Some Utah officials blamed the BLM for the huge Milford Flat Fire in central Utah for not allowing enough grazing, but the Grand Junction Sentinel has it right — if anything, the blame is in the other direction. Overgrazing led to the huge infestation of cheat grass (which can only be grazed a few weeks in April and goes to seed even when it is grazed hard).

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is past President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to BLM is not responsible for the Milford Flat Fire

  1. avatar kt says:

    And alarmingly, cheatgrass is adapting to grow at higher and higher elevations, and moving into zones of cattle disturbance on Forest and BLM lands.

    If we do not stop grazing disturbance to all sagebrush communities, and increasingly all juniper and pinyon communities, as well as lower elevation Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir, successive cheatgrass-fueled fires will result in conversion of these critical sage grouse and other wildlife habitats to brown wastelands.

    Just look at what is happening right now with the Tongue Fire in Owyhee County —

    That fire is ripping and roaring across the landscape – in sagebrush and juniper where cattle-trampled understories have become are increasingly clogged with seas of cheatgrass …

    Just 10 years ago, there was only limited cheatgrass in much of the Red Canyon, Red Basin and Tongue area, but now with cattle-caused site drying and desertification – coupled with Global Warming — cheatgrass has become rampant in many places.

    Continuing to graze these arid western lands is like throwing kerosene on a raging blaze … same effect – a likely firestorm.



‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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