Forest Service launches ambitious effort to restore Dude Fire Scar

Nick Smith had an article about t his in his Wildfire News of the Day email today, but the link at the Payson Roundup doesn’t work.  This is all I see:

“The US Forest Service will remove overgrown brush and saplings on 7,600 acres burned by the Dude Fire in 1990 in an attempt to restore the natural, fire-resistant Ponderosa Pine forest that once grew there. The devastation from the Dude Fire can still be seen in Rim Country.”

FWIW, the USFS has this page about the project and a June 12 update here.


5 thoughts on “Forest Service launches ambitious effort to restore Dude Fire Scar”

  1. Again n, really? Thirty four years later and now we are getting aggressive on regenerating this fire scar? Time was, we had reforestation backlog and it was a FS priority to put these lands back into timber (as well as other resource values), and into something other than a brush field thicket.

    That country is a challenge for site integrity anyway, and the danged junipers will be hard to control. The Rodeo-Chedeski fire is just above the Dude on the Rim; lots more moisture and not as intense heat, and even it has a major juniper problem!

    Fantastic that it is being addressed, I question what took so long…..

    • Those AZ P-pine sites do not have predictable climatic conditions that make planting practical. Natural regen is episodic. There can be many consecutive years with very little regen. April, May, June are often very dry and windy. Wet springs are infrequent, but when they occur there can be a rather large regen event. With the low desired stand density and very low growth rates on that part of the TNF/CNC, I don’t see timber ever being a thing. It is going to take frequent fire to keep the juniper out.

      • Well one thing is for sure, when you remove a seed source over a large area, the only way to get pine back in the ground is to plant it. And, it’s a different world above the Rim, but even there the juniper is a pest!

        As for timber in the commercial sense, maybe someday, but just getting pine back on the landscape is a noble endeavor….

  2. As a recent employee of the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest at Medford Oregon as the Forest Silviculturist and Timber Manager Supervisory Forester for the Forest. It was and still is common the lack of desire to conduct reforestation on fires that have removed trees as of from 2020-2022 and prior. Multiple National Forest have limited their reforestation efforts across multiple regions.
    As well as any support for acquiring native seed for the seed bank to restore native trees via cone collection and restoring new seed viable in the seed bank Inventory for reforestation for hand planting or aerial seeding…Also the FS has little emphasis in maintain its genetics program, and insect and disease programs, to conduct effective management, The FS has simply has not invested in these areas to maintain management at other than a custodial idle position.
    The primary stumbling block was and is staff Management ie Forest Supervisor and Regional Forester and now past supervisor RRs nf current deputy Forester at the Reginal Office in Portland Oregon.
    Reforestation was not a priority by the Supervisor who is now deputy Regional Forester nor regional Forester, as it was politically unpopular to so called partners, in the Region. Very easy to validate simply do a query in the Forest activity data base for all districts on the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest for multiple years on acres planted in comparison to acres reforested. Also Congress and various administrations did not make reforestation a priority, as they say talk is cheap it takes real effort and money to reforest acres burn, since the 1980’s the FS has slid in decline, Talk is always cheap it takes money to buy whiskey.
    Politics continues to procrastinate highlighting through misdirection fire suppression instead of active forest management by the Forest Service not the use of Good Neighbor Authority or other tools that are inefficient and have no literal skin in the game, by those partners, as the Forest Service funds those partners at the expense of the FS active management, as I managed as well Good Neighbor Authority. The solution is reverse Management objectives to real multiple use sustained yield of vegetation, which without reforestation and harvesting the garden planted, continues the wildfire endless burning, and reburns of now brush fields across all national Forests, and salvage timber and replant immediately, or it will burn, burn and reburn, as it is now.
    Management is in a spiral of caretaker to a constant low and very limited level of management, Solution get back to real onn the ground management utilizing vegetation management on all acres, not selectively .

  3. Hi Michael: I was glad to read your post because it verifies what my experience and the experience of others who have been concerned about wildfire management in SW Oregon; I’m sad on the other hand because it does verify what we have been saying and experiencing. Federal government incompetence in the management of our public forests.

    I was horrified when the Labor Day Fires took place — these, their predecessors, and subsequent events have all been clearly predicted for decades. And no one paid attention, or if they did they came up with feeble excuses: “It wasn’t our computers it was climate change!” “It wasn’t us, it was all those people that kept putting out fires the last 100 years!”

    That was bad enough, but then the USFS documented the low quality reforestation work that followed — and bragged about it! And documented the illegal migrant crews planting low-grade seedlings under standing snags with photographs and news articles as if all the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were being well-spent!

    When I approached the Supervisor of the Umpqua National Forest, and then Supervisor of the Klamath-Siskiyous with my concerns, I was completely ignored. No return phone calls and no response to direct emails. My offers to help were treated as SPAM or junk mail. Zero communication. My previous 50 years of communications with the Forest Service had always been met with professionalism and a common interest to fix perceived problems. Not anymore. The current USFS is destroying our public forests, killing our wildlife, ruining our rural forest industries, communities, and families and apparently could care less, just so their checks don’t bounce.

    The pandemic gave these chuckleheads an excuse to “work from home.” That became a punchline for “taxpayer-funded paid vacation.” The pandemic is over, and the people in charge still don’t show up to work, don’t answer the phone, and don’t respond to emails. We need to get competent, responsible people back in charge of the USFS, or we need a different organization or organizations to manage our forests. The current administration, with its failed wildfire management policies and fake “reforestation” efforts, should be embarrassed, held accountable, and replaced ASAP. In my opinion, based on experience and observation.


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