Rocky Barker's blog: We live in the indefinitely bad fire season with conditions off the chart

Rocky Barker says that we ( in Idaho) are now living in conditions like those in Yellowstone in 1988 when the fires exploded, and a month early at that!

We live in the indefinitely bad fire season with conditions off the chart. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

I have added the following after receiving comments to the post. Fires close all roads to Yellow Pine. Idaho Statesman. By Heath Druzin and Cynthia Sewell

Inciweb East Fork complex. Explosive Western Idaho forest fires and numerous emergency road closures.

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  1. kt Avatar

    … it seems to me that the Statesman needs to write about the contribution of livestock, including public lands welfare cows, to global warming – methane, desertification, weeds – feeding into the global warming/fire cycle. If there is a science-based attempt to examine all facets of the problem, and not just swallow the cattle boy reasoning – which apparently Dirk Kempthorne does …

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Yes, KT, you are so right; but it is significant the media just aren’t buying the Craig, Crapo, Otter line, not even Kempthorne is buying it. Maybe his old pals shouldn’t have come down so hard on DOI 😉

  3. Buffaloed Avatar

    The Warm Lake Highway was closed this afternoon which was the last road open to Yellowpine. The smoke has been very bad here in Cascade and McCall from the fires and the fire that closed the Warm Lake Highway is threatening the South Fork Salmon River salmon trap where the entire brood stock of chinook is being held. Not good.

  4. Brian Ertz Avatar

    it’ll be interesting to see where reid comes down

  5. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I remember last summer Yellow Pine was similarly isolated. I spent about 3 days driving and hiking around there before the fires started last year, and I was amazed at how much had burned since we finished research of our book “Hiking Idaho” in 2000.

    The fires of 2006 came and went, and new one is well under way. Seems like there may not be many large stands of timber left.

  6. kt Avatar

    Yes, part of the make-believe world the public lands welfare ranchers live in and demand policy be spun for is crumbling – but the question is — when will the Repubs. and some simpering Dems. start running from the rest of the Cattlemen’s Assoc’n myths???

    It will be interesting to tally the public $$$ spent, or resources handed over to, these ranchers – and contrast that – say – to a small business owner in NOLA. Read this morning that CRP land
    has been opened up. The black henbane, rush skeletonweed and knapweed seeds may be trucked with the Idaho Jarbidge cows to new locales …. Coming, to that CRP Land in South Dakota … Idaho weeds …

  7. kt Avatar

    And the biggest question is: When will Dirk Kempthorne say in public that the only sane solution to this mess is the “Golden Parachute” – a broad federal buyout and retirement of public lands grazing permits? That is the direction policy must take if we are to salvage sagebrush wild lands — and do any meaningful restoration.

  8. elkhunter Avatar

    KT, what is your source for cow’s contibuting to global warming? I mean you have literally millions and millions of cars drving everyday, coal power plants, industrial buildings and pumping out chemicals into the air that promote global warming. I dont see how you can say cows are contributing so much to global warming? I might see how you could back that up with the forest fire issue, but beyond that, I dont really see that as a real issue. But if you could give me a source to read I would appreciate it.

  9. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Recently, a swedish study found that the ratio of beef production to carbon dioxide equivalency production of 1/36.4 by weight. That is to say:

    Producing 1kg of beef results in more CO2 emissions than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home, scientists said”.

    This study does not even incorporate the fuel consumption of transporting the beef.

    This one does:

    The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization did a comprehensive study on the livestock commodity chain. The report concluded that the livestock industry alone contributes more greenhouse gasses than does the transportation economy alone. A clip from the executive summary:

    “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”

    Of Atmosphere and Climate:

    “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport.”

    A webpage from UN- FOA on the issue”>
    The entire study: Livestock’s Long Shadow (5MB pdf so only click if you’re ambitious).

    hope this helps…


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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