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Old 01-15-2008, 02:03 PM
 
Location: NW MT
1,436 posts, read 2,920,463 times
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"Several large wildfires are burning out of control in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. Montana currently has the most wildfire activity of any state, with 12 large fires burning more than 93,970 acres as of Aug. 1, 2007, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC)."

NASA - Nation's Most Active Wildfires Rage in Montana (broken link)

This is a quick story just 6 months old from the NASA web site with satellite images. How does the forest service handle fires in MT? Do they let them burn themselves out controlling the burn only in populated areas or do they put them out right away?

I recently seen a news story on the fires out west (60 minutes or one of those types) and found it to be quite disturbing how human intervention has actually made the fires worse over the last century. It seems that the forest service policy has always been to put out any fire that occurred no matter what immediately.

Not realizing the damage being caused by putting these fires out immediately, today they now know they were not allowing the forest to cycle itself by naturally ridding itself of the brush build up as it has done for thousands of years on its own prior to our intervention. By intervening in this cycle, the fire problem is completely out of control as the forest floor has more fuel lying on it now than has ever been present historically. As far as I can tell there is no known solution to dealing with new fires with all this "extra" fuel present causing them to be larger and more out of control than they have ever been.

What is everyones take on fires in MT? How threatening are they to populated areas?
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:51 PM
 
495 posts, read 365,586 times
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The answer is - there is no one answer. I think they handle the fires on a case by case basis, and depending on their available resources to fight a particular fire. They certainly won't just let a fire burn if there are available resources and your home is in the fires path.
How threating are they to people who live here - very if you live in the forest or urban interface...homes do get lost on a regular basis, and while your chances of losing your house may not be all that great, when fire season rolls around, it's always on your mind if you live out in a vunerable area....lots of people get evaculated each year because of fire danger, they evacuate Seely Lake last summer. Whereas fewer people are directly affected by the fire, mostly everyone is affected by the smoke and or the disruptions in road and forest closures.
True, the suppression of fires in the past has lead to increased fuels in the forest, but don't forget that one of the largest of all fires in the early 1900's in the bitteroot valley took place before there was any forest management to speak of. Who do you blame that one on ?
Fire science wasn't invented yesterday - it's being invented today as we speak. Only a few years ago an excepted fact was that if a fire hit the massive beetle kills of timbered forest, like in Yellowstone, it would be hell on earth, as it turned out the fires actually stopped when they hit those areas - why ? the foliage and small twigs need to support a crown fire had died and fallen from the trees, now crown fuel - no crown fire.
I think if you cruise the web and do some googling you'll find lots of government site explaining what they are up too.
Fire and fire science is a very hot topic these days.

Last edited by JoeJoeMan; 01-15-2008 at 05:00 PM..
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:23 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,485,891 times
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Boy, now this is a touchy thread that I'm sure will garner alot of answers. Having been here through a couple of the worst fire seasons and having to help evacuate friends I have noticed several things. As we build further into the forest I've noticed people tend to ignore the fact they're surrounded by fire fuel and pretty much do nothing to protect themselves as in setting up fire suppression zones around their houses, they love the trees and growth being right up next to the houses and refuse to clear a defenseable space or set up sprinklers or foam systems just in case.
After the Roberts and Moose fires I did a lot of talking with some of the volunteer firefighters whom I know and they plainly said that when the fires got close the forest service took off and left the locals to fight to save houses.
What has been going on here for several years is out of state green groups file lawsuits everytime talk of thinning the forest comes up (fuels reduction) and sue at the drop of a hat even when salvage logging is attempted which has made it too expensive or time consuming for the forest service to do much of anything anymore which leads to a buildup of fuels that really take off when lit.
It makes no sense to me to leave partially burned, standing dead timber in a forest to rot when it can be removed and used and then replanted. I guess the idea that trees are a renewable resource is a foriegn concept to some people. I'm no advocate of mass clear cutting but I don't buy into the idea that selective logging and fuels reduction will kill all the bears,owls and other animals and if we would at least use some common sense and clear some of the ground fuels and trees that are dead/dying from bugs and disease then we'd reduce the impact of fires. A prime example is I've got 2 trees on my property right now that woodpeckers have been going at big time, I know they're dying and most likely full of bugs and fully intend to drop them come spring. Do I like having to do this? Not really but to protect the rest of my trees and my house I have no choice. You can manage a forest, it just takes the extreamists from both sides to meet in the middle which at the current rate I'm guessing will never happen.
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:23 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,882,223 times
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Morrells, Morrells, Morrells, Behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining !
I'm looking forward to all the morrell mushrooms that will be sprouting in the burned areas this spring. Deer, bear, and elk seem to appriciate the burned areas as well.
I freaking hate breathing the smoke from the fires in the summer though, the last few summers were really bad.
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:02 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
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The only down side to the 'shroom hunting is runing into the out-of-staters that are now packing guns and carrying big buckets full and getting real terratorial about the locals walking in "their" area. Usually from WA.
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:54 PM
 
Location: NW MT
1,436 posts, read 2,920,463 times
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Isn't it true that majority of the land that has been getting fried is state and federal land? Who are these green groups suing when cleaning is being talked about and attempted? Figured the fed gov will do what ever the hell they want when ever they want, just like they always do. State gov for that matter too.........In the eyes of the feds, a little ol law suite from a green group is like a mosquito trying to bite a bear! Doesn't matter one bit.........Especially when it comes to fire prevention. Everyone should be on the side of prevention. Sounds like green groups end up being a big problem in this realm.
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:06 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,485,891 times
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Trust me, now days the Forest Service won't blow their nose now without readying for a lawsuit. Every time they try to do ANYTHING they end up in court for one reason or another. These groups are doing their level best to shut everyone, and I MEAN EVERYONE out of the woods. Might hurt the little grizzly bears or something.
They've gone as far as to try and say that we have to remove all roads in the woods since bears won't cross them.
Most all of the "local" environmental groups have ties back to groups from Oregon and Washington where they get funding and tactics so they're not really local at all.
They've wasted more of OUR money,time and resources fighting for what should be common sense safety things.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:24 PM
 
406 posts, read 1,206,866 times
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rickers, where do you hunt for morrels? i'll share my spot if you share yours. we picked about 10 pounds last mid june and tried to sell them in butte. there were no takers at $20/lb, so we just chowed em down. DELICIOUS!

wildfires are a way of life here, i can't wait for the yellowstone club in big sky to just explode. i do a lot of work up there and these people are idiots. they literally have trees 2 feet from their ski mansions. the area is long overdue for a burn, and with these temperatures this winter, the summer will be long and hot. snow will melt off by june, and then, one of these next few summers, bill gates's house will burn to a crisp. you watch.

i am in the real estate biz and all i hear from out of staters when they want to purchase a lot, is that they want a piece in the trees and mountains. they give no thought to fire, and have to be warned about the possibilities, and still go ahead and insist that the trees will stay next to the house. in BC, standing timber is harvested for use in construction. it looks beautiful. montana should take advantage of the abundance of fire, and sell certain logs to fund other forest service projects like trails. they should be selective and not go crazy, but i think it could work. rich people in big sky will buy anything they think will make them look like a cowboy. i found a rusted tractor transmission in a field near turner's ranch once, cleaned it up, sold it to lady in big sky for 300 bucks. easiest and most enjoyable money i have ever made in my life. a whole 15 minutes out of my life. sell those logs to these people! i seriously think the richer you get, the stupider you get. the logs are beautiful. i have seen mirrors, and windows made out of charred logs which, otherwise would be useless. these pieces are amazing and could be considered art in some circles. i would even buy them for my own house. not only burnt logs, but logs with termites, or pine bark beetles also have their beauty. the termites make awesome looking patterns, and they look exceptional as main support beams in houses. there are so many uses!

but yes i do hate breathing in the smoke every summer. i have been to glacier 3 times, and EVERY single time i smoked out and couldn't get a decent picture of the place, with this last summer being the worst... but you cannot fight mother nature. when she wants fire, it will happen. we are just specks of bacteria on her.
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:19 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,882,223 times
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My morel hunting grounds will remain a secret for now, sorry. When I go morel hunting I never see anyone else. I am now on the scent of TRUFFLES ! I'm not sure of the exact areas but I believe they grow in some of the wetter areas of Montana. You don't need a pig to sniff them out either. I've heard of people just raking the ground and getting lucky. I think a person could train a good scent dog to sniff out the truffles. I think if you had a bunch of fresh morels or truffles it shouldn't e very hard to sell them. Talk to chefs and store managers in advance to line up the buyers before you actually go picking but don't contract as you may not find enough to fill the contracts.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:25 PM
 
495 posts, read 365,586 times
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I find it very interest that these greenie environment groups are so concerned about forest land, mean while sprawl and growth is rampant elsewhere.
For every acre of forest trees they save or try to save there is another 100 acres down in the valley that is turn into a subdivision.

Not that I'm for or agin' those greenie groups but they need to get more brains, they're still into that anti-establishment 60s thing and missing the real problem. I certinaly beleive in preserving are forest, and would probably favor a "Just leave it alone" policey, but I think the greenies are more driven by a personal vindictive dislike for the percieved establishment then a logic approach to saving what it is they trying to save/preserve. Which is the same flaw in all these 60's-greenie-social-alternative-diversity type agendas.....
The root of the problem is founded in the 60's youth resentment - that the establishment didn't let them smoke pot and their parents told them they shouldn't be having 'free sex'...........that resentment is still at work in their minds - you might say they never grew up, and they didn't, just look at some of them.... They still want to get back at the establishment - the greenie movemnet is just one such movement, that's why what they do never seems logical and talking sense to them doesn't seem to work either- because that's not what really drives them, subconsiously what drives them is that imbedded resentment, that resentment has also found it's way into the next generation.
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