A review of some media outlet reports shows that there are groupies who continue to support the ‘let it burn’ scientists and forest managers of the same ilk. It might be said that people like this are supporting the sustainable devastation of our forests and related resources via catastrophic wildfire. Even as I write this, the devastation of 570 wildfires in California (August 2020) is continuing with the production of toxic wildfire smoke.
A recent article by Sydney Dauphinais at Jefferson Public Radio quotes some of the proponents for 'let it burn' forest management.
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Dominic DellaSala Quoted On wildfire
What seems curious is that one of the so-called 'experts' quoted on wildfire is Dominic DellaSala who did his Masters degree on the songbirds of the eastern United States and who has a PhD in Philosophy. This sounds like a great combination for deep thoughts on the plight of songbirds in wildfire, but not the physics and chemistry of the thermodynamics related to the unnatural combustion of excessive fine vegetative materials in and around forests during catastrophic wildfire.
As some readers may recall, Delasala was one of the outspoken persons in the 1980's who incorrectly claimed that loggers were responsible for the decline in the spotted owl.
We can read the reports of spotted owl supporters who have/are actually promoting the concept of 'shooting barred owls', who are arguably the real culprits in the decline of spotted owls!!
Of course history shows that DellaSala's opinion was wrong on the spotted owl, and good science has since proven it was largely the barred owl that was responsible for the decline in the spotted owls, not loggers.
So having helped to put thousands of Southern Oregon and Nor. Cal families out of work and into financial distress and virtually decimating our vibrant logging industry based economy, DellaSala never bothered to apologize for his largely incorrect hypothesis... Now he's back on the scene with his so-called expertise as a wildfire ecologist.
If this keeps up, we'll all suffer (scientists included) even more dire consequences resulting from 'know it all scientists' who have scant boots on the ground experience, yet insist their opinions are right on whatever they happen to believe without offering any real empirical evidence.
In my opinion Mr. DellaSala needs to keeps his opinions to songbirds and deep thoughts about how he helped to wreck the logging industry (which is now needed to thin over-dense forests and process the wood from such thinning to create local jobs) in our region putting thousands of families into financial distress that has since resulted in serious tertiary socioeconomic effects.... including significant increases in homelessness, crime, alcoholism and drug addiction in our communities.
Mr. DellaSala even has the temerity to say that Wild Horse Fire Brigade won't work, when he doesn't understand the basics of wild horse behavioral ecology and their 55-million years of evolution as a symbiont in North American ecosystems. Instead, DellaSala substitutes experience with mouthing the Bureau of Land Management's canards about wild horses as evidence for his so-called opinions; courts call this 'hearsay'.
Learn about 'The Natural Wildfire Abatement And Forest Protection Plan' here: www.WHFB.us
The Let It Burn Perspectives
The flawed perspective on wildfire that is held by most 'let it burn' scientists and forest managers is based upon a manifestly incorrect understanding of wildfire.
They fail to understand that excessive fine (kindling - grass and brush) fuels is what makes the difference between the 'normal' wildfire (burns slow and low) that is expected and needed on the landscape (I.E. - fire-evolved conifers require some fire) and 'catastrophic' wildfire, which is abnormally hot due to prodigious fine fuels on the landscape.
The difference between normal wildfire and catastrophic wildfire is the amount of fuels being combusted, primarily fine fuels (grass and brush), which burn extremely hot and carry the fire to other heavier fuels. A warmer climate influences the characteristics of excessive fine fuels, making them dryer sooner in the season and keeping them dry longer.
The published article by National Geographic about the Carlton Fire details the effects of super-hot catastrophic wildfire on fire-evolved trees.
The HEAT that is killing fire-evolved trees is generated from the combustion of prodigious grasses and brush, which in prior decades was grazed and maintained to nominal levels by 'Large-Bodied Herbivores'... herbivores that are now severely depleted across CA and Oregon. (CA is down about 2-million deer in the last 50-years).
Excessive fine fuels (grass and brush) that fuel super-hot ('catastrophic') wildfires result from serious declines in the herbivory of native species grazing animals across the landscape. When the fine fuels are maintained at normal levels, wildfires have limited fuel and therefore, develop less heat.
Oregon State University forest ecology professor Dr. William Ripple's paper is quite revealing on this very important point: 'Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores'
There is a heavy price that is, and will continue to be paid by the people of America as the suffer the results from the obtuse pontifications of the 'let it burn' scientists who are influencing legislation and wildfire policies.
The toll from catastrophic wildfire includes but is not limited to:
- Deforestation at an unparalleled rate, including the loss of fire-evolved conifers that cannot handle the heat from the super-fueled (grass and brush kindled) wildfires that have evolved as a result of the loss of our large-bodied herbivores; and
- Watersheds and fisheries devastated by post wildfire rains and catastrophic erosion and silting-in of spawning beds for migratory fishes; and,
- Loss of 20 to 50 wild animals per acre burned; and,
- Pasteurized soils (from unnaturally hot fires) that are untenable for reforestation projects as well as most native plants... etc...; and,
- Hundreds of billions of tons of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere annually, thereby accelerating climate change (warming)... instead of sequestering vegetative carbon compounds back into soils via a native-species herbivory; and,
- Loss of entire forests of fire-evolved conifers; and,
- A new generation of pulmonary compromised children is already in the works, who have become sensitized to toxic wildfire smoke, which will cost our public health systems $-hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, and the impacts on humans and health is dramatic according to the experts on pulmonary issues (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5628149/)
Wild Horses And Their Impact On Wilderness Ecosystems
A recently publiched study about wild horses and their impact on wilderness ecosystems was featured by ReWilding Europe's new peer-reviewed publication GrazeLIFE: https://grazelife.com/blog/...
Moreover, during said Study, a catastrophic wildfire (Klamathon Fire - 38,000 acres) actually tested the theory, which was validated via the wildfire (a valuable landscape; the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument was spared) something never seen before.
The 'Natural Wildfire Abatement And Forest Protection Plan' provides monetary incentives for all stakeholders;
1) Taxpayers - Saves money by the natural reduction and ongoing maintenance of fine wildfire fuels via reestablishing the native herbivory, starting with rewilding native species American wild horses, making wildfire suppression more cost effective; and,
2) Climate Change - The Plan keeps carbon compounds sequestered in soils via grazing, reducing greenhouse gases; and,
3) Loggers - Saves trees for sustainable logging and enhancing watersheds and aquafirs); and,
4) Hunting industry - Saves wildlife and game animals from death and destruction of their habitat; and,
5) Fishing - Saves watersheds and fisheries from post-fire catastrophic erosion/runoff and silting-in of fish eggs; and
6) Ranchers get more grazing on BLM lands by moving wild horses out of BLM areas of contention and into areas of wilderness unsuited to livestock grazing; and,
7) Rewilding - Saves native species American wild horses and accomplishes what wild horse advocates have sought for decades; keeping American wild horses wild and free; and,
8) EcoTourism - Local businesses benefit by having a new highly desirable attraction; Wild Horses have in other areas booster local business revenues: One example in this story: https://www.craigdailypress.com/news/survey-moffat-countys-economy-boosted-by-wild-horses/
1) June 2017 - https://healthyforests.org/...
2) July 2017 - https://www.horsetalk.co.nz...
3) July 2017 - Wild Horse Conspiracy posted: https://thewildhorseconspir...
4) RT Fitch - https://rtfitchauthor.com/2...
5) August 2017 - https://www.larslarson.com/...
6) Dec. 2017 - https://naturalresourcerepo...
7) Dec. 2017 - Downer endorses Wild Horse Fire Brigade: https://www.horsetalk.co.nz...
8) Feb 2018 - https://www.environews.tv/0...
9) Oct 2018 - Wildlife Ecologist endorses Wild Horse Fire Brigade with Simpson at Wild Horse Ranch: https://www.equineinfoexcha...
11) Horse Welfare News - https://horsewelfarenews.co...
12) Tuesdays Horse - https://tuesdayshorse.wordp...
13) NPR RADIO - https://www.ijpr.org/post/h...
14) The Desert Independent - https://www.thedesertinde.c...
15) ABC NEWS: https://www.kdrv.com/conten...
16) NBC NEWS: https://kobi5.com/features/...
Photo: William E. Simpson II
Capt. William E. Simpson II - USMM Ret.
Naturalist - Author - Conservationist
Wild Horse Ranch
P.O. Bx. 202 - Yreka, CA 96097
Author @ HorseTalk
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