Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

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RickVincent
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Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by RickVincent » Jun 10 2011 11:58 am

I dedicate this fire to the bunnyhuggers [-X and anti-logging lobbies :yuck: that have pressured politicians :guilty: into allowing the national forests to fuel up with overgrowth over the last 20 to 30 years. How do you think those burrowing owls and other critters you thought you were protecting are doing in their new crispy habitat? :M2C:
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by PLC92084 » Jun 13 2011 10:29 am

This just in... Blame game is going strong:

"An eastern Arizona rancher blames the U.S. Forest Service and environmentalists for the Wallow fire that has burned more than 440,000 acres in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest and White Mountains. An ecologist says the problem began more than a century ago and could be resolved in a decade with the right approach..."

http://ktar.com/category/local-news-art ... s-debated/

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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jim_H » Jun 13 2011 10:32 am

Ironically, before we got out here, probably every acre of ponderosa pine dominated forest and mixed conifer forest, as well as the grasslands, and a lot of the oak savannas, pinyon juniper savanna, the chaparral, and so on, that all burned, and with a frequency much greater than one time in 20 years for a lot of it. Once upon a time, fire was like rain, it came when it the conditions were right, which was really often. It's only been since the about the 1920s that it became seen as bad. We're in a fire drought and we need it bad.

There have been a few lower intensity fires in the area you mention, both lightning in the summer and prescribed in the fall and spring. If thinning is too expensive to allocate funds for, since we have virtually no industry and the small pines have zero to little value, I say let them burn. Sure, there has been talk of an OSB plant somewhere in the area since at least 2005, but as yet there has been nothing more than talk. I favor road obliteration and a let burn policy for larger areas. Remove the cattle, the sheep, bulldoze the tanks, let the elk and mule deer fend for themselves, and return the forest to a more natural state. Too many want a forest for themselves, though, hiker included. You could say I'm selfish, but I want a forest with less access, less exploitation, and larger areas accessible only by non-road means. This would be with larger compartments for burns, more use fires, and ultimately more fires but virtually none like the Wallow Fire.
:o

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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jim_H » Jun 13 2011 10:32 am

:-({|=
That guys is funny.
They ought to be here. They ought to be here with their sleeves rolled up. If they truly care about the resources, why aren't they out here trying to fight the fire?
Not a lot of rolled up sleeves on fires. Notice he's quick to point out that grazing has been kept out, despite grazing being a very large part of the problem in the first place. My guess is, too, that the area won't be available to grazers for some time, to allow for some level of re-vegetion. The grass in the Gila Wilderness, where cattle and sheep are kept out, was the healthiest grass I have seen in the west. Way better than anything in Arizona.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jeffshadows » Jun 13 2011 1:47 pm

Jim_H wrote::-({|=
That guys is funny.
They ought to be here. They ought to be here with their sleeves rolled up. If they truly care about the resources, why aren't they out here trying to fight the fire?
Not a lot of rolled up sleeves on fires.
Not to mention the fact that the Incident Command System is setup in such a way as to really prevent well-meaning volunteers from wandering into a situation like this and making matters worse for themselves or others...

I can't speak for the rest of the state; but, prior to the Aspen fire, I worked with a group that *repeatedly* tried to perform prescribed burns on Lemmon. It wasn't environmentalists that stopped us, it was rich bozos building McMansions in Summerhaven. Most all of which burned to the ground. These same people stopped Lemmon Fire from trying to clear around their cabins and in town, as well.

We are to blame...all of us. I don't like grinding out elevation all day just to get to a blackened landscape with no escape from the heat any more than anyone else. However, I would learn to appreciate walking through that same landscape with the trees intact and some of the understory charred on a routine basis if that's what it takes for that forest to be healthy.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 13 2011 5:01 pm

Funny to me, since once again I do know the rancher (also know all the other ones they interviewed in other articles: Wink Crigler, Roxanne Knight, etc.) I have worked for both Gary Kiehne and Roxanne Knight.

These are some pretty nice folks, especially the Knights, but I think they need to look at the broader history, and the science. Pointing fingers is not helpful, especially when their statements are not really accurate.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jim_H » Jun 13 2011 7:07 pm

Still, I find it very amusing that a Rancher, who is a part of a very politically powerful and active special interest group dedicated to grazing and using the publicly own forests, and wanting to the extent of demanding in cases, access to subsidize public grazing for a nominal fee (the ranching special interest, not him per se), he blames environmentalists for fuel build up. Liz, we had a conversation about ranchers a week ago. You said they are against fire because it puts the grass temporarily back. Ironic that the one thing that really lowers fuel levels is the thing this special interest group is against, but environmentalists, the evil special interest group who tends to support fire, they're the ones to blame.

The comments in the article are about what I expect and typically ignorant and right wing. It seems, in reality, that fires are a Liberal Conspiracy. Roads save forests, and the public is apparently permanently banned from public lands. It's a shame that this fire probably started near a road from a camper, but what ever, even if it didn't, lightning strikes, and starts more fires than people. My prediction is more public debate for the time being, and then a return to status quo with minimal forest activity. we can hope for some use fires this summer and early fall to play their natural role, but little will change.
:o

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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by nonot » Jun 13 2011 9:57 pm

You'll never be a good politician:

1) This plan actually makes plenty of sense

2) You can't let them burn, the three guys who own cattle ranchland that would be affected by the burn would lobby against you with their other ranching buddies unless you cave to fighting the fire which affects them.

3) You can't bulldoze the tanks, the guys who go out and "hunt" wouldn't be able to get such an easy kill that they might have to actually hunt, walk around, and track their game. Now you're on their pumpkin list and you've pissed them off and the rest of the NRA. Unless you cave to not bulldozing the tanks that affect them.

4) You can't let the animals fend for themselves. Sure, they are perfectly capable and have been doing just fine on their own for millions of years, but now they are really helpless innocent critters that need to be protected. So now you've pissed off a few treehuggers, PETA, and probably greenpeace.

5) Eliminating roads will pretty much eliminate the problem - if it's tough to access, the irresponsible people seem to stay away, so you've actually protected the wilderness. But you've pissed off Bubba Joe and his redneck friends, so forget about their vote.

6) By letting them burn, you reduce the possibility of these areas being logged and corporations making their money once these trees grow up. So now you've lost your corporate donations to you campaign, who will fund the other guy.

Oh wait, democracy makes all our lives better. No matter about lobbying, special interests, and whatnot. We're all better off being run by an incompetent group of morons people vote for because they are the lowest common denominator who haven't managed to piss anyone off, speak out of both sides of their mouth, and generally do nothing useful. But that's what we want, right?


Jim_H wrote:Ironically, before we got out here, probably every acre of ponderosa pine dominated forest and mixed conifer forest, as well as the grasslands, and a lot of the oak savannas, pinyon juniper savanna, the chaparral, and so on, that all burned, and with a frequency much greater than one time in 20 years for a lot of it. Once upon a time, fire was like rain, it came when it the conditions were right, which was really often. It's only been since the about the 1920s that it became seen as bad. We're in a fire drought and we need it bad.

There have been a few lower intensity fires in the area you mention, both lightning in the summer and prescribed in the fall and spring. If thinning is too expensive to allocate funds for, since we have virtually no industry and the small pines have zero to little value, I say let them burn. Sure, there has been talk of an OSB plant somewhere in the area since at least 2005, but as yet there has been nothing more than talk. I favor road obliteration and a let burn policy for larger areas. Remove the cattle, the sheep, bulldoze the tanks, let the elk and mule deer fend for themselves, and return the forest to a more natural state. Too many want a forest for themselves, though, hiker included. You could say I'm selfish, but I want a forest with less access, less exploitation, and larger areas accessible only by non-road means. This would be with larger compartments for burns, more use fires, and ultimately more fires but virtually none like the Wallow Fire.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by RickVincent » Jun 14 2011 9:38 am

Arizona Wildfire Blamed on 'Too Many Trees'
Remy Melina, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 10 June 2011

The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona is now the second-largest fire in Arizona history, engulfing nearly 400,000 acres in flames. Some forest experts warn that an overly dense, unnatural forest structure is fueling the fire and putting millions more acres of trees at risk.

"Decades of scientific research reveal that the West is suffocating under too many trees," Wally Covington, a professor of forest ecology at Northern Arizona University and executive director of NAU's Ecological Restoration Institute, said in a statement. "Where we once had 10 to 25 trees per acre, we now have...
http://www.livescience.com/14542-wildfi ... trees.html
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jeffshadows » Jun 14 2011 9:54 am

azbackpackr wrote:Funny to me, since once again I do know the rancher (also know all the other ones they interviewed in other articles: Wink Crigler, Roxanne Knight, etc.) I have worked for both Gary Kiehne and Roxanne Knight.

These are some pretty nice folks, especially the Knights, but I think they need to look at the broader history, and the science. Pointing fingers is not helpful, especially when their statements are not really accurate.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Alston_Neal » Jun 14 2011 10:34 am

@jeffmacewen
Chortle.... :sl: :sl:
Ahem, ok back to our thread.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jim_H » Jun 14 2011 3:25 pm

Basal area is a better indicator than TPA, but who knows what that is, or could put in some plots on FS land and get an esitmate of it? I think I've read a BA of 40 to 60 was common in presettlement pondorosa, but today it approaches 200 in some places. It's the difference between nice, and hideous, basically.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 14 2011 5:10 pm

They call them "doghair thickets" they get so thick.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jeffshadows » Jun 14 2011 6:01 pm

Jim_H wrote:Basal area is a better indicator than TPA, but who knows what that is, or could put in some plots on FS land and get an esitmate of it? I think I've read a BA of 40 to 60 was common in presettlement pondorosa, but today it approaches 200 in some places. It's the difference between nice, and hideous, basically.
Is it really that thick on most of the forest service land right now?
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by azbackpackr » Jun 14 2011 6:05 pm

At last night's community meeting they said that due to the thinning that has been done over the past several years, concentrating on areas around all the towns, that is why they have lost so few homes. I am sure glad they did that.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jim_H » Jun 14 2011 10:01 pm

jeffmacewen wrote:
Jim_H wrote:Basal area is a better indicator than TPA, but who knows what that is, or could put in some plots on FS land and get an esitmate of it? I think I've read a BA of 40 to 60 was common in presettlement pondorosa, but today it approaches 200 in some places. It's the difference between nice, and hideous, basically.
Is it really that thick on most of the forest service land right now?
Basal Area = 0.005454 x DBH2, or the area of a given section of land that is occupied by the cross-section of tree trunks. So, for pines, with a BA of 200 ft^2 over an acre, or 43,560 square feet, that would be on the upper end, but not out of the question. However, that is not the norm, and even in the densest of forests there exists a fair amount of variability. One thing our forests have in their favor, as opposed to in the PNW, the southeast, and areas of the Rockies with even aged plantations or fire reproduced pines like lodgepole, is their high level of variability. A basal area of 200ft^2 for an acre would be near the densest of the dense southern pine plantations, if you've ever been in one. Usually only loblloly can get that high down there. In the PNW, Douglas Fir can go higher. Since ponderosa pine is in reality a collection of even aged stands, rather than a true uneven aged forest, some areas can be that high, and a short distance away it may be in the low 100s. The Fort Valley Experimental Forest up on US 180 north of Snowbowl Road has an area right on the highway in front of the old houses that has a mix of old growth trees and yound trees that seeded into the gaps between the old growth. The young ones are so dense that they can't even stand up straight. Those areas are probably near 200, but the older pines are probably in the 60s. Across the highway, the recently thinned area is likely down in the 40 range.

So, no it is not that bad uniformly across the national forests in Arizona. However, it need not be that bad, as both TPA and BA are measuring tool for density, and is not just the number of trees and the area of them, but their size, the fuel load, and their condition and size. I wouldn't want to guess on what the number look like for the state, but simply by high grading and having younger trees, we have forests that resists fire less than before because their crowns are lower to the ground.

Oh, and frequently it can be the other species that are the issue, like young white fir or doug-fir, junipers, oaks, or pinyons. The really bad slopes I mentioned in my Water Line Road hike that I said would burn bad, and did in last year's Schultz, they were covered in dense young, and sickly looking, white firs, with scattered old and nearly dead pines and firs.
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Re: "Wallow Fire" in Bear Wallow Wilderness

Post by kingsnake » Jun 23 2011 6:27 am

Lessons From the Wallow Fire
The Western Inferno

By GEORGE WUERTHNER

The Wallow Fire is now the largest in recent Arizona history, encompassing more than 500,000 acres. The media discussion of the fire often leads to misinformation and misunderstanding of wildfires, and feeds the political agenda of politicians, and industries from developers to the timber industry ...

http://www.counterpunch.org/wuerthner06222011.html
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by joebartels » Jun 23 2011 9:10 am

Interesting read. I'd be interested in Jim_H's thoughts (others too) on the various points in that article.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by chumley » Jun 23 2011 10:35 am

There's really no new information in there, it's all been covered before. Am I mis-reading his hypothesis when I conclude his opinion is that "people are the problem"? Few could argue against such a conclusion. But since I don't think he's recommending mass-human-extermination, I'm not really sure he has any more solutions than anybody else. And that's why catastrophic fires have happend in the past and why they will continue to happen.

I believe humans have moved to a strategy similar to earthquakes and hurricanes. We acknowledge we can't stop them from happening. We can only build structures that are more resistant to surviving when they occur. In the case of fire that includes building defensible perimeters around towns to allow for a better chance to stop a fire's progression there.

Is that the best solution? Probably not. But I don't see it changing anytime soon, so get used to it.
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by Jeffshadows » Jun 23 2011 12:59 pm

chumley wrote:Is that the best solution? Probably not. But I don't see it changing anytime soon, so get used to it.
How about a moratorium on what is usually wholly-unnecessary and wanton construction in areas that are prone to large-scale fire? Does anyone *really* need to live right next to the national forest in non-urban areas?
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Re: Dedicating the Wallow Fire to the Bunnyhuggers

Post by chumley » Jun 23 2011 1:16 pm

jeffmacewen wrote:How about a moratorium on what is usually wholly-unnecessary and wanton construction in areas that are prone to large-scale fire? Does anyone *really* need to live right next to the national forest in non-urban areas?
Agree or not, good idea or bad, I think you just proved my point:
I don't see it changing anytime soon, so get used to it.
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