Currently viewing the category: "Wildfire"

The Ecological Importance of Mixed Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix Edited by Dominick DellaSala and Chad Hanson.

340 pages $89.95

This important new collection of essays in The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires presents some of the latest research and thinking about wildfires by some of the most respected fire ecologists and other thinkers in the […]

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A common assertion, oft repeated by the timber industry, the Forest Service, and even far too many conservation groups (like The Nature Conservancy) is that a hundred years of fire suppression has contributed to the large wildfires we are seeing around the West.

The logic goes like this. […]

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One of the assumptions behind federal legislation like the Resilient Federal Forest Act is that more thinning of our forests will halt or significantly reduce large wildfires. Yet the scientific evidence for such a conclusion is ambiguous at best.

Any number of studies have find that thinning usually fails under severe fire conditions.

First, the […]

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A recent article in the Science section of the New York Times seemed to reiterate some of the common misunderstandings about wildfire.  While there are parts of the article that I certainly agree with, the implicit message that large wildfires are ecologically destructive and that thinning forests will save them is questionable.


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Grazing Leads to Blazing

On August 21, 2015 By

Livestock grazing has fanned summer’s fires in Idaho and the West-

Livestock grazing in southwestern Idaho and across the West has contributed significantly to intensity, severity, and enormity of fires this summer. Important habitat for sage-grouse, redband trout, other wildlife species is now ablaze. Despite the livestock industry’s claims to the contrary, the Idaho fires […]

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Oregon Congressman’s Greg Walden’s (other western legislators also are sponsors)  support of the so-called Resilient Federal Forests Act is based on faulty assumptions. The Resilient Federal Forests Act will actually decrease forest resilience. Here’s a link to Walden’s position on the Act. Here’s just a few of the problems. Walden asserts that if […]

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One of the justifications for logging by the Forest Service around the West is the idea that fire suppression has led to fewer fires, and thus greater fuel build up than historically occurred. Therefore, mechanically reducing fuels—i.e. logging—is reasonable because otherwise we will see large wildfires.


However, both assumptions—namely there is fuel build up […]

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Republican congressionals advance bill that bars public review and lawsuits over logging in our national forests-

One version, Resilient Federal Forests Act, has passed the House and now the U. S. Senate takes up legislation that supporters, overwhelmingly Republican, say will reduce catastrophic wildfires and “streamline” environmental review of logging projects. The legislation will also […]

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Politicians complain of cost then support the wrong solution — more logging The timber industry, politicians and others bemoan the growing cost of firefighting in the West. The proposed solution is more logging of forests in the belief that thinning will reduce the occurrence of large fires and protect communities. However, there are a host […]

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This past week, Public Broadcasting’s Nature film series featured the Sagebrush Sea.  The film’s main focus was on the Greater Sage Grouse which is the emblematic creature found in this vast landscape that covers the bulk of many western states including substantial parts of New Mexico Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, California, Montana and Idaho.


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November 2015
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‎"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