Fire Management

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joebartels
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Fire Management

Post by joebartels » Jun 13 2016 6:20 pm

obviously I'm not the right person to start this thread but something away from specific fires is needed

Q: what is good fire management to you?

Q: what are those opposed to current fire management doing about future fires other than posting in public forums about current or past fires?
ie: running for some election, emailing/writing authorities, etc

Q: what percentage of moonscape do you support?
- none, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70%

other questions welcome
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Re: Fire Management

Post by RedRoxx44 » Jun 13 2016 6:45 pm

Good Fire Management--- in areas away from key structures ( power lines, homes whatever deemed super important by somebody) allow to burn and observe.

Better explanation--- for example recently three fires in the poor Chiricahuas. Portal Peak was in the Horseshoe 2 burn. All fires were "full suppression" per Inciweb and they were stopped I believe two in sub 100 acres. Why? No planning for them or it was going to screw up the Baer from Horseshoe 2 ??? Same with MuleRidge fire south of Arivaca, that one did get away from them for a bit headed toward Bear canyon Ranch and then they stopped it, full suppression on that one too.

Why are some "full suppression" in apparent sparse populated and non structural damage and others full on not only manage but propagate?? Fuel load?? Money??

Moonscape--- don't see how you can avoid it. In a big fire it's gonna be like 20 percent at least I would say. I don't like it but it will be there.

What am I doing--- talking to reporters, emailing congress people, talking to local ranchers. I just have a camera. I'll let that do the talking.

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Re: Fire Management

Post by ALMAL » Jun 14 2016 12:31 pm

Don't spend all of your annual funding, and you won't get as much next year. Sad but true in many cases.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by LindaAnn » Jun 14 2016 2:14 pm

Can any government agency manage anything without screwing it up? Nope. Admittedly, I'm a very conservative libertarian, so I say that about anything government related ;)

In my opinion, after decades of mismanagement, our forests are in an unnatural state. Sadly, huge fires, which burn hot, are a result. But, I think fire is one of the things that is necessary to eventually balance the forests back to where they should be. I read a study last year that stated our current forest density is 12-49% higher than it was compared to data from 1911--that seems unsustainable to me.

I don't think the Forest Service should be deliberately setting, or encouraging the growth of wildfires, but I do think naturally occurring (or stupid-human caused) wildfires should be allowed to burn with minimal intervention. From a very high level standpoint, I feel that in the case of fires, the Forest Service should focus on creating defensible buffers around areas of importance, while letting fires burn elsewhere. Maybe in a few generations, the forests will burn more naturally without the devastation we see today.

I also feel that there should be a major focus on tree thinning, and getting the forest density back to natural historical levels. The argument of not enough funding or manpower for that kind of project is nonsense to me. Money seems to come out of nowhere to fight fires, so that same money can exist for lowering density. Obviously, the private sector can capitalize on that as well.

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Re: Fire Management

Post by CannondaleKid » Jun 14 2016 3:01 pm

lindaagm wrote:The argument of not enough funding or manpower for that kind of project is nonsense to me
and ... to many others as well, myself included.
But of course you already knew that... ;)
lindaagm wrote:Can any government agency manage anything without screwing it up? Nope.
So why don't we take a look at why there isn't money for proactive management...
Forest Service Report: Rising Firefighting Costs Raises Alarms

"For the first time in its 110-year history, the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is spending more than 50 percent of its budget to suppress the nation's wildfires. A new report released today by the Forest Service estimates that within a decade, the agency will spend more than two-thirds of its budget to battle ever-increasing fires, while mission-critical programs that can help prevent fires in the first place such as forest restoration and watershed and landscape management will continue to suffer."

Could the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act be a more sensible approach?
"We must treat catastrophic wildfire not like a routine expense," said Vilsack, "but as the natural disasters they truly are. It's time to address the runaway growth of fire suppression at the cost of other critical programs."

Personally I don't see the Forest Service ever having enough funds to do adequate prevention as long as fire-fighting costs are funded as they currently are. I like the idea of funding fire-fighting the same as is done for natural disasters.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by jonathanpatt » Jun 14 2016 5:31 pm

RedRoxx44 wrote:Better explanation--- for example recently three fires in the poor Chiricahuas. Portal Peak was in the Horseshoe 2 burn. All fires were "full suppression" per Inciweb and they were stopped I believe two in sub 100 acres. Why? No planning for them or it was going to screw up the Baer from Horseshoe 2 ???
The Portal Peak Fire (the burn area of which I can see out my window) was in close proximity to multiple structures and was in the same stretch that Horseshoe II blasted through in its first 24 hours all the way from its ignition point in Horseshoe Canyon to the southeastern edge of Portal, so presumably there was concern about it spreading to the more densely populated areas less than two miles north. It started at 11 PM and was effectively out by the time I woke up, with the Forest Service crews just mopping up for the next day or so.

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Re: Fire Management

Post by hikeaz » Jun 16 2016 3:01 pm

Keep track of pertinent wildfires >>> https://wildfiresnearme.wfmrda.com/
kurt

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Re: Show Low - Cedar Creek Fire

Post by SkyIslandHiker » Jun 21 2016 3:04 pm

Containment has dropped from 40% yesterday to 20% today.

@joebartels, thanks for posting the perimeter maps daily.

Interesting article in yesterdays Republic about the failure of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) thus far: http://www.azcentral.c...
Last edited by joebartels on Jun 21 2016 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: moved from topic: Cedar Fire to topic: Fire Management

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Re: Show Low - Cedar Creek Fire

Post by hikeaz » Jun 21 2016 3:44 pm

"Six years into a 20-year plan to thin overgrown ponderosa pines from northern and eastern Arizona, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative has treated just over 80,000 of the 1 million acres targeted for work."
Goal 50,000 acres a year; actual 13,500 +/- - um... in school that is about 39% - a VERY low 'F'.

"And four years into the largest contractor's 10-year, 300,000-acre deal, Good Earth Power has logged just about 7,500 acres." Goal 30,000 acres a year; actual 1800 - They don't even have a grade for scores that low.

"The federal government has spent more than $84 million supporting the program since 2011, not counting 2010 funds that were not specifically listed as forest restoration during the project's first year."
With this flood of citizen-funding why WOULD they live up to their end of the deal. 21,000 acres $84 million - $4,000 an acre?! We could have the Kardashian's cut them down with sissors for HALF that.
Last edited by hikeaz on Feb 01 2018 11:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by Jim_H » Jun 21 2016 8:28 pm

Well, consider it a boon to Arizona and Phoenix's watershed, since it is something we get as a subsidy from the Feds. We rely on the forests for our water, so take it while it still comes.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by joebartels » Jul 24 2016 8:58 pm

found this interesting
HAZ Trivia wrote:Native people used to make huge bonfires to induce rain.
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Re: Show Low - Cedar Creek Fire

Post by nonot » Jul 26 2016 10:13 pm

hikeaz wrote:"Six years into a 20-year plan to thin overgrown ponderosa pines from northern and eastern Arizona, the Four Forest Restoration Initiative has treated just over 80,000 of the 1 million acres targeted for work."
Goal 50,000 acres a year; actual 13,500 +/- - um... in school that is about 39% - a VERY low 'F'.

"And four years into the largest contractor's 10-year, 300,000-acre deal, Good Earth Power has logged just about 7,500 acres." Goal 30,000 acres a year; actual 1800 - They don't even have a grade for scores that low.

"The federal government has spent more than $84 million supporting the program since 2011, not counting 2010 funds that were not specifically listed as forest restoration during the project's first year."
With this flood of citizen-funding why WOULD they live up to their end of the deal. 21,000 acres $84 million - 400,000 an acre?! We could have the Kardashian's cut them down with sissors for HALF that.

One wonders if the money for this program is getting pilfered to "fight fires" rather than prevent fires.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX1xnWPSjKg

There's an interesting mention towards the end of thinning operations in Arizona but no specific fire was mentioned?
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Re: Fire Management

Post by chumley » Sep 19 2017 2:42 pm

The Wall Street Journal published an interesting editorial today. It's behind a paywall if you don't subscribe:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-wes ... 1505776000

But for the purposes of commentary and criticism, posting it here should fall under fair use.

As with previous discussions on fire management policy here on HAZ, it's worth noting that this isn't something that is going to be solved by arguing in an online forum. However, since the WSJ one of a handful of very influential editorial page on the national stage I thought it might be of interest to folks here that western forest management is receiving a little bit of attention back in the hallowed halls of DC.

Rest assured, if any comments get ugly, this thread will almost certainly get locked by the mods!
By The Editorial Board
Sept. 18, 2017 7:06 p.m. ET

The current hurricane season is capturing most media attention, but Westerners have been living through another nasty season of wildfires. So full marks for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is reversing years of federal neglect to prevent more fires.

Last week Mr. Zinke issued a memo instructing his land managers and park superintendents to use the “full authority” of their bureaus to begin clearing the dead and dying trees and brush that clog federal lands and are a tinderbox for Western wildfires. This is the first time in more than 20 years that Interior will, as the memo notes, “proactively work to prevent forest fires through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction managements to save lives, homes, and wildlife habitat.”

Forest Service policies have contributed to a fuels buildup for more than a century. But Bill Clinton turbocharged the mismanagement in the 1990s when he sharply reduced logging and road-building in federal forests. This has let disease and insect infestations run rampant, and fire proliferation is one result.

The number and intensity of Western megafires is growing, and this year some 47,000 wildfires torched eight million acres—an area the size of Maryland. Bigger and more intense fire seasons now also routinely destroy thousands of homes, and more than 450 firefighters have been killed on duty since 1990.

Before the Clinton era, the Forest Service spent about 16% of its annual budget fighting fires once underway. In 2015 it had to spend more than half for the first time in its 110-year history. The rising costs mean the Forest Service must poach money from programs aimed at preventing fires through better forest restoration and management.

Forest cleanup has become a local, bipartisan cause in the West, as state officials, land owners and others coalesce for more active debris removal and forest thinning. The opposition comes from environmental groups, often out of state, that dislike forest management and swoop in to stop the deals.

In Montana, where 200,000 acres are burning, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Wild Swan recently sued to stop a proposal for tree-thinning and limited burning in the Flathead National Forest. They are fighting a mere 1,800-acre commercial timber harvest. The same groups that fret about climate change and pollution don’t mind policies that result in the burning of entire carbon sinks that spew smoke and noxious chemicals.

Beyond Mr. Zinke’s memo, Congress can help with legislation to reduce frivolous litigation and streamline permitting for active forest management. Reform should include changes to the National Environmental Policy Act’s environmental review process and the infamous Equal Access to Justice Act, which green groups have exploited to sue and then force taxpayers to cover their litigation costs.

The federal government owns upward of 50% of the land in many Western states. The GOP Congress has a chance to build bipartisan coalitions to better manage federal lands and reduce the fire damage that scars the West each year.
For full context of the editorial, the original Memo from Secretary Zinke is linked here:
https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secre ... -wildfires

And for a more well-rounded news article with views opposing Zinke (and the WSJ editorial), I recommend reading the story in High Country News here:
http://www.hcn.org/articles/dc-dispatch ... rn-forests

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Re: Fire Management

Post by TheMazzicMan » Sep 19 2017 5:27 pm

Thanks for sharing these, @chumley. Interesting to compare the different viewpoints.

I'm poorly qualified to speak to the science of the matter, however, I feel the mission of our national forests ("to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of our Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations") sets these lands up for interminable battles over fair and equitable use, and the proper role of active management. Sustaining "diversity" and "productivity" seemingly pits wildlife species against timber yield in competition for supremacy. "The needs of present and future generations," a maddeningly vague set of criteria if ever there was, are varied and are almost always going to be at odds in some respect. Furthermore, when management policy fluctuates with the political winds and shifting administrations, the only constant becomes change. The devaluation of science as a repository of reliable data isn't helping get us closer to a solution, either. I can only hope that once we, as a species, are out of the way that nature can restore itself to some modicum of health and balance.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by rcorfman » Sep 19 2017 5:54 pm

t_d_singletree wrote:I can only hope that once we, as a species, are out of the way...
Why would you hope that?
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Re: Fire Management

Post by Tough_Boots » Sep 19 2017 6:07 pm

rcorfman wrote: t_d_singletree wrote:
I can only hope that once we, as a species, are out of the way...


Why would you hope that?
If you don't take half a sentence out of context, it might make more sense.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by nonot » Sep 19 2017 6:47 pm

as the memo notes, “proactively work to prevent forest fires through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction managements to save lives, homes, and wildlife habitat.”
I would say this journalist doesn't understand. The goal of fuel reduction isn't to prevent wildfires, it is to restore the balance caused by absence of wildfire. Back in the times when forests were managed by mother nature, fires were a regular occurrence every 5 or so years, and the regular burning prevented overgrowth.

Fuel reduction efforts compensate for fighting fires by spending the money to remove the overgrowth that is caused by fighting fires.

Increasing the emphasis on fighting fires is the wrong message compared to the emphasis which should be to obtain healthy forests.

Healthy forests are reached via 1) the controlled, regular burning of healthy fires in healthy forests, and 2) the fuel reduction in unhealthy forests to restore them to healthy fuel levels, so that those reduced areas can be habitually burned via controlled fires.

Nowhere in that strategy is "preventing forest fires". The legacy of Smokey the Bear and the misinterpretation of his message (which is intended to mean putting your campfires out very thoroughly) will haunt us for another few decades.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by Jim_H » Sep 19 2017 7:44 pm

For a few years now, I've thought that SRP, and the other cities, town, and water districts, should step in and start paying to thin some of the most critical watershed area, or other overly dense areas that are almost guaranteed to burn hot in a fire. Areas where dense, small trees won't be worth much, or where expensive work can be paid for by water users.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by amy1300 » Sep 19 2017 8:23 pm

nonot wrote: Increasing the emphasis on fighting fires is the wrong message compared to the emphasis which should be to obtain healthy forests.

Healthy forests are reached via 1) the controlled, regular burning of healthy fires in healthy forests, and 2) the fuel reduction in unhealthy forests to restore them to healthy fuel levels, so that those reduced areas can be habitually burned via controlled fires.
@nonot
Well said!

It feels odd to see the WSJ claim there's going to be fuel reduction for the "first time," when we know there's a project along those lines already being carried out in Coconino Forest, in the Schultz Tank area. And 450 firefighters killed since 1990 in the line of duty sounds awfully high, unless they are including fires of all kinds and not just wildland / forest fires. Stating the cost of fighting fires as a % of forest service budget does not make sense, without knowing the total size of the budgets in the years being compared, in real inflation-adjusted dollars. Maybe the percentage is greater now, in part, because the budget has gotten smaller, in real terms? Dunno - but it sounds to me like the editors may be massaging stats in a way that's not completely honest. Gotta read that High Country News piece tomorrow.
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Re: Fire Management

Post by rcorfman » Sep 19 2017 10:05 pm

@Tough_Boots
I assume you mean out of context. But no, it made perfect sense to me. Basically, if we as a species are gone, then I don't see what difference it makes what the heck happens on this earth. Basically, there would be no one left to care one way or the other.
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