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.
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Lawsuit halted fire mitigation work in area now burning near Lincoln
Two Lincoln-area wildfires are burning within an area the Forest Service approved for fire mitigation work starting this year, but is currently under federal court injunction.
Now a coalition of groups and individuals will get to weigh in on the court case and urge a federal judge to allow the project to proceed.
Late last summer the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest greenlighted a timber and prescribed burning project called the Stonewall Vegetation Project north and northwest of Lincoln. Within a 24,000-acre project area, the agency approved commercial logging and thinning on 2,100 acres and prescribed fire on 2,700 acres. “It was about creating resilient forest conditions, and part of that being protection for the community of Lincoln,” said Bill Avey, forest supervisor. “There’s fuel loading with high mortality and there’s a history of fire starts in that area that’ve been increasingly hard to catch.”
Earlier this month lightning sparked the Park Creek and Arrastra Creek wildfires in the project area, burning more than 6,000 acres to date and still largely uncontained. Last winter, environmental watchdogs
Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council filed a
lawsuit challenging the project. The groups contended it would
negatively impact elk and grizzly bears while exemptions allowing
logging in Canada lynx habitat were misapplied.With
the first timber sale sold to a contractor, this spring a federal judge
granted a preliminary injunction temporarily halting the project. Judge
Dana Christensen ruled that an injunction only temporarily postpones
the potential benefits of the project and found the risk of fire was not
imminent and did not outweigh the Forest Service’s obligation to follow
the Endangered Species Act...more