Wildfire briefing, May 7, 2012

Lawmaker proposes changes to management of federal lands

Paul Gosar, a U.S. Representative from Arizona, has proposed major changes in the way public land is managed near wildland-urban interface areas. Draft legislation named “Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2012” would expedite the review and approval process for thinning and grazing projects near communities that are at risk from wildfires, “so that our forests can be maintained and rural jobs can be created”. The new law, a response to the Wallow and Rodeo-Chediski fires in Arizona, would affect the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, enabling them to use emergency provisions of existing regulations to expedite grazing and forest thinning projects.

One of the provisions of the legislation requires that if a project requires an Environmental Impact Statement, it would have to be prepared within 30 days. The time needed to write and approve an EIS is now measured in years, not days, so this provision would be an astounding change.

Here is an excerpt from the Verde Independent:

Upon receipt of a “public petition” for designation of an “at-risk forest” or “threatened and endangered species habitat,” the bill would require the secretary of the agency affected to make a decision within 60 days.

If the project is authorized, the public would have 30 days to respond to the decision after notice is published in the Federal Register. And within 60 days of that same notice a final notice of the project would have to be published.

If the project included logging or grazing, an environmental impact statement would need to be prepared within 30 days. The EIS would be good for 10 years for grazing and 20 years for logging.

Alaska makes it easier to rent equipment for wildfires

The State of Alaska Division of Forestry has streamlined the process for the owners of equipment to list it as being available to be used on wildfires. A new internet-based system replaces the previous 22-page paper form. Fire managers will be able to pull up a map of Alaska and instantly see what equipment is available near fires.

Military air tanker crews train in North Carolina

The pilots and crews of military C-130 aircraft in the North Carolina Air National Guard will train this week to be ready to use them as air tankers on wildfires. The planes use Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) which can be slipped into the cargo hold enabling them to drop 3,000 gallons of fire retardant on fires. There are four bases, each with two MAFFS units, that can be activated if all federally-contracted air tankers are committed on fires. The other three bases have already held their annual training in the states of California, Wyoming, and Colorado.
Thanks go out to Dick

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Wildfire briefing, May 7, 2012”

  1. Some comments are leaning toward the abyss of arguing about politics. Just a reminder, please keep your comments about the issue at hand, without discussing politics. If we have to, we’ll delete posts that go too far in that direction.

    This is a good time to refresh your memories about the Rules For Commenting, especially Rule #6.

  2. Good environmental protection laws?

    Protection laws that hold up resposible timber cutting?

    The way thing are going, it IS going to take public safety clauses to get somethings rolling..

    Teabagger attempts??? REEEAAALLY???

    An EIS for anything nowadays ought to be streamlined to no more than 90 days. There are plenty o studies that hold up necessary fuels reduction projects and yes I understand that beetle kill and high intensity fires are not related and other related. How about all that timber that falls after wind and damage? Think that needs an EIS and NEPA statement just to sit on the land. Some of these laws are just as strangling as EPA types of laws….ever think of that??

    But if something can not get off center after one year….there is definitely something wrong that perpetually (sp) holds thing up for centuries.

    NEPA and all the related EIS laws even hold up public safety tower installs on barren laws at times….think that is right or a Teabagger attempt???

    Modern day issues are not always about how many projects can be held up…how about applying these laws to all those foreign nations we provide dinero through USAID and other missions with there ag practices….think anything ever could get done???

    Teabagger attempts?? Maybe lackadaisial agency and Gongress critters at the helm of many of these issues currently that are not eveneffective in the offices the hold…suuuure blame it on someone else!!

    Time for Streamlining and sooooon!!

  3. Regarding the Arizona Congressman’s proposed legislation: looks and smells like more Tea Bagger attempts to overturn good environmental protection laws in the name of “public safety”. Instead, why not legislate better laws/rules for building in at-risk areas, and requiring defensible space on the private lands instead of shifting the burden onto our Public Lands? Ah, the joys of an Election Year in the House.


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