Monday, August 01, 2016

Homes near wilderness in Idaho, West complicate firefighting efforts

When Boise resident Pat Telleria saw the wind-driven flames from the Table Rock Fire sweeping across the grass foothills toward his dream home on June 30, he picked up the phone. In the middle of the night, he called 911. “I’m next. It’s coming right at me!’ he told dispatchers. “And they said, ‘You’re out of luck. All the resources are allocated.’” That’s when the wall of fire came at them “and it was humming.” Telleria’s home stands on the edge of the wilderness in a landscape that offers pastoral serenity but is also susceptible to wildfires. Some 44 million homes have been built in similar areas of the Lower 48 states, making the properties expensive to protect from flames and draining resources that might otherwise be used to defend forests, rangeland and wildlife habitat. “I fly back and forth across the country and I see it,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the nation’s top wildfire managers during a meeting in May at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. “We should be holding these people accountable, and we’re not.” Most of the homes have been erected in recent decades. More examples can be found in Santa Clarita, Calif., where a wildfire in mountains north of Los Angeles recently forced 20,000 people from their homes. Most residents were cleared to return on Tuesday, but the flames kept burning in the rugged terrain where many houses are tucked into canyon lands...more 


These articles are always about the evil humans, and how they and their homes are responsible for killing firefighters, busting the budget and other transgressions. 

I say they are looking at this bass akwards.  Instead focus on the wilderness - and moving it back from the settlements.  No more endangering firefighters, busting the budget or "complicating" things.  And the resulting products could be sold to replenish budgets and benefit the public.

“I fly back and forth across the country and I see it,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the nation’s top wildfire managers during a meeting in May at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. “We should be holding these people accountable, and we’re not.” 

She's also got it bass akwards.  Quit flying back and forth, and instead, stay at home and make yourself and the other administrators accountable for years of mismanaging the forests.


8 comments:

Dave Pickel said...

Build your house in a floodplain and sooner or later it’s going to flood. Build your house in a tinderbox and sooner or later it’s going to burn. At some point, much like flood insurance, insurance will be sky high discouraging development in hazardous areas. The free market in action Frank!

In the meantime, I’ve lost too many friends fighting wildland fire and in no case was it worth it. Your comments I still don’t understand after reading them several times. In any case, you are the one who seems to have things ass-backwards.

Anonymous said...

Fourteen years ago, Cliff Nichols drafted and delivered a Petition to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman on the behalf of over 100 New Mexico legislators and other dignitaries.

It's purpose was to present their plea to remove overgrowth conditions in federal forests to protect the lives and property of its citizens from catastrophic wildfires.

For Petition, SEE: http://www.cnicholslaw.com/new-mexico-wildfire-prevention-p…

On January 6, 2003 the Petition was printed in its entirety on a full-page in The Washington Times, together with the names of all those New Mexico officials and dignitaries who endorsed it.

On that same day, one of those dignitaries was in Washington, D.C. for meetings with, among others, the Chief of the US. Forest Service. Afterwards, he wrote Mr. Nichols to say:

"What a remarkable coincidence that [the Petition} came out the day we arrived in D.C. I can guarantee the entire hill was a-buzz over it. ... You could almost hear the whispers of conversations as we moved through rooms being tracked by eyes, "They are from New Mexico and signers of the Petition." It allowed us to explain our problems and point out the benefits of what was done. Not one person went away with a negative attitude. Thanks for a very memorable trip to D.C."

Several months later President Bush signed into law the Forest Restoration Act of 2003.

Coincidence? Perhaps ... but then again ... perhaps not. What is undeniable, however, is that the stated purpose of President Bush's Act's almost exactly mirrors that of New Mexico's Petition:

"To improve the capacity of the Secretary of Agriculture [Ann Veneman] ... to conduct hazardous fuels reduction projects on National Forest System lands ... aimed at protecting communities, watersheds, and certain other at-risk lands from catastrophic wildfire, [and] to enhance efforts to protect watersheds ..."

Soon after enactment of the President's Forest Restoration Act, THE SIERRA CLUB, inter alia, successfully brought suit in the 9th Circuit and stopped its full implementation.

Catastrophic wildfires in the West continue to this day.

THANK YOU, SIERRA CLUB.

Cliff Nichols said...

New Mexico's Catastrophic Wildfire Petition to U;S; Secretary of Agriculture

http://www.cnicholslaw.com/new-mexico-wildfire-prevention-petition-to-the-secretary-of-the-us-department-of-agriculture

Dave Pickel said...

No offense but 'Anonymous' doesn't cut it. You know everyone else's name but we don't know yours. In any case, it's climate change in action.

Gary Thurm said...
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Gary Thurm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary Thurm said...

Dave. You're as oblivious as the few that spew your view. I wish more people know and understand what anonymous knows is truth!

Frank DuBois said...

To Cliff Nichols and Anonymous, thank you for the information provided.

Dave Pickel, I agree with you on the insurance, and it is already happening. See, for instance, http://www.theunion.com/news/15934224-113/wildfire-risks-continue-to-affect-home-insurance#

The rest of your comments are a quandary. You say "Your comments I still don’t understand after reading them several times" and that I am the one "who seems to have things ass-backwards." If you didn't understand my comments, how did you determine they were ass-backards?