Currently viewing the category: "Wildfire"

In recent weeks, misinformed Douglas County politicians have expressed opposition to the 500,000 acre Crater Lake Wilderness proposal based on the misguided belief that wilderness designation poses a wildfire threat. They argue that “active management,” meaning logging, can preclude or prevent such blazes. But this demonstrates a fundamental failure to understand fire ecology.

Just as […]

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The recent Durango Herald article about the proposal for aggressive logging of Southwest Colorado Forests supported by the Rocky Mountain Restorative Initiative (RMRI) is a classic example of the Industrial Forestry worldview. https://durangoherald.com/articles/306885

The (RMRI) implies that trees killed by drought, beetles, or anything other than a chainsaw are somehow abnormal.  Not surprisingly, the membership […]

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A forest stand on the Deschutes NF which has been ecologically damaged by logging. Note the absence of tree age diversity, lack of dead wood and snags, and any shrub layer. This is what the Forest Service and Deschutes Collaborative calls a “healthy” forest. Ecologically speaking this is a human-caused disaster. (Photo by George Wuerthner)

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Fire/Logging Myths

On October 23, 2019 By

MYTH: FUEL BUILD UP IS RESPONSIBLE FOR LARGE BLAZES?

A conventional narrative is that wildfires in the western U.S. are unprecedented and more extensive than in the past. This increase in fire acreage is attributed to “fuel build-up,” presumed to be the result of successful fire suppression. However, such assertions lack context. Compared to the […]

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The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is proposing to log the Lostine Wild and Scenic River corridor. The basic justification is to reduce the potential for large wildfires.

Yet according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, in 2019 only  acres 67,795 acres burned in the state, compared to 846,411 acres burned last year. Why the […]

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The Lolo National Forest is proposing to “salvage” log a portion of the 28,000-acre Liberty Burn near Seeley Lake, Montana.

The Forest Service (FS) approved the logging using a categorical exclusion (CE) process. CEs were initially designed to permit the FS to do minor actions like replace an outhouse in a campground or replace signs […]

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The New Yorker recently published an article titled Trailblazing plan to fight California Wildfires https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/08/26/a-trailblazing-plan-to-fight-california-wildfires that contain misinformation. I’ve had many people ask me what I thought of the piece. Given the influential nature of the New Yorker itself, I decided to respond here.

The writing is good. There is much that is accurate about […]

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In June, the Bureau of Land Management announced its draft plan to carve 11,000 miles of fuel breaks into the fragile Great Basin landscape. The agency is forging ahead with this plan despite recent scientific paper concluding that there is a lack of empirical evidence validating the effectiveness of fuel breaks in reducing fire […]

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In a message on wildfires I just got from Congressman Greg Walden, he asserts, “A lack of management has left us with overstocked federal forests full of fuel just waiting to burn.” Unfortunately, his statement is full of misinformation.

He neglects to put this into context. In the decades between the 1940s and 1980s, the […]

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Recently it was announced by Montana Senator Steven Daines that he plans to introduce a bipartisan bill with Senator Diane Feinstein of California to protect communities from wildfire.

The senators are concerned that wildfire season is getting worse and large fires are a threat to communities. On both counts, the senators are correct. However, the […]

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Quote

‎"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