There Is No There There

Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15 and ended yesterday. Or so says the U.S. Forest Service’s homepage. However, unlike the other four banner ads, which click through to provide information on Fall Colors, wildfires, and the like, the Hispanic Heritage Month banner ad links to nothing. The Wayback Machine says that the Forest Service’s …

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California Fires Ravage Private, Industrially Managed Landscape

Add together the structures lost to every national forest wildland fire this year and their sum would be a rounding error compared to the more than 1,500 2,000 3,500 5,700 7,000 8,400 homes and businesses lost in the on-going Napa Valley fires. Radical environmentalists are being blamed for the devastation: “White wine-swilling San Francisco liberal …

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Rain’s Ecosystem Service Value

The Columbia River Gorge’s Eagle Creek Fire will be history as about 5 inches of rain are forecast to fall within the next several days. Tongue-in-cheek, we can calculate the ecosystem service value of rain by analyzing the avoided cost of an alternative delivery vehicle — the Global Supertanker. Five inches of rain delivered across …

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Is Private Property the Key to Keeping Firefighting Costs Down?

Regular readers know that the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting expenses just keep going up. Some believe that a dramatic decline in federal land logging over the past 30 years is the reason. Others say long-term cycles of drought, while some blame increasing number of wildland/urban interface homes. If federal land logging policies are to blame …

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On Time and Under Budget

On September 1 31, the federal government’s fiscal year clock turned over from FY17 to 18. The numbers year-to-date are now in. The Forest Service spent $1.75 billion of its regular $1.89 billion firefighting appropriation. No FLAME funds spent. No borrowing. What? How is that possible? Turns out that when the boss says “we ain’t …

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Will CLT Make a Difference in National Forest Small Wood Demand?

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) technology makes large construction panels from low-value lumber. The panels can be used to build floors, walls and roofs for buildings up to about 16 stories, which is substantially taller than possible using ordinary lumber and plywood. The Forest Service has been shoveling money to study CLT properties and uses, hoping to …

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Court Rules Firefighting Exempt from NEPA

In a case brought by FSEEE, a federal district court judge ruled that forest fires are emergencies; and, as such, firefighting actions are exempt from any form of NEPA documentation. FSEEE filed the case in response to concerns raised by Wenatchee national forest employees that a 30-mile long fuels break logged through spotted owl critical …

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Secretary Perdue Talks Trees

Yesterday USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue made an unprecedented and necessary appearance before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (the Forest Service is a “related agency”) to explain the Forest Service’s proposed FY 2018 budget. “Unprecedented” because never before had a USDA Secretary appeared before this subcommittee. “Necessary” because never before did …

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