Frank Carroll stirs up Lake Tahoe

“The Forest Service has no authority to let fires burn millions of acres — misappropriating tax dollars and recklessly destroying our natural resources. It’s an inverse condemnation of private property and wanton destruction of public resources, pure and simple.” ~ Frank Carroll

Agitator Frank Carroll, whom Dana Tibbitts with the Nevada Globe refers to as a “Chief Forester,” is an active part of this “discussion” in the Tahoe Basin and in New Mexico and other states, advising forest owners who hire him and assisting people in suing the Forest Service over losses resulting from escaped prescribed fires or managed fires that burned more acreage than Carroll thinks they should have. In her report, Tibbitts quotes anonymous sources to claim that FS Chief Randy Moore’s “Burn Back Better” letter (the annual fire-related “letter of intent”) has “caused a firestorm among firefighters and Forest Service veterans nationwide.”

Some of Tibbitts’ anonymous sources are associated with the “National Wildfire Institute,” founded by Bruce Courtright (retired FS Deputy Chief for Management Improvement) and Michael Rains — who at one time directed the USFS Forest Products Lab. Char Miller in the Los Angeles Times refers to the group as “a suppression-friendly bloc of retired Forest Service officials,” but they don’t seem to have a website or any publicly visible managers or founders besides Rains and Courtright.

Some other more widely respected retired fire experts disagree, and they’ve written here before on this topic, citing the founder of the U.S. Forest Service Gifford Pinchot. “The debate within the agency defies permanent resolution,” writes Char Miller,”not least because deference to political exigencies is baked into the Forest Service’s DNA. For that, we can thank, or blame, Pinchot.”

Miller is a senior fellow of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, and a fellow with the Forest History Society. “In an 1899 article in National Geographic,” he explains, “Pinchot clearly detailed wildfire’s essential role in regenerating forests in the South and mountainous West. But despite this robust ecological evidence, it would be fire’s bad optics that drove his pitch for establishing the Forest Service.” As per the agency’s first manual: “Probably the greatest single benefit derived by the community and the nation from forest reserves is insurance against destruction of property, timber resources, and water supply by fire.”

Opinion: The burning debate — manage forest fires or suppress them?

Carroll and his cohorts, though, claim that the USFS “just gave firefighters license to burn millions of acres of forest and rangelands with zero commitment to putting the fires out.”

Tahoe-Douglas Fire Chief and head of the Northern Nevada Fire Chiefs Association Scott Lindgren said, “The latest forecast and guidance from the Chief is so unhinged from firefighting realities on the ground as to defy rational analysis or practical guidance.”

“It’s caused a firestorm among firefighters and Forest Service veterans nationwide.”  ~ Dana Tibbitts

Fire Chief Scott Lindgren, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District
Fire Chief Scott Lindgren, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District

According to Tibbitts and the Nevada Globe, USFS Regional Foresters are supposedly enacting a new policy now, calling for all fires in the Tahoe Basin to be risk-assessed and monitored by those same Regional Foresters, “who alone would determine the appropriate response to new fire ignitions.”

Chief Lindgren says allowing fires to burn is criminal and claims that allowing fires to burn means the USFS can count those acres as “treated” in burn quotas ordained by administrators in Washington DC. “These are not treated acres,” he says, “they are destroyed acres!”

Frank Carroll says USFS fire commanders and administrators are using firefighter safety as a false flag to justify wildfire use, even at the expense of civilian lives and devastated communities.

“Firefighter safety is an excuse that is neither safe nor supportable — a feature of the persistent failure to build informed consent and to analyze environmental impacts before letting wildfires burn and then expand them on purpose,” Carroll said. “They’re unilaterally implementing giant prescribed wildfires — consequences be damned.”

According to the anti-managed-fire crowd, the Biden-Harris administration’s plan to Burn Back Better is detailed in Confronting the Wildfire Crisis and lays out a 10-year program to treat 20 million acres of National Forest System lands and 30 million acres of other federal, state, tribal, and private lands. Randy Moore Letter of Intent 04/24/24

Randy Moore Letter of Intent 04/24/24 — click to read

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15 thoughts on “Frank Carroll stirs up Lake Tahoe”

  1. The lack of accountability by IMT’s and the recent policies must be factored into the process and that is not happening. The conduct, planning and outcomes of the River Complex, 2022, should be a case study so we can learn and avoid the same mistakes. The current approach is an actual failure on many scales. I get to be on the line and follow up after the fires and there is much to be desired. I don’t want to bore you with actual affects on actual fires that I have worked, but please accept that I speak from experience.

    Without putting a whole lot more into an open process and truthfull learning lessons- the past 10 years burn polices will go down as disaster. The practices before that were not good either, but the current culture is a huge concern. OK the outright lies and bullshit from some teams is probably criminal, but the complaceny of the system is truly scary… Anyone want a lot more info can contact me directly… Be safe out there and keep your head on a swivel. Mark

  2. I’ve read Frank’s opinions about fire management over the years and find them usually lacking in scientific validity and sound judgement,and driven by obsolete management practices. I’m not saying that the USFS hasn’t mismanaged some prescribed and naturally ignited fires; I was assigned to Hermit Peak / Calf Canyon and talked with many residents who were evacuated and suffered losses, and clearly there was enough culpability for a suit against the Forest Service. But as anyone who has studied forest ecology and silviculture and practiced sustainable forest management will attest, the old-school policies of “getting the cut out (high grading)”, and “out by 10am” have created the mess we are faced with now. Some people are just unable to change with the changes brought on by research and technology. My cred, I just retired after 47 years of wildland suppression, done time sale prep and layout for the FS, and have owned and operated a private sustainable tree farm for 38 years.

  3. Kelly, why is it that whenever I post something that you don’t like or disagree with, you either won’t post it or you censor it ?
    Bill would have NEVER done this !

  4. Kelly, why is it that you don’t show or censor my posts simply because you disagree with my comments ?

  5. Kelly, to call Mr Carroll an Agitator is over the top ! What he brings to the table is the TRUTH, many people don’t like the truth but it’s still the truth !
    I have been saying the same thing for years as he has because we have seen it in action, simple as that. The USFS has failed in its management of OUR lands and needs to be replaced with a National Fire Agency, one that allows true management of our lands through use of mitigation, active planned prescription fires and Timber harvesting. They have run away from these tools because of treehugger lawsuits and turned to using the falsehood of firefighter safety and the use of backburns, backfires of miles of green and thousands of acres , millions of taxpayers money , to manage control of these “mega fires”.
    When these fires burn through two or three or four major rainstorms and suddenly continue to burn , well that’s just plain odd don’t you think ?
    I want to state here and now it’s not the Fed FF’s causing this destruction, it’s the failed policies and management direction in not allowing their FF’s to do their jobs, simple as that.
    Again, to call Mr Carroll an “agitator” simply because you don’t like him is wrong , period. All he is doing is representing folks that have incurred damages caused by these failed policies and pour inexperienced managers of the USFS, because these folks have no where else to turn.
    I speak from 32 years of wildland experience and being a past member of the WFLC.

        1. There’s a difference, Jody, between using pseudonyms and using fake names, emails, and someone else’s computer in order to crawl in here and leave comments after being blocked from the site. Frank had about a dozen — till two days ago. He’s probably got a couple more now.

          Here’s an old comment on commenting from Bill Gabbert, his reply to someone who bitched about having her comment deleted:
          Bill's comment on commenting

    1. Mellie used to pretend to be herself in comments on TheySaid and we all thought that was pretty weird. Frank’s apparently had at least 8 fake names here — and was blocked repeatedly by Bill Gabbert before I showed up. 32 years of experience, eh “Jim”? And did you like Frank retire as a GS-6 after all that experience?

  6. Homeowners in the interface who are dropped by their insurance companies have about zero to do with some freelancer GS-6 guy who didn’t even go to law school helping people sue the federal government for a fire that didn’t even burn any homes, Jim. Which simple grass fire are you remembering?

    I realize in the USA we sue anybody for anything at any time, but Carroll’s actions to rally timber owners and anti-government local residents after a fire are less than ethical.

  7. Yes……finally. Suppression has been sooooo successful at saving forests and communities until science and ecology entered land management policy. Let’s double down with technology and force. Nature will surely submit.

  8. Finally, a rational point made!!!
    Add in the insurance companies dropping most CA for policies and yes it is a crime. Committed by the largest firefighting organization in the U.S. when a simple grass fire gets out of control. Especially when millions of dollars of forest management money went elsewhere (Trestle Project). Where do I sign up for the lawsuit?


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