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The politics of forest fires

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Postby hikerduane » Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:45 am

I hear the spot where the fire was started was used for late night parties etc. by kids too. A local maybe?

I can see people coming up to there cabins for the weekend and not wanting to deal with smoke from a controlled burn and only wanting to take in the fresh mountain air and views. Not my opinion. Also, if they couldn't rake needles from there yards they had the option of planting grass as a defensible space which the TRPA would allow.
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Postby dave54 » Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:56 am

SteveB wrote: Why not throw in Republican blame for not going forward on the Kyoto Accords (which was soundly rejected by our Congress, by the way)?

Yeah, the Angora fire is a result of those that voted for Bush, and Bush himself. :retard:


Why blame the Republicans when the kyoto accords did not receive a single vote from any democratic senator, either? Kyoto lost unanimously -- not a single vote from any senator in either party. That is as non-partisan as you can get. It was a deeply flawed treaty as written and the Senate was correct in rejecting it. Even al gore now concedes the kyoto treaty was poorly written.

It was clinton that slashed the Forest Service budget all during his administration. It has been generally increasing under Bush.
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Postby rightstar76 » Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:30 pm

Does it matter if they're Republican or Democrat? Maybe greed is the best word. Real Estate = Money. And it won't sell unless the forest is lush and green, very green. If you read some of the lucky people's comments whose homes were spared you'll see stuff like the meadow and trees were burned behind my house or it used to be so green back there, it's not going to be the same. I disagree. As soon as this fiasco is over, it will be same old, same old. Nobody will be allowed to cut their trees because it might lower the real estate values, etc. Nobody wants to buy a home in the forest when there's no forest! People want their gardens around their house even if they burn. Yeah some of it is the environmentalists, etc. but really it's the greedy real estate brokers who sell houses based on how dense the woods are around the property. They'll just start selling houses outside of the burn area. You just wait and see!
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Going backwards

Postby Strider » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:18 am

The Governator fired Robert F. Sawyer for actually trying to implement greenhouse gas reduction:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printeditio ... &cset=true

Republican doubletalk and lip service to environmentalism is not just at the federal level.
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Postby hikerduane » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:00 am

I was thinking with the TRPA trying to protect the lake from runoff from development no matter the size from cutting one tree down to a dozen or more, I'm guessing it will be years recovering from the fire now with the runoff from burned over slopes and the ash working its way into the lake. Your thoughts?
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Postby Scott V. » Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:27 pm

dave54 wrote:It was clinton that slashed the Forest Service budget all during his administration. It has been generally increasing under Bush.


Actually, in Clinton's last year, the Fire preparedness and Hazardous Fuels reduction budgets dramatically increased. This was based on input he requested from the Sec of Ag and Interior. The report they submitted became known as the National Fire Plan. Based on increased funding recommended in that report, literally hundreds of additional firefighting resources were added to California's Federal wildland fire agencies.

Bush has maintained that funding through his administration, even with increased spending on the military side.
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Postby SteveB » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:52 pm

All the sniping aside (including my own), what does this come down to? Here's my thoughts, and please feel free to correct me (without any trolling foolishness):

1) Historical management policies have proven, in the long run, to be ineffective at best, and damaging at worst.
2) Current rules & practices in the Tahoe Basin are flawed, and need to be reworked.
3) Until development is radically (?) curbed in the Tahoe Basin (and other similar bioregions), the problem will continue.

Do we need to develop new laws regarding acceptable landscaping techniques? What landscaping practices should be implemented that would help minimize the rapid burn we've seen in the recent burn and past burns? Will limiting (or ending) further development work to solve the environmental issues, or will limiting casual development just lead to development practices by even bigger Fat Cats that are even more destructive (ie, graft, payoffs, PAC lobbying, etc)?

And perhaps more importantly, what will it take to get more forest-friendly NABs and county Boards installed to curb what most citizens will recognize as destructive?
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Postby hikerduane » Fri Jun 29, 2007 9:37 pm

I was reading in the 'Nevada Appeal' today and they had a story that more or less said the TRPA wasn't totally the bad guy. I have heard you could not take any trees down on your property around the lake, not sure how far from the lake this is covered, but according to the story, if you had the fire department determine you had hazard trees that you could remove them. Also, there was a meeting scheduled earlier this month and 5,000 notices were left at peoples houses I believe the story said and only 80 people showed up for the meeting. The article even mentioned a stoey about one neighbor who had a good defensible space and offered to help his neighbor out. The neighbor lost his place.

It will be interesting to see where they thinned a few years back, how the fire reacted there.
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Postby SteveB » Fri Jun 29, 2007 9:58 pm

hikerduane wrote:The article even mentioned a stoey about one neighbor who had a good defensible space and offered to help his neighbor out.


There was a story on the local news (KRNV) on Tuesday (I think) that had a homeowner saying that she had cleared a space across the street from her house that was Forest Service land, and doing so had saved her home. She admitted that doing so violated the law, but land management policies gave her no other alternative. Her home survived, while those nearby were burned to the foundation.

KRNV also just showed video of the region from helicopter... It's heart-breaking to see the land completely devastated like that, with only skeletons of trees standing. Absolutely heart-breaking. :(
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Postby Kerstin » Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:04 am

As a homeowner in the Tahoe Basin, I have to speak up about my experiences with creating defensible space around my home and about other concerns:

Five years ago my husband and I purchased the lot behind our home. We were lucky--the man who owned the lot almost gave it to us. This lot was densely forested with plenty of crowded and/or dying trees of various sizes. To get a permit to cut trees all I had to do was make a phone call to the Forest Service. About a week later an employee came out and marked 27 trees, some quite large, on our 1/4 acre lot. We immediately began cutting trees. We have been able to cut more than this since you don't need a permit to cut trees six inches in diameter or smaller.

Our tree-cutting permit expired last year. I made one more phone call and got an immediate two-year extension.

That was all we had to do. I don't know where people get the idea that thinning the forest around your home is illegal. We even live across the street from a large meadow--a "stream environment zone" in the words of the TRPA.

The mulch I've used around our home is decomposed granite gathered from various roadsides. We'd pull up in my truck with several buckets and a shovel and load it up. This granite is bulldozed away every spring anyway so I don't see any problem with collecting it.

I do use pine needles as mulch in certain areas too. With the absence of ladder fuels, I don't see a layer of pine needles as a danger, as long as it's not too thick. I of course don't let pine needles or pine cones build up against the house siding or on the roof.

I am painfully aware that all this work of creating defensible space may not work if there's a fire in our area, but it will increase the odds that our home will survive.

What I have not seen mentioned in all the talk about this fire is how the presence of cedar fences and decks all but guarantee that your house will burn down even if you do everything you can to create defensible space. Our home is surrounded by these on two sides--we are surrounded by cedar "kindling". Unfortunately we didn't install the fences, so we are going to talk to our neighbors about removing these fences and replacing them with wire fences or nothing at all.

It's depressing to drive by homes that have plenty of defensible space but are surrounded by wooden fences that are quite close to the house siding. All it takes is one burning ember to start a chain-reaction.

Another pattern I've noticed has to do with the large trophy homes that are sprouting up all over the basin. These new homes are built so close to the existing smaller homes or so close to each other that it creates a severe fire hazard! We had one of these homes go up next to our forested lot. Their roof is about one foot from our property line! I'm really glad our house isn't back there.

Here's another example: just up the street a property owner bulldozed a beautiful cabin and built not one but two monster homes on his lot. These homes are so close together that you can stand on the deck of one home and almost touch the siding of the other home. On this man's property there is a dog-hair stand of young Jeffery Pines that form a continuous canopy. Instead of thinning them to reduce fire hazard and to reduce competition for the Lupine, Phlox and Mule Ears growing beneath them, he killed the native plants and put in a lawn. He can barely fit a lawn-mower between these trees. It would be almost comical if I wasn't so upset about one more beautiful patch of native plants turning into a useless lawn. If he had built only one home on his lot, he would have plenty of defensible space. But he does not.

I am wondering why building homes inches from each other is allowed in a fire-prone area like this! It only adds to the problem of overgrown forests.


My condolences to the people who lost their homes in this fire! :(
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