Funding for USFS "fire-proofing"?

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Sat Aug 19 11:43:19 EST 2000

In article <d9wn5.1647$Pi.75727 at>,
  "Larry Harrell" <fotoware at> wrote:
> I heard recently that the USFS is sending to Congress a proposal to thin out
> the underbrush from Montana to California in one fell (pardon the slip)
> swoop. The USFS is putting a 12 BILLION dollar price tag on the project to
> "save" the forests of the west.

Attempting to "save" the forests this way may have the opposite effect.
 I haven't heard the details of the plan yet
> but, the timing of this is right on with the fires raging and the election
> looming. What I see from inside the USFS is:
> 1) This project would take forever to implement on this scale, trying to use
> a "one-size-fits-all" approach. Some rules and regulations would have to be
> side-stepped (ala Salvage Rider)
You're darn tootin'! What works on one site _will not_ work on another
site with different rainfall, shrubbery (undergrowth), and different ESP-
protected/sensitive life. But it is interesting none-the-less, because
for the last 40 years (since abolishing the CCC, the fuel accumulation
has been accumulating.

> 2) The USFS currently does not have the personnel and expertise to implement
> such a huge project like this. Downsizing has decimated the workforce and
> there is a distinct lack of timber-savvy people left in the agency.
Hum? You think some salvage-rider burrocrat has a sliver somewhere?
> 3) Threatened and endangered species will prohibit this type of thinning
> work in vast areas. Here in California, Spotted Owl activity centers bar ANY
> projects and some of these large blocks of lands are currently in imminent
> danger from fire.
Say goodbye national forests, hello charcoal alley.
> 4) This $12 billion price tag will have to include "service contracts" which
> pay loggers and other crews to thin out the flammable thickets of small,
> sub-merchantable trees and pile brush. In many areas though, the projects
> COULD be paid for with small merchantable timber cut from in between the
> larger thick-barked pines we want to save. We ARE currently doing this kind
> of management on my Ranger District.
It's nice to hear someone is doing that.
> 5) The USFS will have to increase it's permanent staff to implement this
> plan which should take many years to complete.
And by the time it is completed, it will have to start all over again
anyway, thereby setting up a circulation loop. Hmmm. Actually, that's
what I've been doing that least 25 years on a piece of family forest land
within a mile of a known Northern Spotted owl nest anyway.
 Is the public willing to
> allow government to get bigger?
This certainly bears a closer look-see.
> I'm looking forward to seeing reactions from all angles on this proposal.
> I'm also very interested in seeing our forests "saved" by management of the
> understory. Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of controversy and
> finger-pointing over this proposal. Can we overcome these issues to avert
> fire storms that burn together, impacting our mountains for generations?
It is possible that planting Pacific yew is a possibility under these
newly opened understories?

Daniel B. Wheeler

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