The politics of forest fires | High Sierra Topix  

The politics of forest fires

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
User avatar

Postby hikerduane » Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:45 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.
Piece of cake.



User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby dave54 » Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:56 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.
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
Log off and get outdoors!
~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
User avatar
dave54
Founding Member
 
Posts: 774
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:24 pm
Location: where the Sierras, Cascades, and Great Basin meet.
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby rightstar76 » Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:30 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!
User avatar
rightstar76
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:22 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Going backwards

Postby Strider » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:18 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.
'Hike long and perspire'
User avatar
Strider
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 11:12 am
Location: Paso Robles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby hikerduane » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:00 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?
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Scott V. » Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:27 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.
User avatar
Scott V.
Topix Newbie
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:14 pm
Location: Redding
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby SteveB » Fri Jun 29, 2007 9:52 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?
User avatar
SteveB
Founding Member
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 10:08 pm
Location: Reno, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby hikerduane » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:37 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.
Piece of cake.
User avatar
hikerduane
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:58 am
Location: Meadow Valley, CA, Carson City, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby SteveB » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:58 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. :(
User avatar
SteveB
Founding Member
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 10:08 pm
Location: Reno, NV
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Kerstin » Sun Jul 08, 2007 11:04 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! :(
User avatar
Kerstin
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:09 pm
Location: South Lake Tahoe, California
Experience: N/A

Postby huts » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:34 pm

Kerstin, Thank you for posting. You are much nicer and more cool headed than I am going to be. I have noticed that Mountaineer et.al. DO NOT LIVE IN THE TAHOE AREA!

I used to live in Meyers just the other side of the Truckee River from much of the burned area. I helped fight many proposals that were clearcuts only thinly disguised as "fuel reduction". I also was able to remove trees, brush and other flammable materials from our property as well as the adjacent parcel which was owned BY THE FOREST SERVICE in order to create defensible space. We did this under permit and with the encouragement of the Forest Service and the Lake Valley Fire Department.

I AM AN ENVIRONMENTALIST. I DID NOT START NOR OTHERWISE CAUSE THIS FIRE. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT, STOP READING THE NEWSPAPERS AND FOR GODS SAKES TURN OFF THE CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW RADIO!

YES, I AM SHOUTING AT YOU!
huts
 

Postby huts » Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:58 am

Sorry for raising my voice. I would like to make a few more points.

newspapers, TV news, radio talk shows make money from controversy

the finger pointing and the anti-environment sentiment is quite popular and sells a lot of news now days, there is currency in making oneself out to be a victim of the "whacko greenie liberals"

This is what I saw when I lived in Tahoe:

many people wanted to cut what they wanted when they wanted, did not wish to go through the process of getting the permit and having the Forest Service mark trees,( I heard someone say that it was "inconvenient") this seems to have morphed into the fabulous untruth that cuttting trees to create defensible space was not allowed

many people did not have the time or money or inclination to remove trees and other flammables from their property, I remember one neighbor making the statement that the government should do it for them, I am just guessing but these may be the same kind of folks who are now trying to blame the TRPA, the Sierra Club, their second grade teacher, etc......way to take responsibility for yourselves, eh?

as has been mentioned the Angora fire burned through forest that had been thinned, this type of thinning (as opposed to clearcutting) had the support of the environmental groups I have been involved with (including the Sierra Club) but the work is expensive and slow and funds were nearly non-existent

once again I am just guessing but I am afraid the only thing that would have stopped this fire earlier would have been many miles of bare ground, I hope I am recalling this correctly.....the winter snow had been 29% of "normal", the relative humidity that day was 4%!!!!!!, the winds were fairly steady in the 20+ mph range, some gusts over 30 mph, a firefighter I know said some ridgetop winds were up to 70 mph, the last I heard the Sierra Club, the TRPA, etc., etc., are not able to control the weather

this lyric by Dire Straights comes to mind: "When you point your finger 'cause your plan fell through you got three more fingers pointing back at you"

use some critical thinking when reading, listening to anything about this issue, do your own research, question motivations - try to understand that truth is not in the best interest of some people and they will do their best to divert your attention

I don't know everything, these words come from my experience and my observations and I guess I just don't understand why Mountaineer et.al. feel the need to find a particular group or policy to "blame"

"Stuff" happens but perhaps we can learn from this IF people are willing to put aside their greed and other personal bias and take resposibility for their own choices

I have run from my home in front of a fire, I did not sleep much while the Angora Fire was burning, my heart was hurting for those who were affected

thank you for listening
huts
 

PreviousNext

Return to The Campfire



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest