You are here: home   Issues   19   Trendy and wrong

Trendy and wrong

Document Actions
Dear HCN,


Blaming federal fire-suppression policy on the conditions leading up to the South Canyon (not Canyon Creek) fire that killed 14 near Glenwood Springs, Colo., is very trendy but bullshit (HCN, 7/25/94). Fuels don't accumulate in the piûon-juniper vegetative types; typical stands are open-spaced canopies with little understory to carry a fire.


In addition, the Gambel oak growing on the site was on the average 6 to 8 feet high, hardly a hazardous fuel condition caused by a federal fire-exclusion policy of the last 80 years. Typically fires burn the leaf litter in oakbrush and not much else. It was a combination of weather, topography and drought-stressed fuels that led to the blowup, and not some dated policy as the author contends.


Writer Jim Carrier discounts the wildland-urban interface as a legitimate reason for suppressing a fire such as South Canyon. Describing it as a "leisurely creeping" wildfire with only "11 homesites on the north in trees' brings to mind the image of the textbook-friendly fire creeping around in the pine needles benignly recycling nutrients and carefully avoiding homes and other improvements. Be assured it would be a hard concept to swallow if you lived in Mitchell Creek or Canyon Creek or anywhere else that had to evacuate during a wildfire.


The key to avoiding scenarios like South Canyon is to be able to respond with adequate resources quickly. Ignoring the problems created by population growth in the West will only postpone the inevitable. Public lands in Colorado are intermixed with private lands and houses: That's a fact. Resource management agencies would be remiss not to suppress wildfires in close proximity to private lands. I think the attempt to link federal policy with the fatalities is additional proof that the media are the ones with the problem.


W. Robertson


Palisade, Colorado








Anonymous
Mar 27, 2007 12:11 PM

';,',';,';';  

lets talk about bad people

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Rancher vs BLM: a 20-year standoff ends with tense roundup |
  2. Photos of a standoff | Armed militia members join a Nevada rancher to pro...
  3. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  4. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  5. The future of the Sacramento Delta hangs in the balance | But few Californians seem to grasp what is at stak...
  1. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  2. Photos of a standoff | Armed militia members join a Nevada rancher to pro...
  3. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  4. Will the Colorado River reach the Gulf of California once more? | Photographs of last month's historic water pulses....
  5. Locals resist a Bakkenization of the Beartooths | South-central Montanans oppose new drilling, forew...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
 
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone