“Managers accomplish much with fire”

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Amongst all the whining and ranting about how the Forest Service coulda/shoulda stopped all of this summer’s fires, there is this letter to the Missoulian (Missoulian’s title above), which I’ll reprint in total:

Activity on the controlled burn of the Bitterroot Range is continuing to be successful. The reports show where they are building the containment lines on the southeast edge of the control burn area. They have burned the area past Florence and into the Sweeney Creek and down to Bass Creek with extended blackened lines planned almost all the way to Kootenai Creek.

The incident management spokesman said they want to put the “hook” just on the edge of the old Kootenai Creek burn so they can stop the southernmost end of the fire there. In other words, they have got the area that they want to burn up surrounded by controlled burned areas almost all the way around this end of the Bitterroot Range.

 You can see by the map that the fire is going just almost as planned in that it has completely burned off all the forest up to Highway 12 and now it is heading south past Florence and just has to burn up the center section from the bottom foothills to the top of the Bitterroot Range.

Great work, incident managers. You have accomplished a great deal with this “lightning-initiated” fire.

Do you think this is serious or serious sarcasm?  (I don’t know anything about the author.)  It is pretty much the way the incident reps have described what they are doing to manage a wilderness fire on the edge of subdivisions.  They are not sending troops in to flail at the fire, but fire-proofing the boundary and letting it burn itself out in the interior.  Shouldn’t property values go up all along the forest boundary knowing the fire risk has now been hugely reduced?  (No NEPA!)

2 Comments

  1. Jon, I don’t know the author either, but I have been to many a morning briefing where this type of accolade is made. I talked to a BLM Silviculturist on a fire who was excited because they didn’t have the budget to do prescribed burns, but were able to put line around areas that they wanted to treat then burn out and it would go on the fire cost…………the problem I had is that we had mopped in 200′ before they made the decision to add in the acreage.

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