Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Drought, policy changes may spark more huge fires
A massive wildfire in the New Mexico wilderness that already is the state's largest blaze ever has grown to nearly 300 square miles as it spreads in all directions, and experts say conditions are ripe this season for similar massive blazes across the West. Persistent drought, climate change and shifts in land use and firefighting strategies mean western states likely will see giant fires that will require hundreds, if not thousands, of firefighters on-site. Other reasons states in the West will see more massive fires this season is because, coupled with drought and dry climate, crews have experienced changes in firefighting strategies and agencies have changed some policies in fighting wildfires in isolated areas, Pyne said. "In the last 20 years or so, agencies have generally been reluctant to put firefighters at risk in remote areas," he said. "It wasn't like that decades ago." Instead, Pyne said agencies have focused attention on burnout operations until conditions are safe to begin containment. Not that those practices and the larges fires are bad things, Pyne said. For example, he said the Gila Wilderness has been a target for controlled burns. "So maybe," Pyne said, "this is how it's supposed to happen."...more