Thanks to Jon for another excellent litigation round-up on Friday!
Both Larry and I are familiar with the San Bernardino National Forest. Both of us were dubious as to Hanson’s claim this project involves fuel treatment “in the remote wildlands” . So I looked up a map for the project.
From this map, you can see the miles from the project to WUI areas. But if you aren’t aware of the built environment around Big Bear Lake, here is a Google map
The Decision Notice had some nice descriptive photos, so here they are:
When I’m working on MOG and hear “leaving things alone is best for carbon” I think of places near my house that look something like the next two photos.
The project’s around 12K acres of treatment and has a 49 page EA. The separate response to comments is 21 pages; it has many specific answers to various scientific studies submitted in the comments. This project also has its own fairly extensive monitoring plan.
Here’s what Hanson says in an LA TV news story.
According to the lawsuit, the last time the San Bernardino National Forest conducted a similar restoration project was in the early 2000s, prior to the devastating Grass Valley Fire of 2007 that burned 199 homes.
Hanson said such an approach makes homeowners in the wildlands subject to even greater fire risk. He said the Forest Service should instead focus on making 100-foot perimeters of defensible space around homes in the forest.
“When they remove a lot of trees it actually makes the fire burn faster through those areas, and that often times is toward towns,” Hanson said.
I think this is something different from usual, a bit of an escalation, from “fuel treatments don’t work” to “sure less fuels mean big trees don’t die, but the fire itself can move along the ground faster and go toward towns.” That’s not fire suppression folks’ experience but…the FS couldn’t speak to reporters due to litigation. So the reporter had to poke through the documents. Which is kind of a painful way to get info for someone on the clock.
Seems like we as a community (at least those of us who support fuel treatments) should be able to do better in terms of being able to talk to reporters. In the old timber wars days, reporters could always call AFRC- but when there’s no timber, now there’s no one for reporters to call. Perhaps something to work on. People Living With Wildfire? Wildfire Adaptation Network?.. Conservationists for Wildfire Adaptation? No, it needs a good acronym.