Wildfire on the mountain: who in their right mind would call this “management”?

1 Sep

Woke up to another nosebleed today. Our tiny ac unit, R2D2, died yesterday. We were using it more for air filtering than cooling, for those days when we don’t dare open the windows. But Dave sent me some good news.


Seems the Butte County Board of Supervisors stood up on their hind legs and sent a “scathing letter” to the Secty of Agriculture and the USFS Chief, calling them on the carpet for poor maintenance of our forests and using wildfires as controlled burns. Go get ’em Bill Connelly! Here’s an excerpt.

Scathing Letter

Butte County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Connelly on Aug. 12 drafted a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Randy Moore over how the Dixie Fire and last year’s North Complex Fire were handled. However, the letter was revised to “make it less tense,” and to reflect the views of the entire board before it was sent.

The original draft accused the Forest Service of dereliction of duty and demanded an investigation into the way the Dixie Fire and last year’s North Complex Fire were handled.

“Because of the gross negligence of the USFS fire management philosophy, we no longer have trust and confidence in the decision-making process being used by the USFS,” it read.

The final letter was sent 12 days later. It stated: “The fire suppression philosophy of the USFS needs to be questioned. The ‘fire use policy’ which has been used consistently by the USFS [which allows a fire to burn provided it does not pose an immediate risk of damage to homes or lives] is clearly not effective in these times. This practice in recent years has not worked. With the extreme dry conditions and weather patterns, fires are able to burn over 15 miles in one day.”

The letter also acknowledges that the Forest Service has recently stated it “will discontinue this policy for this fire season.”

Both versions of the letter request reimbursement for costs related to the county’s response to the fires and recovery efforts.

I’ve also read recently and posted here that USFS Chief Randy Moore has called for an end to the current “let it burn” policy. “The letter also acknowledges that the Forest Service has recently stated it “will discontinue this policy for this fire season.” What does that mean? If only Moore would make them put this fire out NOW, instead of “managing” it for overtime and other benefits. I’m not talking about the kids who hike in with shovels and backpacks, I’m talking about the management types who drive in and out every day in their emaculate uniforms and glistening white pick-up trucks. There’s too many salary hogs at Cal Fire, not enough “boots on the ground”.

Who, in their right mind, would call this mess “management”?

4 Responses to “Wildfire on the mountain: who in their right mind would call this “management”?”

  1. bob September 1, 2021 at 11:40 am #

    None of this is rocket science. This could have been prevented. There’s absolutely no reason this should be happening. That it is happening is not by accident. It is by design. This is what they want. They want to burn us out or smoke us out.

    • Juanita Sumner September 1, 2021 at 4:08 pm #

      I can’t believe the urban dwellers aren’t up in arms – they banned wood stoves in Chico, but the last three summers (more?) we’ve been eating wood smoke from these fires. Sacramento, the Bay Area, people are breathing toxic air all over the state. And public agencies are blaming “the environmentalists”, I just don’t buy that. I don’t believe they have enough power. I’d say it’s the unions who demand the overtime.

      Here’s what else I’ll say – these fires will end abruptly when they run out of budget, just watch. Fire season used to end with the first significant rains, now it ends when they are out of overtime $$$. In 2018, they called it a season in September, even though there hadn’t been rain for months, and there was none on the radar. When Paradise burned on November 8, they’d all left, the planes were in storage, there was nobody to fight it. It took them two days to make any response, and most of Paradise was gone by noon on the first day.

      That was the single event in my life when I quit trusting the “public safety” sector, and most of the elected officials. The kids that hike in with shovels and picks are part time workers who don’t even make living wage. They work the season, and then they either go to winter jobs or unemployment. Cal Fire management make more in overtime than their regular salary – as much as triple their salary. And then they tell us, this is how they manage the forest – no, it’s how you milk a cow.

  2. julie cambridge September 4, 2021 at 8:13 am #

    I agree this is bullshit. CalFire lets the Dixie fire rage but manages to save the second homes of the rich in South Lake Tahoe. From the horses mouth:

    “First, the progress on the Caldor Fire could not have happened without the sheer number of firefighters, engines, helicopters, bulldozers and other resources. Over the course of the week, nearly a thousand more firefighters arrived; at the peak, firefighter boots on the ground numbered 4,451.

    Second, Wilbourn said that the massive deployment of resources in the Lake Tahoe basin over the last 5 to 10 years to prevent wildfire and promote forest health — steps that were taken to prevent a catastrophe exactly like the one the Caldor Fire threatened — directly helped firefighters combat flames in Lake Tahoe this week.

    “Oh, it’s made an incredible difference,” Wilbourn said. “We have 523 fire engines on this incident. We’ve got 84 water tenders, 27 helicopters, 62 hand crews and 95 dozers. So we have a tremendous amount of resources fighting this fire.”

    • Juanita Sumner September 4, 2021 at 3:04 pm #

      My husband kept saying they wouldn’t burn the rich people out, and there it is.

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