Yesterday two US Congressmen, Tom McClintock (CA-04) and Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), introduced legislation directing the U.S. Forest Service to immediately suppress wildfires on National Forest System.
H.R. 6903 requires that “to the extent practicable, use all available resources to carry out wildfire suppression with the purpose of extinguishing wildfires detected on National Forest System lands not later than 24 hours after such a wildfire is detected.”
It further states, the Forest Service “may only use fire as a resource management tool if the fire is a prescribed fire that complies with applicable law and regulations; and may only initiate a backfire or burnout during a wildfire by order of the responsible incident commander.”
It does not stop there. If a wildfire is used as a resource management tool or if a backfire or burnout was not authorized by the incident commander, the bill stipulates that “any person aggrieved by a violation [of those two requirements] may bring a civil action against the United States…”
There have been a number of fires in the last couple of years that received a lot of criticism for a lack of suppressing them or for adopting a strategy of back off and burn out thousands of acres rather than construct direct fire line.
The most notorious initially unattacked fire recently was the Tamarack Fire near Markleeville, CA. It started as a single tree on July 4, 2021 and was monitored but not suppressed for 13 days while it was very small until it suddenly grew very large. It burned at least 15 structures and more than 67,000 acres as it ran from California into Nevada jumping Highway 395 and prompting the evacuation of 2,000 people.
In a Congressional committee hearing September 29, 2021 Randy Moore the new Chief of the U.S. Forest Service was asked several questions by Rep. LaMalfa, including about the Tamarack Fire. The Chief said that after the fire started the Forest Service “spiked out a small crew to monitor” the fire. If that was the case, they apparently took no action, because the USFS reported on July 10 that it was 0.25 acre, they were not going to insert crews due to safety concerns, and it “posed no threat to the public, infrastructure, or resource values.” The Chief gave grossly incorrect information about the number of fire personnel that were assigned to fires at that time and the number of large uncontained fires, in both cases inflating the numbers by factors of three or four. That appeared to be justification for not attacking the fire — a shortage of firefighters. However, a quarter-acre fire would only need a handful of personnel for a day or two. On July 23 the incident reported that 1,353 personnel were assigned.
Rep. LaMalfa tried to get the Chief to say the Forest Service is committed to aggressive initial attack on new fires, but he preferred to use the term “aggressive forest management.” (He later said that they already do aggressive initial attack.)
If the name Tom McClintock sounds familiar, he was the Representative who when asked about the difficulties in recruiting and retaining wildland firefighters last July, said,”Wildfire firefighting is hot, miserable work, but it is not skilled labor.”
“Fire science is not rocket science—it’s way more complicated.” Robert Essenhigh, Professor Emeritus, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Ohio State University.
It is possible to manage a fire while not suppressing it, but is extremely difficult to do successfully. It takes smart, very experienced firefighters who are able to play the “what if” game, as firefighting legend Rick Gale used to say. You have to anticipate what COULD happen, and have a plan in your pocket for how to mitigate it before or after it happens, without significant unpleasant repercussions. I never heard him use the term, but in other words, consider the second and third order effects.
I have heard people say that we have too much fuel because fires have been suppressed, so this means we should greatly ramp up the use of less than full suppression fires. Many of those folks do not have a complete understanding of the full complexities.
As a member of an interagency incident management team whose sole duty was to manage less than full suppression wildfires, I learned that it is extremely difficult to allow a wildfire to successfully burn for weeks or months with little or no suppression. It requires highly skilled and long-experienced firefighters in key positions to make it work. Another ingredient that is necessary, which can’t be entered on a Resource Request, is luck. All it takes is one or two days of very strong winds and you can find yourself in a nightmare scenario. A less than full suppression fire which goes on for months will probably encounter at least one wind event. After the fire quadruples in size, changing the strategy to suppression is not a situation an Agency Administrator wants to find themselves in.
Selecting this strategy at the beginning or even the middle of the fire season is, to put it bluntly in clear text, stupid. Especially when the fuels are extremely dry. It would make more sense four to six weeks before the average date of a Season Ending Event brought on by heavy rain or snow. However as we have seen in recent years, “average” conditions are not a sure thing.
Prescribed fire — Yes
While encouraging widespread use of less than full suppression fires is not the the best solution, we can and should, greatly increase the use of prescribed fire. To pick a number out of the air, escalate it by a factor of 10. And, let’s be careful about igniting large expanses of grass or prairie just to hit a number where you can burn for $5 an acre. Make it meaningful, where it is needed.
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85 thoughts on “Bill introduced to require suppression of all US Forest Service fires”
Although, over the years, whether called pnf, wfurb, managed wildfire, or whatever the latest policy calls it, the large majority of these fires have been managed successfully, especially in wilderness. Some do escape, but that no more makes the program a failure than fires that escape initial attack and turn into multi million dollar wildfires mean that suppression is a failed policy, or even a guarantee of success, as this bill seems to imply. I would certainly agree that the fires need committed and highly trained staff to manage them for the long haul, and it is not without difficulties. And while I strongly agree that more prescribed fire is needed, I don’t see how prescribed fire can replace natural fire and its myriad of effects in wilderness, especially if the prescribed fire is going to be a box and burn out operation to get it over with quickly. To say nothing of complying with the letter and spirit of wilderness law, policies, and practices followed by the various agencies, such as the “untrammeled” part.
I hope this Bil passes. It’s been my observation that too many fires have been allowed to burn, then escape and become monster fires, destroying forest lands and homes. Please put fires out while they are small.
Is it time to make helitack great again? Is there any real reason why Helitack crews shouldn’t be expanded and improved? You don’t have to jump out of an airplane to aggressively IA a fire in remote country. Helitack modules are really capable of delivering AND picking up personel and gear…AND drop water!! Why should helitack modules be Heli-Slugs and Smokejumpers be called seals, special forces etc? I really don’t understand why the two programs are so different, except helitack gets sucked into helibasing these campaign fires and the personel degrade physically and spiritually. Add more training, quals and staffing to helitack and bring back rappelling to R-5. I know maybe I’m speaking to the choir. I spent 1 season on helitack and saw a very underused resource.
When comparing helitack to Smoke Jumpers the difference is the cost of the aircraft, the number of people that can be delivered, and the flight range of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. There is an application for both platforms.
If the bill passes we will only be kicking the can down the road making fires worse. It will slow the ability of firefighters to make decisions on the ground regarding backfiring and burnout operations.
You did not suppress the fire in Berry Creek, you did not suppress the fire at Pulga, you did not suppress the fire in La Plumas and you did not suppress the fire at Mt. Lassen. California lost 2.5 million acres to fire last year alone.
Old saying: just because you have a dollar in your pocket and a tree growing in your backyard doesn’t mean you know how to manage a forest.”
Mr Mangan is a much better person and Fire manager than I ever was. I appreciate his take on this topic.
I have an old saying as well. It’s a bit more crude though.
“Opinions are like A-holes; everybody’s got one”.
Wildland Fire Managrment, to include suppression, rx Fire and managing fires for resource or ecological benefits (or a combo of all at the same time ) whatever you want to call it, is at this time in our history more complex than ever before due to changes in climate, results of human activities and population growth, (add your issue(s) here).
1. There have been, are, and will be those skilled persons/organizations who are adept at managing Wildland fire across landscapes. Some of you have responded on this forum. You were good at what you did. I thank you.
2. Although I am now retired and out of the game I still follow it closely. For the last 10 years I’ve heard every year how “we’ve never seen fire behavior like this year!” Indeed, I am blown away by the fires that I see and think how they compare to the fires I saw from 1979-2013. Something(s) are going on to cause this. It takes years to become an experienced Wildland firefighter/manager. It will take years to figure this out as well. And gain that necessary experience to manage these new age Wildland fires.
3. This is my humble opinion (another A-hole) – some bulls£!t bill in congress from some guy who never walked the walk and is only posturing to his constituents telling us we gotta suppress every single fire that starts every time is just that — BULLS£!t!!
I’ve seen 40-60 start days in the Modoc country in one 24 hour period. How ya gonna make that happen dude!!
Are ICT4’s going to jail if they don’t make it happen? That’s kinda like teachers going to jail for having the wrong books in their personal libraries at school.
Sorry, not sorry, for the rant.
Let’s get real on these bills from gubmint.
Let’s support folks responsible for Wildland fires these days. There’s enuff division out there. Take this for what it’s worth. An old man’s opinion.
Well hello Mr. Kerr glad to see you’re still alive and kicking. My thoughts are that when people abuse a privilege they often lose the right to practice, and that’s how I see it. This isn’t Florida you don’t have the god given right to burn your neighbours land (like they ever did)! Even the appearance of malfeasance you’ll get a negative response, and there is that appearance here hence the response. Let it burn or any semblance of that practice is a form of absent responsibility within agencies which is all to common in our age. As you know I have been a proponent of responsible prescribed burning that achieves measurable goals, that all parties agree on. It seems to me that there is a disagreement regarding the results. When leading it’s always good to stop and turn around to see if anyone is following, not sure that has been recently done.
First I wanted to say I understand how people feel at the loss of lives, property and damage to the environment. But if you look at how the forest got to the point has been to too many trees in the forest small sick trees. From lack of thinning, and not letting the forest floor be Cleaned by fire. Many trees need fire as part of the circle of life. Pine trees need fire to open pine cones to release seeds. USFS needs backing to manage the forest better. The public needs a lot more education, and understanding of how to live with fire.
We will do just as much damage to the forest if there is no fire. Sick tress die to bugs, sick tress carry fire into the canopie and away from the ground. Sick tress creat mega fires.
In the areas where people property are involved yes active suppression.
There has to be room for managed fire and Rx burns.
A problem that is the situation of the forest floor started when the white man though they could do a better job handling fire than the Native Americans could. Look at where that got us!!
Over populated forest of green trees and dead insect infestations across all areas of California. Not an expert but spent a good portion of my life living amongst the forest. There is an insurmountable amount of work that needs to be done yesterday! The talk has value but more action need to take place. Leave the what to do to the agencies responsible for creating the best practices to accomplish the plan and give the needed tools to those responsible for doing the work and get started.
Yes–the saying on my old hotshot crew (Arrowhead–NPS–which you will have some familiarity with) was “opinions are like assholes–everyone has one and they all stink.” Sorry for the old hotshot retort. I am with you. Some idiot in government playing to their base and not acknowledging the complexity of fire. What part of “fire is a part of the ecosystem” don’t these people understand? No one will be able to put out all fires. We need to make our communities more fire resistant and fire permeable to limit the amount of damage done as the inevitable fires move through. What this idiot doesn’t understand is that even if somehow all fires were suppressed–extreme winds and dry fuels can overwhelm suppression forces.
Also–a comment on wildland firefighters as just unskilled labor—the 5th definition of a hotshot is being “a subhuman superhuman”. Unskilled–I don’t think so.
Right on Ken. I yoo am tired of arm chair firefighters who have never seen 100 foot flames coming right at them. indeed a stupid bill with no firefighter peer review!
Does this bill provide funding for the additional resources needed to meet the 24hr mandate? This bill is just political posturing. Not that this legislation is going anywhere while the D’s are in the majority.
Seriously? I mean the disconnect in this bill is scary for us boots on the ground. Incredible.
The bill is election year grandstanding. Pandering to a small but loud subset of his core supporters.
A question for the experienced FFs and managers on here: Have there ever been any trainings on how to conduct a “managed” wildfire? Complete with instruction on using pre existing lines and the shoulders of fire seasons? Or has this always been something that was just asked of managers who engage primarily in suppression?
Yes, there was training. I was a fire use manager in Yosemite and in Alaska. We did manage fires successfully with less than a 100% suppression strategy.
It’s assimilated knowledge based on years of firefighting experience. Characterized by a multitude of skills, a fine recognition of fire behavior, current and historical weather patterns , seasonal trends, shortening of days with reduced burning periods and less solar insolation, and understanding topographical features and the historical context of fire suppression activities in the specific area. These are just a few of the major components of fire skills necessary to make informed decisions about managing fire and certainly political climate, jurisdictional responsibilities, and physical attributes of surrounding fuels are not secondary and also factor in with a myriad of other considerations. These are skills acquired over the course of many years fighting fire, analyzing situations, and leading complex teams with a variety of specialized functions.
Manko Park’s post here is–in my opinion–the most informed. It takes the skills he mentions to conduct successful “managed” fires. And, given their history, the Forest Service clearly doesn’t not have it. The so called “managed” fires on the Klamath N.F. where I live were a big failure and now a third the forest has burned in the last 15 years. Old fire dogs tried to tell them you can’t let fire to just burn in July, August and the hottest parts of summer. But they did anyway. The good news it that they finally saw the light and now officially will not ALLOW them ANYMORE. Here’s the main thing I think most people here are missing. If we don’t start putting out all these fires (in the west) like this bill suggests, then we’re going to burn up all the national forests in the next 30 -50 years. IF WE PUT THESE FIRES OUT. SOME WILL STILL ESCAPE and then you can try to “manage” them, only with more aggressive tactics like night shifts, spike camping, etc. By putting all the new starts out as fast as possible the forests will still eventually burn but IT WILL TAKE MORE TIME, maybe 80 to 100 years. THIS IS THE KEY POINT. BY EXTENDING THE TIME OF THE BURNING THE FORESTS WILL HAVE MORE TIME TO RECOVER. I fought fire for 33 years, 27 as a smokejumper. I have burned all my 40 acres over 3500 burn piles and 13 acres broadcast. Fire does need to be returned to the forest in the west but JUST NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF FIRE SEASON.
You agree with Mankos statement, but your reply really conflicts with it. Putting out every fire small is not really what he’s getting at. The Klamath and the Six River NF are now the two most resilient forests in the state of CA, because fires there have been historically hard to access, and have been able to burn more like nature intended. Many of the forests like the Plumas and the Eldorado, where fires have been IAed as aggressive as possible the last 30 years, are now nuked out because of 50,000 acre a day runs the last few years…look how destructive the Dixi and the Caldor were compared to the McCash fire last year, which was largely an understory burn. The big single day runs are atleast partially attributed to fuel loading and an aggressive IA approach, on the forests that are closer to population centers,over the last 2 decades..To go back to Manko’s point there is not a one solution answer for every fire. Putting every fire out small and calling wildland firefighters unskilled labors, is a clear statement that McClintok does not understand how complicated our jobs are.
I’m not sure what fires the bill is referring to. If it is talking ALL Fires in ALL of the country, then that’s obviously silly. What it should do is focus on certain designated forests in the West. My guess is it doesn’t apply to the entire country. As for your statement about the Klamath being a ‘resilent’ forest. I don’t see that at all. I live there and have for over fifty years. What’s happened on that forest since the Hog Fire in ’77 has been a complete catastrophy. Do you have any idea how many forest plantations they’ve lost? Plantations 20, 30, 50 years old representing hundreds of millions in investment and poss. future revenue. As to some people’s comments about whether the FS COULD catch these fires small. Clearly they could do a hell of a lot better. Check this out: In 2020, the 430 jumpers in the nation only AVERAGED 4 fire jumps. Using the number of 6 per fire that results in only 280 fires jumped. IF THEY HAD JUMPED 10, closer to the old average, they could have put out 700. AND THAT’S 520 fires more. I repeat – 520 MORE FIRES PUT OUT! Think of the savings in dollars, think of the resources that would have been freed up for other fires, think of the reduction in smoke, think of less smoke allowing air resources to work more in August and early Sept. when they’re most needed. Why aren’t jumpers used like they used to be? Most of these fire managers today have a poor understanding of their capabilities. My guess is that few don’t even know they exist. Again, think of the tens of thoussands of acres of plantations lost. If you can’t protect a forest, how can you possibly manage it to any given end?
Again I’m a big advocate of jumpers, I think it’s a great resource, that is underutilized. However it’s naive to think that jumpers would catch every fire they jump. Ask the load of bros that IAed the McCash fire. Furthermore. How many fires in the timber that were multiple acres did you catch without buckets or tankers…when you can’t even get a helicopter on a 10,000 acre fire because they are all on the Dixie or the Monument , how are managers going to prioritize getting aircraft in the wilderness on a jumper fire when it’s PL5…Also having been on fires where a jumpers are injured on landing, everything on the whole fire shuts down while they medivac the injured jumper…A lot of what I have seen the last few years is that’s just not an option, they’re no available air resources, often time there’s no good air to get a ship in.. Jumpers are great, but when fires are routinely going 20,000 acres in the first burn period, 8 guys on the ground without trucks are not going to do much
That’s quite an, ahem, inferential leap from “fires jumped” to “fires put out.”
Sure looks to me like there’s actually been something of a decoupling between “number of fires per year” and “acres burned per year” in the last few years. See e.g. https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information/statistics/wildfires. I’m open to the possibility that we’re not, in fact, completely helpless in the face of a new fire regime and that a more aggressive suppression policy could butter some biscuits, but I’m also not seeing the numerical evidence for this claim yet.
It’s odd that Mother Nature uses her lightning tactics IN THE MIIDLE
OF THE SUMMER. We can’t choose to manage a human caused ignition…so obviously your opinion isn’t based on science but 33 years of extinguishing lightning fire all over Alaska…and now that you kept natural fires from burning in Alaska the climate change is causing mega fires there as well…I do appreciate the work you did in your career and enjoyed your book. I’m in year 31 of my career and growing tired of the ass kicking we take on all these large fires that escape initial attack…the legislation is short sighted and frankly ridiculous.
Thanks for your comment but this statement seems odd, “We can’t choose to manage a human caused ignition . . . ” Why not? What I’ve seen is the outfit giving up night shifts and spike camps. Thankfully that appears to be going back to using them. But for a long time they didn’t in the areas I’m familiar with. Also, my career was way beyond ’33 years in Alaska.” I fought fire for twenty there and most seasons came to the lower 48 and jumped fires in all 8 western states. Early in my career I fought fire all over California, was on the San Bernadino and went on my big fires there. By the time I bailed on the FS my Red Card list my quals. as Line Scout, Dozer Boss, Crew Boss, and Felling Boss. For the last twenty years I’ve been a lookout for the State. I see the starts, I see the response, I saw the Lava fire IA screwed up. And, believe me, many more. The outfit could do better. The Klamath has proven that. It has given up “managed” fire and gone back to stronger IA. That’s in the last five years of so. I’ve seen it. CAl fire has noticed it.
As someone who IAed the lava fire I’m sure it looked much different from your vantage on the lookout. When you have no snow on the top of Mt Shasta in June that’s a watch out. As far as botched IA, you had most the hotshot crews in NOPS and many strike teams of engines working 18 hour days trying to catch that thing…Theres nothing that can be done when your tied into a lava flow 200 yds wide, and the fire spots over it or burns under it..As far as Cal-fire knows…they really don’t, they are good at IA because they have 10X the resources for their proportion of land being payed 3x as much. They practically have engine stationed 20 minutes from any possible start in their DPA…It’s apples to oranges. Is McClintok willing to vote on the proper funding to support the Feds to ramp up their workforce to engage in the aggressive IA that he’s calling for, probably not, since he is doesn’t even agree that federal firefighters should be payed atleast as much as Starbucks baristas..
Okay, you were there but it doesn’t sound like you were there on the first day. The story I got from those who were there that first day is that the IA was botched. Even the district FMO–to his credit–apologized for what he saw as a screw-up. And this sentence: “you had most the hotshot crews in NOPS and many strike teams of engines working 18 hour days trying to catch that thing…” if I’m not mistaken, that had to be later, not the first day, maybe by the end of the seond. By then it was too late and too little. I talked with people that were there on the IA. I just don’t sit on a lookout and make judgements without doing some checking. Isn’t it true that crews left the scene when the fire was only contained? That’s what I was told. I’ve never heard of fires being abandoned when only contained. Especially in a wind tunnel like there round Weed.
Great job, Murry. Stay with it, we will prevail.
I agree with Manko’s assessment, which also includes solid risk informed decision making tiering to the LRMP and an Agency Administrator that is going to support you. There are a number of analytics these days and personnel with the skill set to help inform your strategies and tactics, https://wfmrda.nwcg.gov/.
This link is just one of many to help in decision making.
This Bill is pure nonsense and we all know it, it will never make it into law.
Changes are indeed needed, managers need to be held accountable for their decisions, during periods of draw down and very high fire danger the last thing we need our managers doing is managing for resource benefit.
We still should have the discretions to manage fires, it just makes sense, a fire in Sept in the middle of the Frank Church does not need full suppression.
The feds would do well to take a page from Cal Fires play book when it come to IA, no one on the planet does it better, no one…..I used to think that the feds were great at extended attack and the CDF great at IA, not sure the feds are any longer great…..to many internal issues….
It’s easy to develop some set criteria for IA and follow it, that is certainly not rocket science, for the most part these criteria’s are in place already, just follow them…..
Where’s all the fall out for some of these past decisions, really where……I think we all know…..folks that lost their homes on the Tamarak fire have not forgotten…..
Here, HERE !!!!!
We can file this into the category of raking the forest floor.
There is no one size fits all model. Each fire is unique, and has it’s own set of challenges. WUI, intermix. Terrain, weather, time of year, fuel loading, fuels conditions, resources or the lack there of, ect.
We no longer have the 10am rule for a reason, but the pendulum has swung too far on non management management, and managing for the esthetic for political gains.
Budgets have been decimated for suppression and other programs of work have suffered due to that lack of important collaborative management.
Where does the answer lay?
I make no claims to know, but clearly the problems are many.
Money for treatments, personnel, equipment and study isnt going to stop any fire. These are nearly tools of the trade.
Out side of glaciers and oceans,
skilled people with experienced leadership, and yes LUCK make the difference.
Its OTHER than full suppression, not less. Words matter, as McStupid learned last summer while offering his opinion of our work.
I think a portion of this bill will be beneficial. back burns and burnouts have been used improperly in recent years. I’ve seen far too many dead fires come back to life due to an unnecessary back burn. In turn torching thousands of acres and nuking the whole plot not forgetting the many structures that unfortunately were in it’s path. I think much of the science and planning has gone out the window during active forest fires. Back burning takes a lot of liability off of those burning because it’s considered an “active wildfire” verses a prescribed burn where more repercussions are taken if things get out of hand.
Even after Randy Moore declared we stop “managing” fires last summer that was just political rhetoric as well. There simply weren’t the bodies to implement that order.
Often a lot of the problems with Blackburn’s or managed fire is because experienced Wildland firefighters are hard to come by. Now we have municipal and other cooperators acting in leadership roles they are not experienced enough to perform.
I see it more and more every year. Improving pay and working conditions for federal wildland firefighters, incentivizing qualifications and experience, family support, and other improvements are the only way to begin to move forward.
Agree here with Ben. While all you old timers debate the merits of managed fire, the stark realities on the ground in the last few years has been a paucity of resources for everything from initial attack to Type 1 and 2 fires threatening communities. We literally would get every DIVS or TFLD UTFed on team fires. Though it’s difficult to gather the full statistic, this year’s vacancies across the Forest Service, (over 50% of the federal wildland workforce) are reaching catastrophic levels. Take a look at the outreaches, we are missing key middle leadership from AFMOs to Asst. Captains and handcrew leaders across the country. This will impact our ability to suppress, manage, conduct fuels treatments with all this new money and though I hope not likely lead to more accidents and fatalities. Take a look at the continued uptick in entrapments.
We need two workforces, one focused on fuels across the country and one a wildland firefighting force with the most up to date technology and training. We don’t expect structure fire fighters to landscape the city and drop their tools at a moments notice to respond. The reality of the modern complex fireground is it will take outside the box thinking to create a new force ready to protect our communities, water, forests with all the tools in the toolbox. A National Wildland Fire Service? The FS leadership has failed us as firefighters and has failed the citizens by not recognizing the need to revolutionize the workforce. Without recent legislative action and groups like GRFF, their head would still be deep in the sand. THEY are stuck firmly in 2000 when people started to recognize we don’t have the right system in place for what’s coming. We can debate the ecology and merits of managed fire but when we don’t have anyone to staff the fire, it’s a mute point. And a case to our dear smokejumper friend, Hart unfortunately died in a place owned by one of the wealthier families in the US, we had literally burned twice in the last ten years with a “managed fire approach” but due to the pressure of cattle growers, State of NM, BLM and drought they jumped a spot close to a road with obvious ground hazards, to suppress a fire that essentially checked up on its own with some aviation support. We should think long and hard about risk/reward to our young women and men when we start throwing around response strategies that are outside our understanding.
Spot on “National Wildland Fire Service” for USA. The Forest Service is a mess right now. People fleeing for other jobs as fast as they can. No support. Get out if ya can. I am hoping to leave soon for another organization. National Wildland Fire Service might make us feel more connected to the greater good because we sure don’t feel connected now. This is who we are. Whatever. But without the fire organization in the Forest Service?- what is the Forest Service?
I, too, feel that the time has come for a national wildland fire service. Maybe I compartmentalize too much, but I think the wildland community is better served when resources can stay in their lanes. Most wildland resources don’t have the necessary training, gear and experience to lead structure ops, and most structure folks ditto with wildland. Of course when a fire blows through a whole community everyone just jumps in and does whatever needs to be done. But from the management aspect we need to change the way we think. A case in point is what changed in Colorado after the North Fork prescribed fire went wild and burn up structures and killed people. Prior, the Colorado State Forest Service had a responsibility for fire on non-fed land. While many in that agency had some wildland and prescribed experience, the agency itself was more concerned with working with private land owners on things like silviculture, forest yields, harvesting and management for products, and really didn’t want to be in the fire management business. After North Fork, the state took fire out from under them and formed the DFPC, basically a very mini CalFire. And as the old farts on here remember, back in their day most USFS fires were staffed by foresters and seasonal timber and trail crews thrown together on districts and forests. We are in a different reality now with climate warming driving conditions, size and fire behavior never imagined back then. Certainly good forestry and range practices should inform and guide fire management. But running the ops these days requires much more.
I don’t think most structure guys want to work wildland, and I know most wildland guys don’t want to work structure. It’s better to have highly trained ems/structure and highly experienced wildland folks – keep ‘em separate and let specialized folks excel at what they’re great at.
I responded to Manko Park’s post above but want to say more here. I spent a lot of time in fire, thirty-three years, and 27 as a smokejumper–ALL my time was on the line, IA or serious extended attack. I doubt this bill will pass but I wish it would. What it should have specified–and maybe it did–was just the fire problem in the western US. Anything that can wake the Forest Service out of its current comma regarding wildfire would be a good thing. While many claim the FS has serious, AGRESSIVE IA now, all I can say is they should have been around when we actually did. I don’t see any crews hiking at night to new lightning fires anymore. They wait until morning and then often arrive midday and the fire takes off. I’ve worked 20 years on a fire lookout and ofter it takes two days before any action is taken at all. There’s a lot of denial here. Chief Randy Moore’s comment regarding stretched resources is a good example. On the day of the Tamarack Fire there were dozens of smokejumpers available. But none were called and when asked why, the FS all to often uses the same, “it was too dangerous to jump in there.” Some desk person makes the call apparently not knowing that spotters are trained to know if a jump is too dangerous or not. I jumped 27 seasons and I can’t remember ever turning down a fire. The Tamarack fire could have easily been jumped. The real reason a lot of these fires aren’t stopped quickly is the idea that fire needs to be back on the land and I addressed that in the Manko post. If you want an example of TRUE AGGRESSIVE IA, the look up Standing Tall, Making a Difference here on the Wildfire Today feed. I wrote it a couple months ago. Besides saving resources and money, think of the positive effect successful fire suppression would have on the firefighters. Not to mention the FS’s public image, which at this point is in the tank. I talk about this in the piece, some have already read it. If Not, I hope you do.
IN HINDSIGHT don’t you think a basic small hand crew of even moderately skilled FF’s could have IA’d the Tamarack? Availability of safety zones (lots of granite) and tarns in a high-elevation Sierran forest. Very little threat to the FF’s other than having their egos deflated were the fire to escape/blow up. Had last season’s full suppression already been mandated I’m guessing the Tamarack, with an inconsequential reduction of FF resources, would never have become the Tamarack. LR
Hindsight doesn’t really get you anything..I don’t know enough about the tamarack fire specifics, other than we were already in PL 4 when it started, large portions of Northern CA had already been affected by evacuation orders. there were more UTF’ed orders for crews last year than anywhere else. The way we prioritize dispatching resources is life and property first, wilderness fires are last..It’s not just committing a crew or smokejumpers into the back country for a fire it’s committing the helicopter for support…
Well Hell, I guess we’ll just have to have a different view on what smokejumpers are and can do. They were available and could have easily put that Tamarack fire out with the pump and hose they carry in the jumpships. And, they could have easily hiked out. No copters needed for anything. I talk to jumpers all the time. They are so discouraged on how poorly they are utilzed these days. The Seal Team Six of Wildland fire sits on it’s butt way too much, jumping only 4 fires per jumper in either 2000 or 2001. They could have easily jumped three times that many, likely more. As I’ve said before, there’s a big gap between what jumpers can do and what managers think they can do. Besides that, I think the Tamarack fire was purposely allowed to burn for management reasons, citing dangerous conditions. Someone told me that a state crew had hiked in to it but was told to back off, so they did.
Why do we need another bill to make the NPS/FS do what it is suppose to do? Is management so weak that it takes legislation to get things done in the NPS/FS? And if it does pass, who’s going to enforce it? I mean, come on sexual harassment is suppose to be reported in 24 hrs and they can’t even do that and now they want a fire out in 24 hrs…Come on guys! This makes no sense!!!
There’s clearly an erosion of trust here and it’s understandable. I’ve been on managed fires that have gone very well and they were worth the effort, but we don’t hear about those with the same passion as the ones that don’t work out as well.
People love to bag on managed fire when it does not go according to plan..but we all know there is an inherent level of risk in both prescribed and managed fire. We are not going to achieve perfection in this but we can certainly do a better job in choosing which ones are managed and when. To do away with managed fire and suppress everything is not the answer- that’s a knee jerk reaction.
With regards to the bill, wanting us to get permission from the IC to carry out a firing operation is case in point as far as lack of trust goes. How about you provide us clear intent, we can then make decisions within that framework including whether or not to burn.
This isn’t just a FS problem folks.
A concept gaining a lot of traction these days is the POD concept: https://www.fs.usda.gov/rmrs/potential-operational-delineations-pods.
The POD concept includes delineating firesheds across the landscape to define anchor points (i.e., the perimeter of the firesheds where fire is most likely to be successfully controlled), defining the resources at risk within each POD, getting the treatments completed, and for which PODs and under what fire weather conditions wildfire can be managed for ecological benefits. It’s sorta like developing a rough prescribed fire prescription and plan for each fireshed. I wonder how this concept, which is picking up a lot of traction across the west, would fit in with McAhole and LaAhole’s massively ignorant bill?
Ben – this POD concept sounds interesting. Lots of pre-season work and additional continued updates over time to operational possibilities would have to be done I.e. a continual process, but worthwhile nonetheless. We did something similar, albeit much rougher for the North Rim Grand Canyon while I was there (1996-2000). We divided the entire North Rim up into large RX Fire management units for future burning by ground and aerial ignition. We developed prescriptions for many key burn units. When we got natural starts we were able to evaluate conditions for possible management possibilities of these natural starts (at least that’s how my old mind remembers it – others who were there can speak to this as well).
Our knowledge of these large units and tactical possibilities really helped us make it happen. Yes there were gut tightening moments and close calls, but I think overall the management of natural fires on the North Rim was very successful.
I think this POD concept sounds pretty interesting. And with modern day GIS capabilities added should help those managers who recognize benefits of Wildland fire when they can.
Thanks for this hood information.
Ben – read your link to this POD concept for managing fires across landscapes or fire sheds. Very interesting!
While I was at Grand Canyon (1996-2001), we did something similar although much rougher in detail I think. We divided the entire North Rim (NPS area only) up into large RX Fire units with the idea of eventually burning all of them. Fire sheds if you will.
We began developing burn plans and prescriptions for several key burn units. In those years we aggressively worked on burning units. We also had the chance to allow natural ignitions to burn on the North Rim. We used these burn units and prescriptions along with key tactical information in the plans already developed to manage these natural fires. We used the same concepts inside other burn units that had no burn plans but where natural fires ignited. It helped us make more informed go/no-go decisions and keyed us into better tactical decisions.
It was and has been very successful. We’re there tight gut moments? Were there problems? Sure. But overall I’d call it a success. The forests are much more resilient to climate change and Wildland fire.
The POD concept is very interesting to me.
With the use of todays GIS capabilities, snd hood old fashioned ground recon, and some hard work it sure seems like we could make some better informed decisions.
It is amazing how far we depart from the basic concept of “…First, put out the FIRE!”, especially under current conditions, especially in the west.
First, I am a big fan of using wildfire as a conservation tool. But as I have often said in the past two years: NOT NOW. With the current impacts of a changing climate; clogged up forests [forests are more than just trees] due to the lack of maintenance; and an ever-increasing wildland-urban interface, allowing an unplanned ignition to burn “to the next best ridge” for whatever reason, is foolish. For now, using fire as a conservation tool is simply an intellectual argument, and a very dangerous one at that. A much more dominate Prescribed Fire program would sure be nice and get away from an intellectual argument that will not be achieved in my lifetime. The destruction of allowing a unplanned wildfire to burn to the next best ridge, at this point in time, is simply too severe.
Take the Tamarack Fire in Northern California in 2021. It started slowly. There was an available smokejumper crew that could have safely put the fire out in less than 20 acres; some say 10. The Forest Service “monitored” this unplanned ignition for 13 days. About 70,000 acres burned.
Why not simply have a goal — for the foreseeable future – to put out all unplanned wildfires within 24 hours of initial ignition. And use all available resources and strive to pre-position resources better than in the past.
Like the “Call to Action” [rev. 12.2] says:
Large, high intensity wildfires throughout America – especially in the west – have created a National Emergency. The three primary reasons are, with a tie for the top spot:
1. Lack of forest maintenance.
1. The impacts of climate unpredictability
3. The expansion of the Wildland-Urban Interface
47 professionals have contributed to this document. It’s become quite a resource.
Here’s what’s desperately needed [see page 4 of the “Call to Action” (rev. 12.1)]:
1. The concept of “managed wildfire” must be taken off the table for now; no exceptions. Clear, unambiguous direction from the Forest Service Chief’s Office on this matter cannot be overstated. And the direction must be corporately followed.
2. The goal is to put out every fire immediately. Reduce response time by at least 80 percent!
3. Smoke is a killer; please know this. We must keep it to a minimum.
4. More fully utilize smaller, more agile aircraft and helicopters. They come with much less people needed to effectively operate, thereby reducing the COVID-19 risk profile.
5. Use larger aircraft in a more appropriate role; their response time is slower. Keeping our focus on “Top 10 Action” No. 3 is key.
6. Fully utilize smokejumpers and other specialized firefighters to augment Initial Attack.
7. Pre-position resources much better than ever before. The current mantra must be: “strive to be close to the incident, react quickly and put all wildfires out immediately.”
8. Seek added funds for the United States Forest Service. The annual cost is about +$5.3 billion [the +$3 billion or $600 million annually from the Infrastructure Bill is just a start]. To be clear, the Forest Service does not have adequate funding to address the impacts of the historic 2021 year and what is projected to happen in 2022 without significant action by the United States Congress. Again, the lack of forest maintenance over the last 30 years cannot be over-stated.
Why the Forest Service so reluctant to have a Letter of Intent, for example, state the obvious? “…put ‘em all out now until the landscapes are more adaptable to fire as a conservation tool” – is a mystery to me. Easily said; easily done; positive results are immediate. My bias: letting fires burn a bit longer helps accrue “restoration targets.” The problem: “managed fires” can quickly become “escaped fires.” We witnessed this all too much in 2021 and will again in 2022 if changes are not made.
I can assure you the small, cohesive bit of proposed legislation is not simply a political statement. Is it required if the Forest Service would address this situation under the conditions we are facing? Perhaps not. But sometimes one needs a nudge. I salute the proposed legislation and hope it will pass and become the push that is clearly needed. That is, “…First, put out the FIRE!”
If the tamarack fire hadn’t done what it ended up doing, the incalculable result could be much worse than what happened in the event of a natural start in a more adverse location. Lol that’s confusing isn’t it? That’s the rational for it…
This is a very astute comment. One of the best here. Michael worked a long time for the FS, some of it in Washington as an Asst. Chief. This sentence I really like: Why not simply have a goal — for the foreseeable future – to put out all unplanned wildfires within 24 hours of initial ignition. And use all available resources and strive to pre-position resources better than in the past. Yes, FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. Why not try this for five years on a few selected forests. Why not talk to the people on the Rogue River -Siskiyou N.F. and see how it’s worked for them? If, after five years, it seems a bad choice, then stopy doing it. My bet is that if five forests were selected and records kept on money saved, resources saved, and fire staff job satisfaction, this idea would finally get the traction it needs. I have no doubts it could be done. If your fire is not staffed 24 hours after detection, call the jumpers. They’re always there and ready to go.
The response time should be immediate. It is ridiculous that wildfire gurus increase this to anything else. Why is a bill required? There was a time when response to wildfire was immediate. What happened? Do we need a bill to tell us when to brush our teeth? Politicians are using wildfire destruction for political gains. Wildfires should have firefighters on site as soon as possible — like the old days.
So, with regard to the Tamarack fire which is so often mentioned, I am not aware of any report that has been released describing the thinking behind the selection of monitoring to manage the fire, and I’m pretty sure that if such a report had come out, it would have been posted on this excellent blogsite. But it does not appear that the fire was being managed for resource benefits; rather, among the full range of suppression techniques, the monitoring end of the suppression spectrum was selected. Why this was selected can only be conjecture. The fire may have had multiple objectives, and safety seems to be one that is mentioned, but it does not appear that resource benefits was one of them, and therefore this fire should not be held up an an example of a failure with regard to the resource benefit concept. The confusion over how this fire was managed, why, and defining what an aggressive attack would have looked like indicates what a disaster the bill would be if promulgated. Lawyers will have a field day asking an IC in court why five strike teams were ordered rather than six if the fire escapes and causes damages.
The Tamarack started while the Beckwourth and Dixie fire were in full swing…. Resources were being prioritized to those incidents with structure and life threats. The decision to not staff the Tamarack made sense to those managing it in my opinion…
Because everyone will want to get on command and ask if they can slick off 100 yards of line.
Isn’t this the same guy who said we’re unskilled laborers?
Escape fires are a big problem for communities, natural resources, the climate and the air we all breathe. Managed fire is just adding to the problem. Any fire that gets away or is allowed to burn makes the situation worse
Taking action to suppress a fire when it is small is basic. It works a good percent of the time. It limits the damage and frees up resources to deal with other challenges.
Undoubtedly those challenges include forest management, community and resource protection and greatly increased use of controlled burning. Some day maybe even a wiser application of managed fire will evolve.
Until then it is time to put the fire out! Local agencies get it. Volunteer fire departments get it. Farmers, ranchers and the forest industry get it. Every citizen with a shovel or fire extinguisher gets it. It is time for the US Forest Service to get on board with reducing our national fire loss and preparing for the future.
This is a good piece of legislation. Of course it is not perfect. This is a starting point. I hope it passes.
You could not be more wrong
A bill like this one would only deepen the whole we’ve dug that takes away from shoulder/off-season large scale management and prevention. By investing more time/money/resources into suppressing fires basically to the same standard that the 10am policy followed, it’s impossible to take into account all of the different impacts. But almost 100 years later with some revisions, this policy hasn’t served us very well. One thing is for certain and that is that you cannot keep fire ignitions from happening, like one comment mentioned above, if you get a lightning bust in Nor Cal it can easily start 30 fires all spread apart within one day. So it’s preparing our forests for when fire does come into contact that seems like it could be more impactful, fuel-breaks around WUI areas that utilize Rx burns and not just management that is concerned to extinguish fires, or else we will just keep playing catch up. Those are my thoughts from a current grad student with multiple fire seasons who hopes to help the future of this issue.
Oh good lord. That is all we need. Professional politicians substituting their opinions for the knowledge and experience of true Fire and forest management professionals. I guess they think it will get them votes. Little else motivate them anyway.
I know right? They are trying to do the same thing with public education. As I always say, I’m pretty good at knowing how to flush a toilet, but I don’t claim to know how to plumb a house.
I’m pretty sure CAL Fire does this already, seems like they have a great IA track record, never loosing an IA. Not! Ridiculous thinking, putting fires out in the Gila and other similar places, not a one size fits all approach, and yes jumping fires in the Gila is pre-historic. Might work for California, but don’t California the rest of the USFS!
Society is comfortable with wildland fire only when everyone can claim to be its victim. Then, no matter what happens, how many ridiculous decisions or mistakes we make, how damaging or avoidable the impacts are, we’re in the right for responding and trying our best. When we manage fires, we suddenly take full responsibility, both for the fire while its burning and its outcomes. It takes courage to try to manage fires without full suppression, partly because of the lack of support internally but also the risk of withering criticism from ignorant officials and the public. No wonder our forests are in such a dilapidated state, when fire people must take so much personal risk to do what’s right for the land, and there’s really no benefit to them or the FS when the get it right (almost all of the time). I obviously disagree with those who think fire suppression actually works.
F____ Tom McClintock.
Every wildland firefighter.
Now how on Earth are a bunch of unskilled laborers supposed to pull of a feat like that?
Tom McClintock can fall into an idling wood chipper for all I care.
Putting all fires OUT within 24 hours of detection is exactly how we got in this situation of dangerously high fuel loading. There are three guarantees in life: Death, Taxes, and Those Trees are Going to Burn. If you build homes next to the National, State, or County forests your property is at risk of wildfires.
Who do you people work for anyway? Have you forgotten?
Congress started this mess and true to form they will continue it
Me? Who do I work for?? Not politicians or “line officers” or anyone else. I work for my people. I go to bat for them, they watch my 6. It’s a very simple thesis.
Politicians and the like can try to dictate to me but they’re not standing along side me, in the black. I have ways to “mitigate” their absurd edicts and expectations.
Pretty sure this bill is just pandering and will never move out of committee. Just another uninformed congressperson trying to capitalize on a lack of knowledge and high level of fear amongst his constituency. I think suppression/management decisions deserve scrutiny but this takes a punitive approach that thoughtlessly puts even more weight on the shoulders of the already severely overburdened, under-payed, overworked, and under-supported line firefighters who are delegated authority to make these decisions. As an IC on emerging incidents, I have made decisions multiple time to not engage when the risk to firefighter safety was too high or the conditions simply did not allow for a high probability of success. I have been on the receiving end of criticism in communities who assumed these decisions were for “resource management.” I get it. Fire is destructive and unpredictable and scared ignorant people with a lot to lose want someone to blame…That said, I’ll always make the decision that assumes the highest probability of success and the most reasonable risk to firefighter lives. I’d rather see 100,000 acres burn and 500 hundred houses disappear than lose another friend or peer. If someone wants to assume that is “managed fire” and try and take me to court they’ll either lose me (and a lot of others) as federal firefighters or we’ll keep making good decisions regardless of what their “policy” says…
Disappointing, but not surprising, to see politicians trying to take another tool away from firefighters at the very time they need every tool in the toolbox. Its even more disappointing to see support on this forum to take another tool away from all firefighters despite the success that many areas have had managing wildfires, rather than having productive discussions on how we can improve it in the future. To me, this is no different from arguing to shut down all smokejumping because of some of the bad decisions that have been made in the past. You can put all the lipstick you want on “First…put out the FIRE” and similar proposals, but its still a return to the same failed suppression policies that helped create our current problems.
It seems if politicians want to mandate how fires are handled and then tell homeowners they can sue for civil damages if something bad happens, the same politicians better give all fire agencies from the biggest in the country to the smallest volunteer departments the same equipment, staffing, pay, and training that the largest city departments get. There also needs to be recognition that a fire that starts in the middle of a totally uninhabited forest requires a different sort of management than a fire that starts in the middle of a forested but densely inhabited area. Even with that, you will note that even LA County Fire with resources available on IA that most agencies can only dream of, gets occasional fires that escape suppression in the first burn period.
I am concerned that in the United States we do not pay enough attention to preventing wildfires before they happen:
In Kansas I’d guess that part of the problem today is that some rural areas are overgrown with cedars. Long ago periodic range fires kept cedars under control.
In other areas there is so much dead wood in forests. Long ago I was an exchange student in Germany. I noticed that the forests were kept free of debris. I’ve heard that this lowers fire danger.
Have you heard of any proposals on range management or forest management which could decrease the size and severity of the fires?
I am concerned that in the United States we pay our frontline forestry technicians acting as forefighters so little. A 14th year veteran makes a little more than 20$ an hour.
I am concerned that these forestry technicians acting as wildland firefighters have their backs against the wall with housing, owcp, healthcare, employer relations / union, mounting and overwhelming vacancies with over half the positions available being UNFILLED AND OR LESS THAN 1 YEAR OF FILL.
Yes. Very concerned.
This bill is long overdue; the USFS has been letting fires burn during the middle of fire season in wilderness and other areas in Oregon since I started working here 28 years ago. Anybody in the fire game out here knows it. They played numerous cards as excuses: safety, budgets, resource shortages, risk vs. reward, etc. Sometimes they get lucky and it works, but when it doesn’t lots of damage happens. Their firefighters know how to fight fire, but their hands get tied by the Supervisors all the way up to the head shed in DC. Enough damage has been done and acres of “fuel reduction” wildfires have been accomplished in the last 10-20 years; it is time to go back to full suppression including in wilderness. I am skeptical though that the current congress and Administration will allow this to become law.
I was a FUMA on the Salmon-Challis NF twenty years ago. I managed three fires totaling about 23,000 acres in 2005. I was the only one on the charge code. The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness ecological clock has been reset, much like Yellowstone was renewed in 1988. The ancient 10 am policy is what created the dangerous fuel loading we still have to deal with. We do not want to recreate the same dangerous policy. 2021 was my 46th fire season.
Here’s the first part of the bill, which provides no funding for the personnel required to accomplish what it requires:
“(a) In General.—The Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service—
(A) to the maximum extent practicable—
(i) use all available resources to carry out wildfire suppression with the purpose of extinguishing wildfires detected on National Forest System lands not later than 24 hours after such a wildfire is detected; and
(ii) immediately suppress any prescribed fire that exceeds prescription;”
If this passes we will see a great deal of litigation over the clause ‘to the maximum extent practicable.’
Thank you SunilR – very clear and concise. Vote these out.
Murry Taylor here again. There are so many comments here, some well informed, others not so much. But I’d like to go back ONE MORE TIME to Michael Rains and his comment, “for the foreseeable future.” WHY NOT DESIGNATE FIVE FORESTS IN THE WEST AND TRY IT FOR FIVE YEARS? – This is my suggestion regarding Michael’s comment. And I guess I have to ask, Why hasn’t anyone got back on that. Why isn’t that worth talking about? Why isn’t anyone willing to acknowledge that this might reveal interesting results? The Rogue River – Siskiyou N.F. has moved to a more aggressive IA posture and has proven that it can work. To some extend, so has the Klamath. And, like I said before, you’re still going to get some fires that go big. They consider the “managed” fire tactic. PLENTY OF FIRES WILL STILL BURN EACH SUMMER but most likely fewer enough that when you reach August the crews won’t be exhausted and the skies filled with smoke so that Air Ops can’t work. AGAIN, WHY NOT CHOOSE FIVE FORESTS AND GIVE THIS A TRY?
Public lands managers COULD designate forests or other public lands to once again use a current version of the “10 o’clock” policy to ensure all wildfires are suppressed in as short a time as possible, as small as possible.
Nothing is stopping the USFS, NPS, BLM etc from doing this. Obviously, several USFS areas have decided that this is the appropriate strategy for them at this place in time. They have their reasons. They’ll have to answer to the public for their decisions.
What this article is about, and what we don’t need, is another ill conceived federal law that would mandate from Washington how those same managers would be REQUIRED to deal with wildfires regardless of the fuel characteristics of and management goals of the lands they are responsible for.
Another ill conceived law from Washington that would create the background for punitive actions against firefighters and their leaders should something go wrong when a fire escapes their fire attack or fire management efforts.
An ill conceived and uninformed law that gives no merit to past successes in “managing” naturally caused Wildland fires or prescribed fires in many areas.
Going back to the 10 o’clock policy could possibly be the only short term solution for another Pollack Pines, but it’s no solution for the Gila, the Frank Church, Grand Canyon, Kaibab National Forest. Those places bit the bullet decades ago in trying to get away from the damage of the 10 o’clock policy. Do they still do aggressive IA??
You bet they do when and where they need to. They are fire MANAGERS.
So again. This article is about a bad proposed law that needs to be stopped.
If you want the USFS to designate 5 national forests as IA ONLY or the NEW AND IMPROVED 10 o’clock policy…. Then do it through other means.
We don’t need a law that punishes those managers and units that started dealing with the results of the 10 o’clock policy many years ago.
Respectfully but determinedly
Well said Mr. Kerr, hope you’re enjoying your retirement.
Ken, I really like your comment here and your others as well. FYI, I don’t think this bill has ANY chance of passing. NONE! It’s too simplistic and that’s a shame. Someone else on this thread said, Why wait for legistlation? Just go ahead and get with stronger IA, legistlation be damned. That’s the question, why not just do it? Any bill as vague as this one will (I’m afraid) only cause more problems. My sense is that getting back to something like the 10 AM policy will have to come from each forest individually. Something like the Rogue River – Siskiyou N.F. has done. Some folks, like the Range Tech, commented on here about how much hotter these fires burn now. Yes, we can see that. But that’s MY POINT. Get back to serious IA — put them out in the first 24 hours and they won’t have a chance to become so radical. Also, the use of smokejumpers needs addressed by someone somewhere. Someone must have been listening in N. Cal. because the use of Redding jumpers nearly doubled from 2020 to 2021. All of good people here, hope we’re doing some good. Anyway, I like your comments. Thanks, Murry Taylor
Here, here, Ken Kerr. I managed three fires totaling over 23,000 acres on the Salmon-Challis in the River of No Return Wilderness and I was the only person using that charge code. The ecological clock has been reset as it was in 1988 in Yellowstone. I am surprised some of my fellow smokejumpers from back in the day don’t understand the dynamics of a “Fire dependent” ecosystem. PLEASE, remember all these vegetation types evolved with fire…remember how many lightning fires are started every summer? We used to jump all of those starts and now we have an extremely dangerous buildup of dead and down fuel. This law WILL put us back to the days of adding to the fuel load every year.
As a wildland firefighter in 2022 I’d like to see all those politicians and land managers that mandated the 10am rule held responsible for the position we’re in today. Why would we go back in time?
I feel the same many of the statements are true. Uninformed politicians wanting to make promises. With no knowledge of issues like understaffing, people moving into the forest, not plan on forest management. Full suppression has lead to a sick forest. They talk the green new deal. First educated before knee-jerk reactions.
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