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Socalmountains.com :: Forums :: GENERAL DISCUSSION
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Environmentalists Destroyed California’s Forests

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Author Post
Rumor Mill
Fri Sep 11 2020, 05:35PM Email Thread Print View

Registered Member #191
Joined: Tue Dec 05 2006, 06:43AM
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Posts: 3178
By Edward Ring
September 10, 2020

Millions of acres of California forest have been blackened by wildfires this summer, leading to the usual angry denunciations from the usual quarters about climate change. But in 1999, the Associated Press reported that forestry experts had long agreed that “clearing undergrowth would save trees,” and that “years of aggressive firefighting have allowed brush to flourish that would have been cleared away by wildfires.” But very little was done. And now fires of unprecedented size are raging across the Western United States.

“Sen. Feinstein blames Sierra Club for blocking wildfire bill,” reads the provocative headline on a 2002 story in California’s Napa Valley Register. Feinstein had brokered a congressional consensus on legislation to thin “overstocked” forests close to homes and communities, but could not overcome the environmental lobby’s disagreement over expediting the permit process to thin forests everywhere else.

Year after year, environmentalists litigated and lobbied to stop efforts to clear the forests through timber harvesting, underbrush removal, and controlled burns. Meanwhile, natural fires were suppressed and the forests became more and more overgrown. The excessive biomass competed for the same water, soil, and light a healthier forest would have used, rendering all of the trees and underbrush unhealthy. It wasn’t just excess biomass that accumulated, but dried out and dead biomass.

What happened among California’s tall stands of Redwood and Ponderosa Pine also happened in its extensive chaparral. Fire suppression along with too many environmentalist-inspired bureaucratic barriers to controlled burns and undergrowth removal turned the hillsides and canyons of Southern California into tinderboxes.

In 2009, after huge blazes wiped out homes and forced thousands to evacuate, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich observed: “The environmentalists have gone to the extreme to prevent controlled burns, and as a result we have this catastrophe today.”

In 2014, Republican members of Congress tried again to reduce the bureaucracy associated with “hazardous fuel projects” that thin out overgrown forests. True to form, the bill got nowhere thanks to environmental lobbyists who worried it would undermine the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the law that requires thorough impact assessments ahead of government decisions on public lands.

In a blistering report published in the California Globe on how environmentalists have destroyed California’s forests, investigative journalist Katy Grimes interviewed Representative Tom McClintock, a Republican who represents communities in and around the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California. McClintock has worked for years to reform NEPA and other barriers to responsible forest management.

“The U.S. Forest Service used to be a profitable federal agency,” McClintock told Grimes. “Up until the mid-1970s, we managed our national forests according to well-established and time-tested forest management practices. But 40 years ago, we replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a doctrine of benign neglect. Ponderous, Byzantine laws and regulations administered by a growing cadre of ideological zealots in our land management agencies promised to save the environment. The advocates of this doctrine have dominated our law, our policies, our courts and our federal agencies ever since.”

But these zealots have not protected the forests. They have destroyed them. The consequences are far-reaching.

Decimating the Timber Industry, Disrupting the Ecosystem

Few people, including the experts, bother to point out how overgrown forests reduce the water supply. But when watersheds are choked with dense underbrush competing for moisture, precipitation and runoff cannot replenish groundwater aquifers or fill up reservoirs. Instead, it’s immediately soaked up by the trees and brush. Without clearing and controlled burns, the overgrown foliage dies anyway.

A new activist organization in California, the “California Water for Food and People Movement,” created a Facebook group for people living in the hellscape created by misguided environmentalist zealotry. Comments and posts from long-time residents of the Sierra foothills, where fires have exploded in recent years, yield eyewitness testimony to how environmentalist restrictions on forest management have gone horribly wrong. Examples:

“I’m 70, and I remember controlled burns, logging, and open grazing.”

“With the rainy season just ahead, the aftermath of the Creek Fire will challenge our water systems for years to come. Erosion will send toxic debris and sediment cascading into streams, rivers, and reservoirs, reducing their capacity to carry and hold water. Dirty air, dirty water, and the opposite of environmentalism are on full display right now, brought to us by the environmental posers who will no doubt use this crisis to unleash a barrage of ‘climate change did it’ articles.”

“Many thanks to Sierra Club and other environmental groups. You shut down logging/brush removal and had a ‘don’t touch’ approach to our forests. You shut down access roads and let them get overgrown, so now they can’t be used for fire suppression and emergency equipment. You fought ranchers for grazing, which helped keep the forest floors clean. You made fun of Trump when he said we need to rake the forest. Trust me these forest rakes and logging would have prevented the devastating fires we see now.”

The economics of responsible forest management, given the immensity of America’s western forests, requires profitable timber harvesting to play a role. But California has no commercial timber operations on state-owned land. And since 1990, when the environmentalist assault on California’s timber industry began in earnest, its timber industry has shrunk to half its former size. Reviving California’s timber industry, so the collective rate of harvest equals the collective rate of growth, would go a long way towards solving the problem of catastrophic fires.

Instead, California’s environmentalists only redouble their nonsense arguments. Expect these fires to justify even more “climate change” legislation that does nothing to clear the forests of overgrown tinder, and everything to clear the forests, and the chaparral, of people and towns.

Expect these fires to fuel a new round of legislation containing urban growth while mandating suburban densification, with increased rationing of energy and water.

Expect the “climate emergency” to accelerate in synergistic lockstep with the pandemic emergency and the anti-racism emergency. Expect all three of these emergencies to become issues of public health, thereby eliminating inconvenient constitutional roadblocks to swift action.

Misdirected Union Priorities

Meanwhile, tragically, expect California’s politically powerful firefighters’ union to do little or nothing to support the timber industry or rural inhabitants who don’t want to move into urban condos.

As Steve Greenhut explained in a recent column in the Orange County Register: “Frankly, union power drives state and local firefighting policies. The median compensation package for firefighters has topped $240,000 a year in some locales. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection firefighters earn less, but their packages still total nearly $150,000 a year. The number of California firefighters who receive compensation packages above $500,000 a year is mind-blowing.”

No wonder firefighters are overwhelmed during California’s wildfire season. The state can’t afford to hire enough of them.

And when these firefighter unions could have been pushing for legislation to clear the forests back in 2019, where instead did their leftist leadership direct their activist efforts? They marched in solidarity with the striking United Teachers of Los Angeles. The teachers’ unions have done to California’s public schools what environmentalists have done to California’s forests.

If an honest history of California in the early 21st century is ever written, the verdict will be unequivocal. Forests that thrived in California for over 20 million years were allowed to become overgrown tinderboxes. And then, with stupefying ferocity, within the span of a few decades, they burned to the ground. Many of them never recovered.

This epic tragedy was the direct result of policies put in place by misguided environmentalist zealots, misinformed suckers who sent them money, and the litigators and lobbyists they hired, who laughed all the way to the bank.

This article originally appeared in American Greatness.


Millennia’s sorry to tell you that there is no Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny, No Tooth Fairy, Have a great day
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LD-Ordie
Sat Sep 12 2020, 06:06AM
Registered Member #161361
Joined: Tue Sep 08 2020, 08:29AM
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A well written article which I could not agree more with.


Comment removed due to political content.

Part time Blue Jay resident since 1969

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NShore.Allen
Sat Sep 12 2020, 07:44AM

wanna be UTH
Registered Member #4616
Joined: Sat Jul 28 2012, 04:37PM
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Posts: 2423
during a camp fire discussion with cub scouts in Barton Flats the ranger asked the kids "how many trees do you see around you?" The kids said "thousands.. a gazillion.." The ranger said "correct, there are a lot. In fact there are over 400 per acre in our forests!" Next question "how many trees should there be?" After some guessing the ranger said "these forests should be at 40 trees per acre. We have 10 times too many"

This was in 2007.

A smile is a curve that can set things a lot of things straight
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RH_Runner
Sat Sep 12 2020, 08:56AM

Registered Member #13942
Joined: Mon Feb 06 2017, 03:26AM
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Posts: 157
LD-Ordie wrote ...

A well written article which I could not agree more with.


Comment removed due to political content.


Exactly! The comment may have been removed, but we all know and most likely agree!

I started out with nothing and I still have most of it!
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Airport Razz
Sat Sep 12 2020, 09:12AM
Registered Member #7434
Joined: Tue Feb 12 2013, 10:07PM
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Posts: 566
I remember SOFA over in Lake Arrowhead being a big contribuating factor to this mess. Are they still active?
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AudioGuy
Sat Sep 12 2020, 11:39AM
Registered Member #156367
Joined: Wed Aug 12 2020, 01:28PM
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Posts: 70
Geoengineering has got to be very heavily contributing as well.

It used to be denied but is now openly admitted.

Spend some real time learning about it.

Always looking for microphones, vacuum tubes, music production and recording equipment, old broadcasting equipment, electronic test equipment, large vintage speakers, vintage stereo/audio equipment, and stuff like that...
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Tibia w6ajo
Sat Sep 12 2020, 12:36PM
Tibia
Registered Member #203
Joined: Sat Dec 09 2006, 08:21PM
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Posts: 60
Viewed first hand how well thinning works. Our family's local camping area has been the Kern Plateau, namely Horse Meadows campground. That area, Cherry Hill, was "treated" in 2001 (if I recall correctly). In 2002, the McNally fire burned 105,000 acres North of Cherry Hill. The Cherry Hill area was spared with credit being given to the thinning a year earlier.

Bob Bass
Kansas City Barbeque Society (Master Certified BBQ Judge), Steak Cookoff Association (Certified Judge), Operation BBQ Relief
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Skier
Sat Sep 12 2020, 01:48PM

Registered Member #2863
Joined: Sat Mar 17 2012, 09:02AM
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Posts: 1844
Interesting. Here's another point of view:

Ralph Bloemers
September 10 at 7:28 AM ·
Friends - for 20 years I have spent time in burned landscapes, with fire experts, biologists, foresters and ecologists. I have also visited with home safety experts, firefighters and first responders.
Last year I testified numerous times to the Oregon Wildfire Council about the need for Oregonians to harden their homes to fire.
I have also spent the last three years with Trip Jennings and Sara Quinn making films about fire in the West and the solutions. The feature length film is called Elemental and it is almost complete. The message from the experts is clear.


1) most big fires are driven by drought and wind (climate) not by the amount of fuels or forest conditions. While vegetation and topography are important factors, remember grasslands and shrublands burn too. In CA this year nearly 70 percent of landscapes that burned so far were not forestlands.

2) forest management - thinning, logging, clearing is a shot in the dark and often increases fire danger. Around homes it can help to reduce the immediate risk and provide for defensible space, but in the backcountry or further from homes it makes little to no difference in terms of home safety. And the forest grows back. We do not have enough money to tend 350 million acres, and often the tending is logging that takes the most fire resistant material.

3) in extreme fire weather firefighters just try to help people escape. They don’t have enough wet stuff to put on the red stuff. We need to stop believing that firefighting will save us and put out fires. In Detroit-Idanha, the firefighters fled. In Paradise the first responders told us they would have needed every fire truck from ALL of California in town within 1 hour to be able to save SOME of the homes. The fire hit the town in about 2-3 hours after ignition as it moved very rapidly (3x normal rates) through previously logged and salvaged areas.
AND, most important

4) if we want to protect homes and communities from fire, then we have to harden our homes to fire, prevent ember penetration and ignition. And it is relatively easy and not high cost. Cover vents, clean gutters, hardscape perimeter, use non-flammable materials on the exterior...

As to the long held belief, promoted by industry, that it is a problem in our forests, that logging-management-thinning can solve it — well it does not hold up to scrutiny. Let’s take a look at just one example.
Last night the Bear fire in the northern Sierra Nevada blew up. This area has been heavily logged over the past couple of decades--clearcuts, commercial thinning, "salvage" logging of snags, you name it, mostly on private lands but also quite a bit on National Forests too. The Bear fire just dramatically expanded today when it got to this massive area of heavy logging. The fire is now over 200,000 acres (mostly from last 24 hours), and at least three people have been killed as of now. There will likely be more. This situation is very much like the Camp fire that hit Paradise in terms of the direct threat of recent logging to lives and homes, by contributing, along with the dominant force of extreme weather and climate change, to very rapid rate of fire spread, giving people little time to evacuate.

At this point, anyone--including you and any reporters, agency or university scientists--who is still promoting logging as "fuel reduction", and saying the problem is in our forests, or a lack of firefighting resources — or denying the fact that weather and climate change are the dominant drivers of fire behavior - or not acknowledging the fact that logging is a substantial additional contributor to increased fire spread and intensity, is really just putting people at greater risk.

If you have time, here is a video where the author talks more in depth about the topic. [Click Here]

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Skier
Sat Sep 12 2020, 01:54PM

Registered Member #2863
Joined: Sat Mar 17 2012, 09:02AM
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Posts: 1844
Wildfire currently burning in heavily logged area of California near Lake Oroville.


All those spots are clear cuts.




North Complex (Fire)





[Click Here]
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Rumor Mill
Sat Sep 12 2020, 03:32PM

Registered Member #191
Joined: Tue Dec 05 2006, 06:43AM
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Posts: 3178


While fire has always helped shape our landscape, today’s fires are not those of the past; they are often hotter, more destructive, and more dangerous to fight. In recent years, most of us have seen televised pictures of wildland fires, evacuated communities, burned homes, and blackened forests, or witnessed these first hand. In part, the reason for the difference is that many of today’s forests often have unprecedented levels of flammable materials including among other materials: underbrush, needles and leaves.

A century ago a ponderosa pine forest may have had some 25 mature trees per acre and be easily traversed on horseback or by a horse-drawn wagon. Today the same forest may have more than 1.000 trees on the same acre, creating conditions that are much too thick for the passage of a hiker. These tightly packed trees are smaller, weaker, more disease prone and more susceptible to insect attack than their ancestors. Such forests form huge reservoirs of fuel awaiting ignition, and pose a particularly significant threat when drought is also a factor.

Millennia’s sorry to tell you that there is no Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny, No Tooth Fairy, Have a great day
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Dave™
Oct 21 : 08:09pm
Me too, Sportj. I just received this text. "Your ballot for the 2020 General Election was received and will be counted. Thank you for voting!".

Sportyj
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I got a text that my ballot was counted! Wahoo! So anyone else who is waiting (after using the drop boxes) it took exactly one week.

Sportyj
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MtnTeach - the ballot boxes aren’t third party. They are official county elections office drop boxes.

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Dropped off mines directly at the post office, don't need a 3rd party. Ballottrax worked fine for me!

wisteria1
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7:30 a.m. Tues - given to mail lady at Crestline Post Office
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USPS worked fine!

Humble Daisy
Oct 21 : 03:46pm
I dropped my ballot in the dropbox at the Crestline library a couple of weeks ago, it took about a week for ballot tracker to notify me that my ballot had been received and counted.

Airport Razz
Oct 21 : 03:41pm
Yes, I was so politely informed by the Big Bear Postmaster that putting anything in the box outside is no guarantee it will get processed. They even tried to extend that non-responsibility to the box inside the PO. So basically he was telling me my mail no matter where I put it, will maybe get delivered, depending on how the post office feels that day. Amazing.

SCM ALERT🚨
Oct 21 : 03:40pm
USFS: Volunteers this past Saturday covered 488 graffiti tags, took out 5 illegal campfire rings and removed 187 pounds of trash along Deep Creek and Hesperia Falls.

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Great work volunteers! 🤝 [Click Here]

Casadelgado
Oct 21 : 03:40pm
Sport, I believe the only couple I asked said 4 days but I'll text them and ask again. All were impressed with the tracking service.

Kel
Oct 21 : 03:27pm
I dod, however, use the indoor drop at the Post Office rather than an outside box.

Kel
Oct 21 : 03:24pm
Official Absentee ballot instructs us to go to SBCountyElections.com. I dropped mine on 10/17, it was received at the SB County registrar on 10/20.

Sportyj
Oct 21 : 03:19pm
Casadelgado - Did they say how long it took for them to show up as received?

Sportyj
Oct 21 : 03:19pm
Dave - ha ha I don't know why I assumed you dropped them off last Monday! Keep me posted if yours is updated any time soon.

Casadelgado
Oct 21 : 02:14pm
We have 3 friends who used the drop box at the Library and they all have been received by the tracking. Dropping ours off tomorrow.

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Oct 21 : 01:32pm
We mailed our ballots and got confirmation that they are where they need to be


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