut forests near streams.

The point is that forests are not the be all and end all of nature.

Sigivald said...

Crunchy Frog said: The Slide and Grass Valley fires in October 2007 burned 375 homes in the Lake Arrowhead area because the green weenies would not allow trees that had been killed by bark beetles to be harvested because (gasp) the looging companies might make a profit. Quel horreur!

Well, I don't like the weenies, and I like profits and logging companies, but...

Unless we're going to make the forests involved manicured and clean up everything, not just beetle kills, they really need to be burned every now and then to prevent them becoming tinderboxes and inevitably burning, far worse.

The real lesson here is "don't build your damned house in a forest without a firebreak and fireproof materials".

netmarcos said...

And don't even get me started on the anti-logging zealots and pine bark beetles. The whole western pine forest is going to go up one day.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The fires in Yellowstone from about 20(?) years or so ago have resulted in it's ecosystem being healthier than it's been for a long time.

Hagar said...

The books "1491" and "1493" by Charles C. Mann have some interesting material about these and other matters.

Hagar said...

That is, about how things actually were before 1492 and the changes brought by 1492.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ hagar

I've read 1491, it is a fascinating read. Very interesting.

Fairly near to where I am, we are having some horrific forest fires. The skies are so full of smoke you can't see very far. People have had to be evacuated and many homes have burnt.

The clear reason that these fires are so bad is the lack of select logging and the extreme build up of the underbrush. The brush catches fire and because it is so thick the fires get very hot, instead of just rushing trough the forest floor. When it is this hot and dry the fires crown into the tops of the trees.....well, that's all she wrote.

The build up and the neglect of the forests is laid directly at the feet of the eco-nazi's who do not want anyone to cut a tree or bush anywhere any time. You aren't even allowed to cut down the dead bug infested trees. Hope they are happy now!!! Thousands and thousands of acres burnt to a crisp. Thousands of animals and birds burnt to a crisp and driven out of their homes. We have birds now on our property that are not native to this habitat because they are desperately looking for food. They probably will not be able to live through this coming winter.

They are so freaking worried about CO2 emmisions from our cars and want us to live in a luddite paradise. YET, by allowing the forest fuels to unnaturally build up....the CO2 released by these fires is more than that which could be released by autos in several CENTURIES of driving.

What fucking hypocrites. They live no where near here, make foolish rules and WE have to live with the consequences.

Can you tell I hate them, all the way to the ground.

Shanna said...

The books "1491" and "1493" by Charles C. Mann have some interesting material about these and other matters.

Oooh, i have 1491 and I haven't read it yet. Maybe I should bring it on vacation!

Methadras said...

Good intentions. A leftard bureau-weenies bludgeon.

lewsar said...

The real lesson here is "don't build your damned house in a forest without a firebreak and fireproof materials".

my parents live in the peregrine subdivision of colorado springs and were forced to evacuate in the recent firestorm. when they were allowed back into their house several days later, they had to wait for a couple of days before their gas was turned on again.

the city official that came by to turn the gas on had responded to help fight the fires. he said that at least one homeowner had recently had the city out to inspect his property and then give advice about how to increase the ability of his house to withstand a fire. this homeowner had done everything. stucco walls, tile roof, stone landscaping near the house, no vegetation near the house, shrubbery thinned, etc, etc.

his house burned to the ground. a fire is one thing; a firestorm is something else again. there is so much builtup fuel load in a lot of areas that once it starts burning, and especially if there is strong wind to push the fire, the fire burns so hot that the ground literally gets sterilized.

and DBQ, while i agree that a lot of greens don't want to cut any tree down for any reason, what really gets their panties in a bunch is the road network that cost-effective logging requires.

i can kind of see their point, because it's not a pristine wilderness if there is a road running through it. it's funny how greens, who style themselves as "progressive" are mostly about 'things must be exactly the way they are right now with no changes for any reason'.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

it's not a pristine wilderness if there is a road running through

There has probably never been a 'pristine wilderness' since the Indians arrived in North America some 30K years ago and started setting fire to the prairies and forests as well as driving herds of animals over cliffs so they can harvest just a few of the carcasses.

And....it certainly isn't pristine when the forest has been burned to a charred ash heap.

Michael said...

DBQ: When I think back to my California years I always remember that it was the same every year. If there had been little rain in the winter the alerts were high for forest fires due to the dry brush. If there had been a lot of rain in the winter the alerts were high for forest fires due to the huge amount of brush as a result of the rain. Either way it was forest fires.

In Texas said...

My wife and I got to see the crowning flames firsthand when we witnessed the Waldo Canyon (Colorado Springs) fire start. We were driving from Manitou Springs up towards US 24, and were looking right at some puffs of white smoke going up amongst the trees. Within 5 minutes, the flames started shooting up from the crowns of the trees, with black smoke everywhere. Another 5 minutes was all it took for the whole hill side to be engulfed in flames. It’s not a site I want to see again.

Travel just about anywhere in the mountains of Colorado, and you can see whole stretches of forested mountainsides with dead trees. Until recently, the greenies did NOT allow any sort of logging to get the dead trees out, so when a fire does happen, its no longer a “natural” fire in which the little pine seeds burst out of the cones, and other seeds requiring heat will be able to germinate. The fire you end up with is too hot, and too wide spread – you get sterilized ground and subsequent soil erosion, clogging streams, killing trout, and threatening water sheds. Denver has spent millions on erosion control, vegetation and tree plantings, around some of its mountain reservoirs (including dredging) after one bad fire a few years ago.

Our water bill in the summer (with severe restrictions) is more than my electric bill (even with the record 100F days). I wish I could pass those on to the Colorado Sierra Club for reimbursement. Some good news is that I am starting to see some locations in Colorado where the transplanted Californians are starting to change their minds about logging after the bad fires this past summer.

In Texas said...

OK, don't even ask me how my ID now says "In Texas", its supposed to be "K in Colorado".

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

jimbino,

What the hell is it with you and "minorities," that you don't think Asian-Americans count? What, are they all really white folk who have had plastic surgery done around their eyes, or what?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

jimbino,

A dollar to a donut says you didn't see any Amerikan Hispanics visiting the park. Yes, you saw lots of foreign Asians--non-citizen, non-resident, non-taxpayers--taking advantage of the rich lands paid for by our minorities who would prefer to spend their share of their patrimony on putting food on the table and sending their kids to college instead of supporting your White Country Clubs.

jimbino, just out of curiosity, can you recognize someone as Hispanic by sight? Have you got, as it were, Hispanic gaydar? Because you wrote in another thread that you went to Yellowstone and didn't see any Hispanics there. Given that the media didn't twig that George Zimmerman was Hispanic until positively told so, despite having his friggin' mug shot to work from, I don't think eyeballing the visitors is going to get you very far. Still less so for Native Americans. Had Elizabeth Warren happened to be at Yellowstone when you were, would you have thought "Wow, she's 1/32 Cherokee," or would it have been more "Another privileged white chick"?

jimbino said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson,

Yes, of course Asians are minorities, as are millionaires like Romney or Obama.

Asians are richer than the average Amerikan, and most Asians you see visiting our national parks and forests are probably not taxpayers, citizens or residents, as are the disadvantaged Hispanics, Blacks and Native Amerikans whose patrimony is being given away to alien tourists and White folks.

I myself am a White Hispanic, but I am also a member of the educated elite. In any case, what you don't see any of in our national parks and forests are Amerikans of color. Stop bloviating about who's Hispanic or not and start admitting that the patrimony of our poorest and most disadvantaged Amerikans is going to support the Whitest and richest Amerikans--typical socialist trickle up of wealth!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Damn. I guess it shows if you troll long enough somebody will take the bait.

JMS said...

Global warming causes the fires, not mismanagement.