New Wildfire In Sequoia National Forest
(image by Wildfire Spreads in Sequoia National Forest)
Decades of fire-suppression mismanagement by the United States Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management now threatens the Giant Sequoia in Sequoia National Forest on almost a yearly basis. The Giant Sequoia is a light-fire-adapted remnant species that goes back to the time of the dinosaurs, but it and its ecosystem survival is threatened by decades of stupid misguided government Smokey-the-Bear fire-suppression policies. NBC News reports:
"BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Federal officials accelerated their attack Sunday on a smoky wildfire that threatened more than 500 homes in central California as they raced to control the fast-moving blaze before hotter, drier weather sets in. The Shirley Fire in and around the Sequoia National Forest had destroyed at least two structures, authorities said."
The bark is thick on Sequoia protecting it from light ground fire that it needs to clean and burn out the competition. However, light-fire suppression allows for decades of fuel to build up on the forest floor and catastrophic fire species to grow in the understory. In times of drought and high winds as is happening this week even it can't withstand the resulting catastrophic fire that reaches into its crown and burns up its roots underground.
Yes the United States Forest Service and other agencies now know the damage they have done and are even allowing lightning-caused wildfires to burn under "cool" damp conditions in the back country. They are even making timid steps at using controlled fire, also known as prescribed fire, to simulate light natural fires, but this timid approach is not enough to save the Sequoia and other light-fire ecosystems. What is needed is a very aggressive policy of controlled burning under the right conditions during the fall, winter and spring, so that there is no debris left to burn when drought and high winds come during the peak summer months.
It is important for the public to understand that the Indians burned these forests and grasslands frequently even more so than nature did with lightning before the white man. The result was all over the world open park-like old-growth forests evolved and were nurtured and protected from wildfire by so called, "primitive man" who was a whole lot smarter about land management than current land managers.
All over the world including California and the Western United States hundreds of millions of acres are being degraded, trashed and ravaged by disease, because of the exclusion of light cleansing fires that nurture the land and protected from catastrophic fire. This ecological disaster happened when the native frequent fire managers were removed, killed or died from European diseases. To make matters even worse European foresters began suppressing fire from these ecosystems over 120 years ago rather than continue to manage these fire-type forests as had the natives.
As the wildfire situation gets worse and worse more and more billions of dollars are being poured like gasoline on a fire for better and better fire suppression. Added to this special interests have their lobbyists working overtime trying to get even more billions for fire suppression while the fledgling fire ecologists and light-fire managers have almost no lobbying power. The question is do we spend the billions necessary now to fix this problem and make most wildfire a thing of the past, or do we continue to make the situation worse by improving our fire-suppression capabilities?
According to the statistics in Wildfire Today  the average number of acres devastated by wildfire in the United States lower 48, has risen steadily from above 2 million acres in 1990 to above 6 million acres in 2013. An article in Headwaters Economics  states that U.S. national wildfire-fighting costs have averaged $1.8 billion annually for the past five years, with costs are set to explode to between $2.3 and $4.3 billion.
It just blows my mind that because of the dumbing down of the public by government land-management propaganda, environmentalists are screaming about the loss of a few trees in their neighborhood, when billions of trees, plants, and animals are needlessly being wiped out by stupid fire-suppression policies in light-fire ecosystems. That's why I wrote my book Fire in Nature, A Fire Activist's Guide and made it free on its website to do my small part to halt this needless destruction of light-fire ecosystems globally and the resulting mass extinctions of plants and animals dependent on these ecosystems.