Midnight Oil

NMOC Re: [Powderworks] dumya

Erik Fernandez Erik Fernandez" <fernandezerik@earthlink.net
Sat, 24 Aug 2002 17:21:16 -0700

Sorry to continue the rant on poor Georgie, but I would be so bold as to say
I have qualified experience to rant for a moment on his fire policies (just
attended a fire summit for enviros here in Oregon). We've had our fair share
of fires this summer here in Oregon.

The most significant cause of our fires is that we put out every fire for
the last 100 years. This has caused a huge amount of underbrush to collect,
making today's fires hotter and bigger.  Fires are natural; they are needed
for reseeding and for preventing a lot of fuel (branches/brush etc) from
building up on the forest floors.  In the normal fire cycle the fires burn
"cool" and don't kill the big trees, just burning up the little trees and

Furthermore, over the last 100 years, the Forest Service has logged all the
large fire resistant trees. This has left nothing but small tree plantations
and slash behind -- talk about a fire hazard.

What is the answer?
-Bush says we need to thin the forests. True, but the Forest  Service
considers it thinning if you leave one tree per acre/hectare.
- What needs to happen is to reduce the fuels by thinning the small diameter
trees in forests neat around communities. This will reduce the fire risk for
communities, and save forests.
- We also need to reintroduce prescribed fires to the ecosystem away from

Myth vs Fact
- Many of the places in Oregon that have burned this summer are supposedly
"destroyed."  Not true.  Many of the fires have been "perfect" fires,
burning only the under brush... but that's not going to get the attention of
the media.
- Fire science coming out of the University of Northern Arizona is often a
load of crap. Their theory is that we need to return the ecosystem to how it
was before the arrival of europeans.  In practice this means researching
exact locations of where specific trees were in that time period, and then
replanting trees in that exact spot. If there was a 300 year old Ponderosa
Pine that has grown up two feet away, well that's not good enough, cut it
down, and let's plant one where it's supposed to be. And they call this
science, I call it another tricky way to log the old growth. So be wary of
science coming from NAU.

What's next
- In early september, the right wing senators will prey on peoples fear of
Forest Fires and have legislation to allow increased logging and suspend
environmental laws so we'll have no way to stop them.

Again sorry for the long rant, but hopefully one or two of you might want
some local knowledge on the fire issue.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Indi Trehan" <indi@md.northwestern.edu>
To: "Powdwerworks" <powderworks@cs.colorado.edu>
Sent: Friday, August 23, 2002 7:54 AM
Subject: NMOC Re: [Powderworks] dumya

> actually, a tremendous amount of reseach has shown that because of the way
> that european invaders completely altered the flora and fauna of the north
> american continent and because of the flawed ways in which forest fires
> have been fought here for the last 100 or so years, the biome has changed
> considerably such that the density and overgrowth in many of these
> forests, particularly the ponderosa pine, has made this solution the best
> proposed in a long time - not only to reduce the number of fires in the
> long-term, but also to bring the balance back to its more natural state.
> even us greens must face the scientific facts when they fly in the face of
> our passions for nature.  president clinton was also in favor of this
> solution, if that somehow matters to anyone.  amazingly, this is one
> policy of bush's that actually is *not* a consequence of him being whored
> out by big business.  let's just hope he knows when it's time to stop.
> i don't have the expertise to get into this more but professor warren
> covington at northern arizona university has been a leader in this
> groundbreaking work - check out some of his papers if interested.
> /indi
> p.s. i apologize for continuing this NMOC conversation on the list - i
> will only respond (if i respond) to this thread off-list.
> On Fri, 23 Aug 2002, Janice Coleman wrote:
> |Yes, you are right.  Funny, I was a marine biology major in college,
> |couldn't get a job in it, and now I am an interior designer!
> |
> |Anyway, natural forest fires are necessary and beneficial.  Bush is
> |at the number of fires that happened this year.  The reasons for the
> |are because of the drought.  But, also the two biggest fires were set by
> |humans.  So, his answer is to punish the wilderness.  He doesn't
> |or care to.  It also doesn't help that he probably has the logging
> |supporting his campaign (just like the oil giants).
> |
> |
> |>From: ninas <ninajill73@Hotmail.com>
> |>To: Janice Coleman
> |>Subject: Re: [Powderworks] dumya
> |>Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 10:34:06 -0400
> |>
> |>ok - yeah and he's getting tons of praise for it?!
> |>
> |>now maybe i'm mistaken here (you enviromental management/science folk
> |>be
> |>able to help me - i'm just a lowly designer who only took a handful of
> |>environmental courses in college), but aren't forest fires beneficial
> |>part of the natural cycle of forest ecosystems?? it was my understanding
> |>that forests need to burn every so often so it can replenish and provide
> |>the
> |>ground with nutrients. am i wrong here? if we prevent forest fires all
> |>together (and meddle with the ecosystem), are we putting forests in more
> |>danger down the line? i understand that blazing-out-of-control fires,
> |>spawned on by people is not the kid of 'natural' fires that happen in
> |>nature, but...
> |>
> |>really, please, educate me because bush's plan seems really flawed from
> |>science stand-point. i wont even get into the flawed altruistic
reasons -
> |>that's obvious!
> |>
> |>nina
> |>
> |>
> |>
> |>on 8/23/02 9:16 AM, Janice Coleman at jec_coleman@hotmail.com wrote:
> |>
> |> >
> |> > For all you activists out there, in case you haven't heard, our
> |>wonderful
> |> > U.S. "president", George "dumya" Bush, has decided that the solution
> |> > preventing forest fires is to cut down the trees!
> |> >
> |> > Somehow, that doesn't surprise me.
> |> >
> |> > Janice
> |> >
> |> > _________________________________________________________________
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