Idaho Fish and Game talks about wildlife habitat damage from Murphy Complex

This video shows some of the rangefire damage, and they talk about damage to sage grouse leks and big game habitat. The best is at the end when they indirectly counter Larry Craig and the ranchers with quotes such as “Fuel moisture was at an all-time low…. fire burned right through grazed areas …”

76 sage grouse leks, burned with more still in Nevada where the fire burns on the to the south.

Video from the Times-News.

Incident report on the Murphy Fire complex.







  1. kt Avatar

    It is absurd for ranchers to claim that grazing prevents fire. If that were the case, almost no sagebrush country would have burned in recent decades.

    They are trying to get their buddies Larry Craig and Mike Crapo to promote lawless grazing in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and other places with big fires. It seems the public lands ranching industry – and especially the BIG ranchers like billionaire Simplot and Brackett who graze both in Idaho as well as Nevada – are going all out to grab as much “forage” (wildlife habitat) from public lands as they possibly can in the waning days of the Bush admin. And remain in denial of Global warming and climate change.

  2. Phillip Dunn Avatar
    Phillip Dunn

    I agree kt. I own some acres of shrub steppe and it is currently open to grazing. If I were to light a match this time of year it would be like pouring gas on a fire. Also, in case you were not aware, cattle are one of the causes of climate change. I don’t want to beat up the cattle ranchers as did Oprah but they can be greedy.

  3. kt Avatar

    Then Phillip, I don’t understand your comment on Al Gore in the Post related to the Ely coal plants. What is happening in many places across the Globe is extraordinary, and there is a scientific explanation for it, and Gore has been the Messenger.

  4. Phillip Dunn Avatar
    Phillip Dunn

    True, he has been a messenger but has he offered a solution. I am not denying there is climate change but VP Gore seems only to blame humans. I have a problem with that because I believe there are others as well. There are scientific explanations for everything but that does not mean they are right explanations. Just because VP Gore’s group of scientists come up with an explanation there are others that don’t believe it to be true.
    Remember there are a lot of research dollars involved on both sides.

  5. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    I do not believe that Al Gore is presenting the entire picture. Sure, he has come up with some nice catch phrases too make his propaganda appealing, but he is only presenting info that supports what he wants or rather the best presentation to gain the attention of the folks who always blindly follow what ever seems to be the popular subject at the time. Or whom ever is the loudest and most persistant. There have been numerous core samples taken that prove that there have been extremely drastic climate changes long before people were ever here. There is no way to find the exact causes. It is just a natural cycle of a dynamic planet. However, after major volcanic eruptions there is evidence the climate changed in varying degrees.
    I am not saying that humans and cattle have not had an effect on the climate. It is much more realistic to say that we have had only a very minimal climate change, given the facts those core samples back up. The scare tactics used by saying;at the current rate of warming, we can expect this or that. Think about it— The vast Sahara Desert was once lush and green with forests etc. The earth’s population would have been only a small fraction of what it is today. I would say the best advice would be to encourage people to explore all the available evidence regarding climate change. There could be a major volcanic erruption next week that would cause the global temp to rise three degrees. There is no guarantee that the current climate will stay on it’s current course. If anything it will encourage the folks who do have never cared, to change their wasteful habits. There are people who have no concept of where all their garbage goes. If they do not see it then it doesn’t exist. There are still so many people who never recycle. One thing I think of is all the disposable diapers… It is not too late to get people to think beyond their front porch.
    However, if the “global warming” line of thought gets the people/sheep to change their ways and become conservation minded, it has served a great purpose and will make our world a better place to live.
    In writing this I realize that maybe that is what [global warming] will get people thinking about the consequences of their actions. { Hmmm, I think I had an epiphany} Ha! Anyway, it is difficult for people to change because they have to think to replace the bad habits with good ones. Some may say “you reap what you so”, but I prefer the term “Equivalent Exchange”, it has a positive “ring” to it. [Telling people that they reap what they sow is a bit negative.]

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The place I go to get most serious climate change debate info is the Real Climate blog. It is written by climatologists, not other kinds of scientists or by political pundits.

    Their tone is that they believe that current climate changes are mostly human induced, but they are not extreme about it. They do counter those who don’t believe in human induced global warming and also those who are apocalyptics as well.

    It is a bit hard going because they don’t shy away from technical discussions, but they do try to make them friendly to the intelligent layperson.

    For newcomers — to help them get up to speed on some technical terms and arguments — they have a beginners page at

  7. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    Hi Ralph, Thanks for the info!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan