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Thread: Feds failed to clear brush in LA wildfire area

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    Default Feds failed to clear brush in LA wildfire area

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090902/...escribed_burns

    LOS ANGELES Federal authorities failed to follow through on plans earlier this year to burn away highly flammable brush in a forest on the edge of Los Angeles to avoid the very kind of wildfire now raging there, The Associated Press has learned.

    The U.S. Forest Service said that months before the huge blaze erupted, it obtained permits to burn away the undergrowth on more than 1,700 acres of the Angeles National Forest. But just 193 acres had been cleared by the time the fire broke out, the agency said.

    The agency defended its efforts, saying weather, wind and environmental rules tightly limit how often these "prescribed burns" can be conducted.

    Also, Forest Service resource officer Steve Bear said crews using machinery and hand tools managed to trim 5,000 acres in the forest this year before the money ran out.

    Could more have been done to clear tinder-dry hillsides and canyons?

    "We don't necessarily disagree with that," Bear said. "We weren't able to complete what we wanted to do."

    Some critics suggested that protests from environmentalists contributed to the disaster, which came after the brush was allowed to build up for as much as 40 years.

    "This brush was ready to explode," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, whose district overlaps the forest. "The environmentalists have gone to the extreme to prevent controlled burns, and as a result we have this catastrophe today."

    Prescribed burns are intended to protect homes and lives by eliminating fuel that can cause explosive wildfires. The wildfire that has blackened 140,000 acres or nearly 219 square miles in the forest over the past week has been fed by the kind of tinder-dry vegetation that prescribed burns are designed to safely devour.

    The blaze has destroyed more than five dozen homes, killed two firefighters and forced thousands of people to flee. Firefighters reported modest progress Wednesday as investigators said the blaze was human-caused, though it was not clear exactly how the fire started or whether it was accidental or arson.

    Figures from the California's South Coast Air Quality Management District suggested even less was protectively burned. The agency said it granted seven permits sought by the Forest Service to conduct prescribed burns on 2,748 acres in the forest this year. The agency reviews such requests to ensure air quality in the often-smoggy Los Angeles area will not be worsened by smoke from intentional fires. But records show only 12.8 acres burned.

    Four of the permits, totaling 1,257 acres, were granted in areas involved in the wildfire, according to the air quality agency.

    But the Forest Service disputed those figures. Bear said the plan was to burn 1,748 acres, and 193 were cleared.

    Government firefighters set thousands of blazes each year to reduce the wildfire risk in overgrown forests and grasslands around the nation. Prescribed burns can also improve overall forest health and increase forage for wildlife.

    Obtaining the necessary permits is a complicated process, and such efforts often draw protests from environmentalists.

    Calls to the Sierra Club for comment were not immediately returned.

    Setting pre-emptive fires can be especially risky near heavily populated urban areas like Los Angeles because of the danger of flames burning out of control. Last month, a 90-acre prescribed burn near Foresta, on the edge of Yosemite National Park, jumped fire lines and consumed more than 7 square miles in the park.

    On Tuesday, Angeles National Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron defended his employees' efforts to reduce the fire risk. "The Angeles Forest has been pretty aggressive about implementing fuels-reduction projects with the funds we are given," she said.

    Los Angeles fire Capt. Steve Ruda said that pre-emptive fires were used more frequently in the region in the 1980s. But a growing backcountry population and increasingly complicated environmental rules have made them less frequent.

    Conducting a prescribed burn requires a detailed study of wind, terrain, temperature and humidity and reviews by a host of government entities, including air-quality regulators.

    Max Moritz, co-director of the Center for Fire Research and Outreach at the University of California at Berkeley, said there is wide discussion about the need to do more prescribed burns to reduce the fire hazard. But "you have this difficult needle you have to thread to find the right place, the right conditions, to pull it off," Moritz said.

    Ultimately, he said, the answer is to stop building in fire-prone areas instead of spending huge sums on firefighting.

    Steve Brink, a vice president with the California Forestry Association, an industry group, said as many as 8 million acres of national forest in California are overgrown and at risk of wildfire. He said that too few days provide the conditions necessary for larger, prescribed burns and that the Forest Service needs to speed up programs to thin forests, largely by machine.

    "Special interest groups that don't want them to do it have appeals and litigation through the courts to stall or stop any project they wish. Consequently, the Forest Service is not able to put a dent in the problem," Brink said.

  2. #2
    Administrator Bill Cosby's Avatar
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    Living here on the left coast this is an issue I hear & experience a lot.;..

    What are your thoughts on dealing w/ this issue???
    We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions.
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    Senior Member Smurf-Herder's Avatar
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    I've been hearing this every time there have been major California fires for the past few years. It's always because they never clear the brush; and they always keep bringing the same reason up. Why isn't anybody learning from this?
    "I am not a number. I am a free man!"

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Cosby
    Living here on the left coast this is an issue I hear & experience a lot.;..

    What are your thoughts on dealing w/ this issue???

    Somehow Hog or SC will blame it on Obama.

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    Administrator Bill Cosby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf-Herder
    I've been hearing this every time there have been major California fires for the past few years. It's always because they never clear the brush; and they always keep bringing the same reason up. Why isn't anybody learning from this?
    What are they to learn???? That is what I am asking....

    The forest can not be cut..... problem!!!

    The forest can not be cleared. problem!!!

    This is a natural phenomena that they are trying to prevent...

    By hindering/preventing fire they only make the situation worse next time around as there is a lot more to burn.... It will burn, it is only a matter of time...

    They let yellowstone burn & ppl still complain about it...
    We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions.
    Howard Zinn

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

    Louis D. Brandeis

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Cosby
    Living here on the left coast this is an issue I hear & experience a lot.;..

    What are your thoughts on dealing w/ this issue???
    Loosen restrictions on permits and allow them to burn what they need to burn and also as the article states "the answer is to stop building in fire-prone areas instead of spending huge sums on firefighting." There's too much fucking red tape and special interest interference. Let them do what they need to do to prevent the entire state from ending up in flames. Its only going to get worse because even after this they'll still do everything to prevent them. ITS NOT DEFORESTATION! ITS A PREVENTATIVE MEASURE! My God they couldn't even complete 20% of the burns necessary.

    If you don't like these controlled burns then I hope you love 140,000 acres of wildfire instead of 1,700 acres of prescribed burns.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen
    Loosen restrictions on permits and allow them to burn what they need to burn and also as the article states "the answer is to stop building in fire-prone areas instead of spending huge sums on firefighting." There's too much fucking red tape and special interest interference. Let them do what they need to do to prevent the entire state from ending up in flames. Its only going to get worse because even after this they'll still do everything to prevent them. ITS NOT DEFORESTATION! ITS A PREVENTATIVE MEASURE! My God they couldn't even complete 20% of the burns necessary.

    If you don't like these controlled burns then I hope you love 140,000 acres of wildfire instead of 1,700 acres of prescribed burns.
    It is a simple appetizer of what is in store for California politicians when they pay the ultimate price for all their misdeeds.
    The Shadow Party derives its power from its ability to raise huge sums of money. By controlling the Democrat purse strings, the Shadow Party can make or break any Democrat candidate by deciding whether or not to fund him. During the 2004 election cycle, the Shadow Party raised more than $300 million for Democrat candidates, prompting one of its operatives, MoveOn PAC director Eli Pariser, to declare, 'Now its our party. We bought it, we own it'

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Cosby
    Living here on the left coast this is an issue I hear & experience a lot.;..

    What are your thoughts on dealing w/ this issue???
    They recently clear cut all the eucalyptus trees in my area. They go up like Roman candles and they're an introduced species.

    I've lived here a LONG time, and the fires in the past 10 years are like nothing I've ever seen before. One of the reasons I moved from my place in San Diego was because I was surrounded by fire for four days in 2003, and my lungs never really recovered from all the shit in the air from the 230 homes that burned in my neighborhood. I can just imagine all the toxic crap in that smoke from burning vinyl and other plastics.

    Managed burns used to help. Money to clear brush would help even more.

  9. #9

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    There is a simple solution.

    Ignore the law and clear the brush away from yoiur house.

    Blame it on vandals/

  10. #10
    Administrator Bill Cosby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen
    Loosen restrictions on permits and allow them to burn what they need to burn and also as the article states "the answer is to stop building in fire-prone areas instead of spending huge sums on firefighting." There's too much fucking red tape and special interest interference. Let them do what they need to do to prevent the entire state from ending up in flames. Its only going to get worse because even after this they'll still do everything to prevent them. ITS NOT DEFORESTATION! ITS A PREVENTATIVE MEASURE! My God they couldn't even complete 20% of the burns necessary.

    If you don't like these controlled burns then I hope you love 140,000 acres of wildfire instead of 1,700 acres of prescribed burns.
    Yep the MISSmanagement is making things much, much worse...

    I have property north of here @ the foothills 25 years ago there were several mills operating there now one. Barely... I was up @ my place there & the smoke was so think it was like looking through watery milk........ Horrible...

    They don't cut so it burns....

    The air quality restrictions here are very, very tough & the state can not exceed many of these mandates w/out penalty.... There are several air zones in Calif & they are measuring it all the time w/ consequences.........

    There is little money for it & not many opportune times to do the burns.......

    How are you on logging??? I am not for clear cut in most cases....

    Also they use prisoners to fight the fires why not to prevent them???
    We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions.
    Howard Zinn

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

    Louis D. Brandeis

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