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Old 04-09-2009, 10:58 AM
 
2,092 posts, read 2,645,982 times
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What do you all think of this? (written by someone who is actually affected by the burns) I'm curious to hear some various opinions.


I've tried to hold off on my opinions of late about the forest fires that are being set by the forest fire service since mostly the local guys are just puppets doing what they must do - nearly their entire budget these days is for starting wildfires and so they must do what they a re told and what they are given money for. The wild colors at sunrise and sunset are due mostly to this smoke and so, hey, a photographer can't complain too much, unless you are trying to enjoy and photograph actual blue skies, which have become rare in the Ozarks these days due to all the smoke. It used to be that a 200-acre burn was a pretty good sized one, but now they light these fires with a helicopter spitting out ping-pong balls filled with gas that are ignited as they leave the chopper, they can ignite a much larger area in a very short time. Burns of 4,000 - 8,000 acres are common. Fires of that size put out a great deal of smoke that will often hang around for a long while. They used to only do one or two burns a day, but now 10-12 a day are common, all burning at the same time. They used to only burn when winds were low, but now they like high winds since the fires burn faster! They used to not burn when there was a burn ban on, but now they love burn bans - the forest burns up a lot faster still! They used to "control" the fires so that they burned slow and with very small flames - now they burn up the forest very fast with flames up to 20' or even higher - just go hike through a "controlled" burn are and see how far up the trunks the trees are burned. Many of these "controlled" fires are so fast and hot that they will jump fire line and even highways - oops! So much for the old-style "controlled burns" - these are little more than massive wildfires set by the forest fire service. But they must burn a certain numbers of acres a day in order to meet their quota, so what else are they going to do? They don't bet paid if they don't light the big fires. The amount of pain and suffering and damage to facilities and the forest does not matter to the forest fire service.
Aside from the obvious aesthetics of all this, and the fact that someone's long-planned vacation or 100-mile backpack trip can be ruined by all the fire and smoke, the huge amounts of thick smoke that fill the air for days and weeks at a time have become a health issue for many. Both Pam and I are getting sick right now with severe headaches and allergy issues - image that, someone having an allergic reaction to thick smoke that hangs in the air 24 hours a day. Perhaps it is that the smoke is just too thick for any normal person to breathe. We have had to close up the cabin tight to keep the smoke out, and have had to come indoors to escape the thick smoke, even sometimes in the middle of a beautiful spring day that is ruined by the thick smoke from the wildfires that are own forest fire service sets. Pam and I both spent most of this past night sick due to the smoke that has now filled the cabin - sick in our own home - thank you forest fire service - you are really great "neighbors" to have around! They claimed all of the wildfires they set were to "reduce the fuel load to prevent wildfires" - that was pure BS and they eventually admitted as such after several years of burning down the forest and lying to the public about it. Now they say it is to "restore a climax forest" - another load of pure BS. The real reason they burn is for money - they are paid by congress to burn down the forest, it is as simple as that. To give you an example - many major national forest recreation areas that were damaged by falling trees from the ice storm back in January remain closed and untouched by the forest service - trees block the entrance and there are closed signs up. No money to even cut a single tree out of the way to allow access to a hiking trail parking lot. Yet the local forest fire service folks are given millions to burn the forest down. This is all your tax money going up in smoke, literally. And we are getting sick of it - literally.
The local guys are not to blame - they are only doing what they are paid to do. Unfortunately we are all suffering as a result. Congress could care less - it is easy for them to get money to "prevent wildfires" but the truth is they are doing nothing in the Ozarks but starting wildfires that cause a great deal of damage to the public, to the forest, and to the local economy (controlled burns do work out west where the environment is completely different - but congress remains ignorant of that fact and unwilling to listen to anyone - anyone that is without millions of bucks of bribe money in their hands - a way of life in congress these days).
The smoke is getting so bad inside the cabin that we have no choice but to leave and head for clear air.. COME ON RAIN!
By the way , I am not against "controlled" burns - they have their place in a managed landscape and can do a lot of good when done properly (small acerage, low flame, correct weather conditions, etc.). These huge wildfires set in large numbers are what endanger the landscape and make people sick, and that is what congress seems to want to do. Makes no sense to me, a student of the forest for more than 30 years.
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:30 AM
 
1,647 posts, read 3,074,470 times
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That is a terrible scenario.

I called a friend that works for Arkansas forestry, and he has no knowledge of "quota" burns.

However, I do know that Game & Fish will pay $18 for every private acre burned for food restoration.

The 80 acres out my front door was burned two weeks ago, and it is now green and full of deer. Another big plot right next to it has not been burnt yet and still is clogged with sage grass 3-4 feet tall.

I wouldn't want my vacation ruined with one of those.

Then again, I wouldn't want it ruined with ticks & chiggars either.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:01 AM
 
2,092 posts, read 2,645,982 times
Reputation: 1807
I've seen some of these "controlled" burns burning....to tell the truth, I'm afraid one will get out of "control" and burn our cabin down someday.
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