Jackson County Commissioners at Fault for Intense Wildfires?

Jackson County Commissioners at Fault for Intense Wildfires?
Photo: William E. Simpson II

Jackson County Commissioners At Fault For Intense Wildfires? – Cost-Effective Solution To Help Reduce Catastrophic Wildfire And Toxic Smoke Ignored

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Is The Jackson County Commissioners At Fault For Intense Wildfires?

TO: Jackson County Board Of Commissioners

Ashland City Council

RE: Destruction Of The Towns of Phoenix and Talent Oregon; and Past Email Advisories (2016-2019) To This Board About Imminent Wildfire Danger To Ashland, Oregon

September 15, 2020 - Via Email Only

Dear Commissioners:

You have now all witnessed first-hand the devastation that some of us have already endured... myself included when I lost my wife in the Klamathon Fire of 2018.

In past advisories over the last years to this governing body (that has failed to act), I have outlined and detailed how a wind-driven fire would drive wildfire through the town of Ashland, OR.

I know that behind the scenes, some people (legislators and 'let it burn' scientists) scoffed at my predictions in writing, incorrectly believing that suppression could hold back wildfire in improved areas, as opposed to what's been seen in rural and wilderness areas. 

Now the death toll and carnage is being tallied in the villages of Phoenix and Talent, both towns being location in your County and elsewhere in Oregon and California.

The current failed wildfire management and supporting flawed policies, which arguably favor politically and profit oriented solutions, are not properly prioritized in favor of the health, safety and welfare of your constituents and the efficient use of their tax dollars. Average Americans (the backbone of America) are suffering from the loss of genuine leadership and advocacy in their behalf.

And for whatever reason(s), what may be argued as 'gross negligence' may now place your (actions/inaction's) in the realm of 'gross negligence', a place where you lose your 'qualified immunity' from personal liability. It wouldn't be any stretch now to expect that both the County and its managers on a personal level may be facing personal liability litigation in the coming months, given all the facts.

Phoenix And Talent Incinerated

Phoenix and Talent were incinerated by wind-driven wildfire fueled by prodigious grass and brush, which kindled heavier fuels like trees and homes.  If the wind had been from the northwest (typical), Ashland would have arguably suffered total destruction with deaths in the hundreds.

In the case of valley-floor grass and brush fuels, ordinances requiring an herbivory of goats and other such small grazers on public lands (yes, new county/city jobs would be required to herd/mange the wildfire grazers) combined with grass-brush reduction ordinances on both public and private lands, would have according to the best science mitigated the startup and intensity of the wildfires. Had these measures, combined with the use of large-herbivores (wild horses in wilderness lands) been in place, it's likely that the devastation that occurred would have significantly less.

The wind during the Alameda Drive Fire was a southeaster that drove the fire from the north end of Ashland, into the villages north of Ashland (Phoenix and Talent). 

AS this body of Commissioners knows from my emails to you, I predicted a similar scenario for Ashland based on a seasonal wind from the northwest, which in this case, would have driven a devastating wildfire south and through Ashland, OR.

Any honest person knows that the reduction of grass and brush fuels in the landscape reduces both the frequency and intensity of wildfire, AND, I have provided this Board with a cost-effective plan (virtually free) for reducing said fuels in the rough terrain of the local mountains, where-from intense wildfires have already threatened Ashland and Medford Oregon.

So far, this Board has done nothing in regard to correcting the ecological imbalance and thereby improving the local native species (wild horses and deer) herbivory in order to accomplish this important first (and free) step.

Wildfires Are Growing More Intense

"As we all have seen, wildfires are growing more frequent and more intense, resulting in carnage of a level equivalent to nuclear war. And the ongoing wildfire train wreck surely proves that the current wildfire, wildland and wildlife management policies (and underlying obsolete science) are a FAIL.

The serious adverse impact from these unparalleled and now annual intense wildfires is hammering our already struggling state and national economies, which was already on the rocks from Covid-19, with winter coming and a potential second coronavirus spike coupled with the annual FLU.

There's a point where it all breaks down... we need to act now with some new thinking by fresh minds.

We need to move past the 'earth is flat' perspectives held by some scientists and land managers in regard to catastrophic wildfire genesis and prevention.

*Denying that the removal of any wild herbivores (wild horses included) from the landscape makes wildfires and toxic smoke worse is just going get more people killed as more frequent intense wildfires and toxic smoke evolve.

For the past 50 years, some factions in the livestock industry have tried to paint wild horses as a problem on public lands by popularizing a host of myths. One such myth is that wild horses damage range and riparian lands.

The Impact Of Cattle And Sheep Operations

It is well-known scientific fact that cattle and sheep operations have wreaked more havoc on US range-lands than all other species combined over the past 5000 years, as cited by Professor Thomas L. Fleischner, Ph.D“The most severe vegetation changes of the last 5400 years occurred during the past 200 years. The nature and timing of these changes suggest that they were primarily caused by 19th-century open-land sheep and cattle ranching.”

This report with photos by Wild California  is very revealing and certainly undermines the pseudo-science of the cattle industry:

The Wild CA Report: https://wildcalifornia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Annual-Report_2015_final-final.pdf

Cattle grazing vs. Wild Horse grazing; there is no comparison...  Cattle are an invasive species in North America and Wild Horses are not.

Wild horses benefit and enhance the ecosystems where they reside as seen in my study where horses are present in the photos of a riparian area with spring and creek, all crystal clear!  Compare the photos from the study by Wild California to the photos of my Study in the area of the Soda Mountain Wilderness area.... the evidence is clear:

5-year Study; 'Impact Of Wild Horses On Wilderness And Wildfire' (with photos): https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6a30c6_98642a78546849f0a94e2687cdf35654.pdf

We now have in hand a proposed draft legislative bill, supported by the best science, that can make a positive impact and help to reduce both the frequency and intensity of intense wildfires": A Solution To Help Reduce Catastrophic Wildfires

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