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Location: Idaho
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On Garage Fires ...

Ah, yes, August. This has become the rust-colored-sky month out here in the West. This is the month when forest fires start, and our government lets them burn. The practice started about 10 years ago. The idea being - forest fires `clean up' our forests.

I have walked through some of these forests. They actually look worse. Some `litter' got burned up, yes - but other litter was produced - trees that were killed but not turned to ash or carbon dioxide. Many still standing ten years later.

With some imagination a forest of dead trees is strangely beautiful.

In some places these fires burned so hot that there is no longer any soil.

I gather that there is the thought that the fires act as some `meticulous, conscientious gardener' once turned loose. Hmmmmm. Whoa. Fires that I know are wild, unpredictable, destructive. Fires I know of destoryed forests (trees, other vegetation), animals, and sometimes people. A fire has anything but a conscience. A forest fire is anything but meticulous. Fires cause a mess.

Sometimes my garage accumulates some litter - but I don't start a fire to clean it up. Same with our kitchen counters. Sometimes our family car is a bit messy after a long trip - but I don't toss a match into the back seat and let a fire clean it up. Gosh, sometimes my desk at work has a bunch of paper on that needs cleaning up ... but I don't take my lighter to it.

Fires may be `natural' - but natural isn't always good. Disease is natural. Wars are (sadly) natural. But that doesn't mean they are good. Weeds naturally pop up in my garden. But if I want anything to eat - I don't let the weeds take their course. And neither do I deal with them with a match.

Pictured is the School Fire, Eastern Washington, August 2005. It is about 60 miles distant in this picture. As night fell for many evenings the flames from trees `blowing up' were visible at this distance.  While various government agencies were fighting each other (instead of the fire), as to who would, or wouldn’t, or who should, or shouldn’t, or whether to fight the fire at all, they let it burn.  It quickly got BIG, became a MAJOR FEDERAL PROJECT, and before under control destroyed or damaged over 200 structures (residences and other), burned over 50,000 acres of forest and private land (nearly 80 square miles), killed various deer, elk, and other creatures, including a herd of bighorn sheep.

We have a lot of land out here in the west - but we don't have so much that we can throw it to the incinerator.

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Joined: 12/03/2005
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On Garage Fires ...

Well said Thumbs up

And never smoke in bed. The ashes on the floor could be your own.

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1740
On Garage Fires ...

SH, I agree. We had a big fire here the other year, the Haymen Fire. It came with in 5 miles or so from our house and I had many friends who were effected. It was a really sad time and many folks suffered. The Hayman fire got really hot and we lost a lot of soil and then the rains came and took most of the remaining soil away. That area will never look the same again.

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Location: Idaho
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Posts: 1068
On Garage Fires ...

Part of the problem is this … there is no money, no big promotions, when a local fire department or a hot shot crew puts out a fire quickly, before it gets big. The warriors are their own heroes, but soon everyone forgets. On the other hand, when a fire is allowed to get big – then BIG GOVERNMENT has to step in. All the sudden thousands of government employees are involved, and MILLIONS of government dollars. And afterward, various promotions and … (you fill in the blank). Funded by our tax dollars and at the cost of our wild lands, wildlife, and the people who live in and near our forests.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=1...

http://199.134.225.53/archived_2005/school_fire/detailed_incident_facts/...

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
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On Garage Fires ...

We have a tremendous amount of beetle kill in Colorado and it won't be long before we pay a price for not logging it out.

http://www.wilderness.org/Library/Documents/WildfireSummary_Hayman.cfm

Here is a link on the Hayman Fire.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
On Garage Fires ...

Hiker, I remember following that fire on the news. Interesting that now I know someone `close to home' on that one.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
On Garage Fires ...

We had a fire in Idaho about 10 years ago that burned a lot of beautiful recreation area. We were on vacation in the area at the time and watched. About 5000 fire fighters were eventually called in. Officially they were fighting the fire. But if you actually talked to them, hanging around town, hitting the bars, coming in for groceries, etc., they admitted that they weren't fighting it at all. They were instructed to surround it and watch.

Behind closed doors the fire was allowed to burn to clear up forest litter. If litter was the real problem - why not send in a limited number of people to put out the fires when they are small. Then send in the thousands of government employees to collect the litter in piles, and then burn it in November. Would keep the employees out of the bars (at least during the day), and would result in a much cleaner forest. I plan to live several more decades - and in my lifetime that particular forest will remain a mess.

sh

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
On Garage Fires ...

In my opinion, any fire started by any cause, during the months of JUL, AUG, and the first half of SEP should categorically and without questions be PUT OUT ASAP. Then debate forest management.

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
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On Garage Fires ...

SH, As you know, God has given us stewardship over all of His creation. Many of these fires are the direct result of not being a good steward. If we would take care of these forests by logging them, replanting trees, burn the branches and stumps, regrade the logging roads back to the forest floor, reseed back to the native grasses and make them look untouched. We could use the lumber and have a healthy, beautiful forest for future generations. We will still have fires but not near as many as we do now, plus they wouldn't get near as hot if we would clear out the underbrush and stay on top of them. I don't have all of the answers but this would help.

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Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1068
On Garage Fires ...

Hiker - right on! That's what I'm saying - we have been given the opportunity, responsibility, and ability, to do more than just stand by and watch (at taxpayer expense). If we can prevent disaster, and make things better, we should do it.

I'm curious how the Europeans manage their forest resources? Anyone?

SH

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Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2368
On Garage Fires ...

Probably the same way Europeans handle everything else over there.....socialized. Wealthy land owners and governments do with it what they wish.

Could be wrong, but most Western Europeans pay huge taxes, but I doubt that they ever have a say in how the forests are managed, unless you are part of an upper class society.

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