North Versus Hanson

Experts Frustrated by Stalled Efforts to Counter Megafires

“Use every damn tool you’ve got,” he said. “If we could have beavers on crack out there I’d be donating to that process — anything that will speed up the pace and scale of this thing.”

Dr. Malcolm North

11 thoughts on “North Versus Hanson”

  1. “We are headed in the wrong direction,” said Kristen Shive, who served as the ecologist for the Yosemite effort until the Trump Administration axed her grant proposal to burn 30,000 overgrown acres in and around the park.

    “That just wasn’t a priority from the federal government’’ said Shive, who is now chief scientist with the Save the Redwoods League, “which is you know really frustrating to see.”

    Funding PB via grant proposal seems odd, maybe that’s a Park Service thing?

  2. “But what was supposed to take five years ended up taking 15 years. Costs mushroomed amid environmental lawsuits over logging on forest lands. Backers of the Quincy program hoped that the logging would offset the costs of cutting and hauling everything away. That cost more money, but it spared the area from the air pollution from controlled burns. In the end, the final assessment concluded that although the program limited fire risk, the project suffered too many setbacks to be a model.”

    The most setbacks and highest cost should be expected where there is the most opposition. It looks like their model was to bludgeon the opposition, and that can be expensive. If air pollution from prescribed burns is what’s driving logging, would it be cheaper to just pay anyone who wants to evacuate for a week or two and then burn?

  3. Just check out this crazy, radical, extremist view!

    “We need more fire, small ones and big ones. What we need to ask ourselves is how do we keep fires from burning homes? How do we protect and save lives in vulnerable communities from wildland fire?” – Dr. Chad Hanson

    • Those are interesting questions by Hanson.

      But it’s not all about homes. It’s about watersheds, species, etc. OK, so he frames it as being about homes only.

      The clear answer about keeping fires from burning homes is 1) keeping fires out of communities (aka fire suppression) and 2) home hardening and local mitigation..

      How do we protect and save lives in vulnerable communities? 1) Keeping fires out of communities, or 2) evacuation.

      Who is the “we” who “needs” more big fires? And could those “we” articulate why that is the case?

      • Hi Sharon,

        I think you may be expecting the world out of one quote from Dr. Chad Hanson. Regardless, I recall that a few months ago the John Muir Project posted a comment here on this blog where they offered to have you chat with Dr. Hanson. Did you every follow up with their offer?

        • Yes I did. I said that it would have to be in public (not necessarily here on TSW), in writing, and online- as then we can each attach links and have an in-depth discussion. I never heard back. The offer stands.

          • Hi Sharon,

            For whatever it’s worth, when someone offers to take time out of their busy schedule “to have a conversation about these issues and the science either via telephone or zoom” and your response to this generous offer from a person/group who has been regularly vilified on this blog is “that it would have to be in public (not necessarily here on TSW), in writing, and online” perhaps that’s the reason you never heard back.

            Seems to me like the John Muir Project offer for you to speak with Dr. Chad Hanson via telephone or zoom is the offer that still stands…but you rejected that offer. Oh well.

            • There is no evidence of increased fire intensity due to less tree density. If that were true, pre-European forests would have been incinerated into brushlands. History shows that the Sierra Nevada had much lower tree densities but, they also had much lower fire intensities, too.

              I guess what maybe you’re saying is that in a fuel-rich fire-suppressed forest, slightly lower tree densities could increase fire intensity during high winds. That’s not really saying much, especially when you exclude the prescribed burns, after the project is complete.

            • Telephone or zoom are not “written” .. what am I missing? This is pretty complicated stuff… way beyond a “phone call or Zoom”. For one thing, there is the whole issue of how he frames the problem versus me or others. That’s what much of this discourse is missing IMHO. Where do we start? What are the options? What are the goals?

              I heard a webinar with Hanson and someone at U of Montana (I think) and they kept talking past each other for an hour. I don’t want to do that- I think there’s been enough of that. I’d like to spend time really understanding the differences, and, in my experience, that happens better in writing.

              We could really understand where our thinking diverges, and whether, and to what extent, those differences are based on what kind of science or values or experiences or whatever.

              My offer stands.


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