9 thoughts on “The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy: Phase III Western Regional Action Plan”

  1. I tried to slog through the parts titled Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations, and anything that had to do with the word “restore.” The most interesting parts were contained on pages 63 to 83, which are key to trying to make sense of the previous 62 pages, and the graph on page 9 showing the years 1946 to 1986 and 2000 to 2012. Very telling (but not clearly addressed).

    In general, the majority of “actions” seem to be: 1) get funding; 2) form even more groups; 3) have meetings and conferences; 4) make more reports; and 5) put the reports on a whole slew of different websites of varying quality (mostly clunky). Also, there seems to be a need for yet more Acronyms and even more abstract definitions for the Glossary, and for locating more taxpayer-funded individuals associated with such acronyms to attend such meetings and conferences in order to help develop such defintions.

    This is the exact type of taxpayer-funded exercise that inspired me to make this post a few weeks ago: https://ncfp.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/coquelle-trails-scientific-transparency-public-lands-management/

    This fits right into the formula:
    Acronyms + Jargon + Latin + Metrics x Statistics = Total Obfuscation

    And might benefit (depending on what it is trying to actually say) by translation into Plain English in accordance to the 2010 Plain Writing Act, and by independent review of the contents by experienced field personnel and other experts.

    How much money did this thing cost? I’d like to see a breakdown that included all of the time and related expenses of the meetings and individuals that worked to put it together. Not sure of any particular practical value to it. Unless you make a living by going to meetings and using acronyms in public.

    Reply
  2. Wow, I clicked on the link, then quickly exited. Bob, you have more perseverance than probably 99.999% of the public and just about all the land managers who might be affected by this jabberwockey.

    Bob,…since you’ve read all that “stuff”, please tell me if it will aid in getting a decision to harvest trees (call it restoration if you must)out the door any faster. I’d prefer not to spend too much time reading any of it unless it helps the Agency.

    Reply
    • JZ: I can’t see how this report can do anything but slow restoration work (including potential logging in some locations) down, if that is even possible. This is the work of professional bureaucrats, not field foresters or wildfire fighters. And it seems to be in clear contradiction to the 2010 Plain Writing Act.

      You can save a lot of time by looking at the graph on page 9 that I cite. The relative absence of large-scale wildfires from 1946 to 1986 is likely related to the post-WW II phase of active management, home building, and improvements in technology — including logging, road construction, reforestation, wildfire suppression, etc. Probably nothing (or very, very little) to do with climate. The 2000 to 2012 wildfires occur during the current phase of passive management, acronym proliferation, committee meetings, and conventions — including this document. Again, fuel management (no logging, “natural fire reintroduction,” let-it-burn, and discuss at a meeting or conference), not climate.

      “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!”

      Reply
  3. I found at least one sentence to be refreshingly honest:

    “In the Western United States, a century of widespread fire exclusion and the more recent severe reduction of active forest management, have resulted in a build-up of surface fuels (downed wood, litter and duff) and the overstocking of forests with trees and ladder fuels.”

    Emphasis on “severe reduction of active forest management” — which coincides with the trend shown in the graph on Page 9.

    Reply
  4. Here is an abridged account of my experience trying to participate in the “collaborative” process for this National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy: Western Regional Assessment. Speaking with other forest activists, it appears as if the frustrating experience I’ve had (I mean, how many times do you have to provide comments and ask to be put on a simple mailing list?!?) has been, unfortunately, experienced by others.

    From: Matthew Koehler [mailto:koehler@wildrockies.org]
    Sent: Friday, December 07, 2012 1:29 PM
    Subject: Re: [forests] Re: Western Regional Strategy Committee Draft Action Plan

    As you can see, the web-based comment form at the link doesn’t allow for one to print ones responses. You simply must provide your top three choices and you must provide your bottom three choices and you have the option of leaving a comment. As such, in some cases, I had to vote for something in the top three even if I didn’t agree with it, because each question required 3 top and 3 low priority responses.

    When I made comments back in July and again earlier today I didn’t think of manually cutting and pasting my comments into an email or a word document to keep them on file. I guess, now that you mentioned it, that would have been a good idea.

    Again, part of our concern is that 1) this working group isn’t a very diverse group. Certainly no member of the group, to my knowledge, has ever publicly been critical of the timber industry or Forest Service. And 2) the working group seems to be selective and picking and choosing how widely they distribute these surveys. That was the case back in July (when the working group admitted most of the responses came from the agency employees) and when most forest protection activists in the country hadn’t even heard about this working group, process or opportunity to comment. This same thing happened again during this round for the Dec comment period. Also, some of us never seemed to be part of the November comment period.

    Thanks,
    Matthew

    ————-

    Subject: Fwd: January Cohesive Strategy Update and opportunity for engagement
    Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2013 08:55:38 -0700
    From:Matthew Koehler
    To: Freeland, Joe

    Hello Joe,

    I’d like to know what the heck is going on with your “process.”

    I’m 100% positive I provided detailed comments back in July 2012 and also 100% positive that I was NOT notified by the ‘working group’ of your Nov 5 to 16 comment period. I also was NOT notified of their Dec 3 to 14th comment period, but only found out about it when another forest activist posted an alert about it. So I once again went to your on-line site and made comments. However, yet again, I was NOT notified by the “working group” of their latest comment period explained in the Jan 7th email posted below.

    What in the heck is going on? Why can’t you folks be more inclusive? Is their intentional or only a strange over-sight?

    Thanks,
    Matthew Koehler

    ——————

    Subject: Re: Fwd: January Western Cohesive Strategy Update and opportunity for engagement
    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 12:45:50 -0700
    From: Matthew Koehler
    To: cdaly1@centurytel.net, btripp@karuk.us, lmccarthy@tnc.org, sarah_craighead@nps.gov, lynnj@hayfork.net, dseesholtz@fs.fed.us, “Freeland, Joe” , communityfiremanagement@gmail.com

    Hello:

    I’d just like you all to know that not one of you has bothered to respond to any of my questions or concerns about your supposed “collaborative process” with this Western Region Cohesive Strategy. And why it is that when some of us participate in your little “multi-choice” questions, you don’t even bother to ever include some of us in the next round. These are my public lands and my tax dollars too, folk. Media outlets have been alerted to this.

    – Matthew Koehler

    In addition to the info below, I just received this email message from another forest activist about their experience with your “collaborative process:”

    “I, too, have not been notified of any new comment period or received any notification that there is a new draft out for review. I chose not to use their multiple choice format and instead provided them with specific concerns that I had. As you can see from the e-mail below, they received my comments, and asked if I wanted to be on the mailing list. What a sham.”

    —————–

    Subject: Re: January Western Cohesive Strategy Update and opportunity for engagement
    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 12:36:25 -0800
    From: Lynn Jungwirth
    To: Matthew Koehler
    CC: cdaly1@centurytel.net , btripp@karuk.us , lmccarthy@tnc.org , sarah_craighead@nps.gov , dseesholtz@fs.fed.us , Freeland, Joe , communityfiremanagement@gmail.com

    Matthew. Just got your message thought Joe was getting back to you but obviously not yet. . My apologies. We can certainly get info to you through this network and will make sure you don’t fall off.

    I think the next round will go out soon. I hope you will see some significant improvements based on comments received.

    Thanks for keeping after this. L.

    From: Matthew Koehler [mailto:koehler@wildrockies.org]
    Sent: Friday, January 11, 2013 1:11 PM
    To: Lynn Jungwirth
    Cc: cdaly1@centurytel.net; btripp@karuk.us; lmccarthy@tnc.org; sarah_craighead@nps.gov; dseesholtz@fs.fed.us; Freeland, Joe; communityfiremanagement@gmail.com
    Subject: Re: January Western Cohesive Strategy Update and opportunity for engagement

    Thanks Lynn for the response. I’m glad someone in your group finally did. However, we have seriously issues with your entire process. I mean, really, just limiting input to multiple-choice answers and then rating those? Seems pretty 2nd grade, 3rd month to many of us. I know that groups like EarthJustice opted out of the multiple choice test/rating and provided detailed comments, as I’m sure others did as well.

    And how is it that I submit my answers to the multiple choice questions/ratings, but then never get included in any follow up?

    Yes, I’m glad that you offered at least a short response here, but that hardly addresses the substantive concerns with your “collaborative” process that many of us share. To say nothing of the composition of your groups, which seem to have very little, if any, reps from NGO’s that actually provide comments on public lands project.

    I look forward to exploring these concerns more with any of you.

    – Matthew Koehler

    ——————

    Subject: RE: January Western Cohesive Strategy Update and opportunity for engagement
    Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013 15:31:46 -0800
    From: Lynn Jungwirth
    To: ‘Matthew Koehler’
    CC: “‘Freeland, Joe'” ,

    Okay, here is the update, attached. Looks like the content analysis will be out in February. You can track it and the progress through this web-site: http://sites.nemac.org/westcohesivefire/updates/ They put out monthly updates on the progress at the first of the months and post documents regularly. We will try to remind people in the community fire management network (and you are now in it) when that happens.

    The issues I saw in some of the comments sent back to our network were:

    There is no agreement that NEPA is a/the problem.
    There is no agreement that we need to do fuels treatment or put out fires aggressively.
    There is some agreement that we need to focus fuels work around communities and assets at risk and not the back country.

    There should be lots of public education about ecological uses of fire as well as property owners responsibility to protect their lands and do defensible space and more focus needs to be put onto preventing human caused fire.

    These were not the only comments, but are the ones fresh in my mind…..but you will see more of the whole shebang when the consultants put out the content analysis in February……..

    Many people were frustrated with the check boxes, so they just sent in longer comments……

    Thanks for your persistence………..L.

    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: latest update?
    Date: Thu, 07 Mar 2013 12:26:35 -0800
    From: Matthew Koehler
    To: Freeland, Joe

    Hello Joe: Is there a March update that you folks sent out? I didn’t get
    it.
    If there is one, could you please send it? Could you also explain
    why there are so many apparent gaps in your communications system?

    Thanks, Matthew Koehler

    ————-

    Subject: Fw: WRSC March Monthly CS Update
    Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 13:37:57 -0800
    From: Joe Freeland

    Let me fix my list again Matt. Here it is.

    Reply
    • Dang it, Matt: We seem to be on the same page again. Maybe the Global Warmers are right after all and we really are on the verge of the apocalypse — this can’t all be “coincidence.”

      I sent the link to this page out to a number of national and regional experts on wildfire management (including several USFS retirees) and got a reply from your own Lynn Jungwirth, who admonished me to actually read the report (I don’t think she actually read the link I sent), and now I know why she was so dismissive of my comments.

      I think Steve is right and that the whole thing could be summed up in that one quote — which contradicts almost every single “action” (mostly getting money to pay for more meetings, from what I could tell) that is proposed. What is needed is leadership, active management, and local involvement — in the woods, not in meeting rooms. Theoretically, Congress could put a fix on this in a matter of days; realistically, they can’t even agree on a budget or gay marriage.

      What a misdirection of taxpayer resources. I don’t know about you, but I hardly recognized any names at all of the people that put this together, but I think most of them need something more constructive to do with their time — something based on their actual skill sets, whatever they might be.

      Reply
  5. I contributed almost half of all the Draft Planning Rule comments. I didn’t see where ANY of them were addressed. I took it on myself to educate the other posters about the need for more active management. Sometimes, they do consider our opinions, before they reject them. Sometimes, not.

    Reply

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