controlled burns

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Feb 28, 2004.

  1. well, the government up here in BC finally figured it out- we had a devastating season of forest fires, did millions of dollars of damage, and they paid big bucks for a ''study''- and guess what- it came in with exactly what we all knew[ and used to do years ago]-controlled burning is the best way of eliminating the build up of debris that makes forest fires much more severe.The practice of controlled burning drew the fire from the ''environmental '' groups who said the smoke contributed to damaging the ozone layer- and their very vocal lobbying curtailed the practise of controlled burning- and last summer we had the mother of forest fires that wiped out whole rural communities- plus got into some urban neighbourhoods and burned blocks of new housing.
    So- we're back to what we knew all along- fire is a natural part of the environment, and in fact essential to the forestry cycle- it cleans up the forest, kills insects , and creates habitat for wildlife.We've been stopping forest fires, and the gypsy moth is out of control, so they are spraying for that-so what's better- let the forest fires cleanse the land , or spray insecticide?You get a little sick of these self styled armchair environmentalists after a while, most of them have never set foot in the woods.
     
  2. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If I remember correctly, one of the huge fires they recently had out West somewhere started out as a controlled burn which got out of hand. It is not something which should be done by amateurs.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     

  3. If I remember correctly, one of the huge fires they
    recently had out West somewhere started out as a
    controlled burn which got out of hand. It is not
    something which should be done by amateurs.


    Years ago I was participating in a "controlled" burn near the Idaho-Canada border
    that got out of control and burned a lot of forest before we put it out. My employer
    at the time: the US Forest Service. Amateurs. Around here, the Nature Conservancy
    stages controlled burns regularly and several have gotten out of control in recent
    years. More amateurs.

    bruce
     
  4. If I recall correctly, the''disasterous'' Yellowstone fires of a few years back were later realized to be beneficial, and the policy is now to let fires burn.When fires are suppressed, then the conditions build up year after year so when a fire does start, whether from a controlled burn, or not, the danger of it turning into a massive blaze is greatly increased.But- very definately, it is not something for amateaurs to attempt- it can get out of hand quickly.
     
  5. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    Bruce, how about giving us some cites of environmental groups denouncing controlled burning, or in your words, "The practice of controlled burning drew the fire from the ''environmental '' groups who said the smoke contributed to damaging the ozone layer- and their very vocal lobbying curtailed the practise of controlled burning."

    Fact is, I doubt you will find even one, because it was environmental groups that have worked hard to get the forest managers to re-introduce fire into forest ecosystems.

    Personally, I get a little sick of armchair stirrers of poo, who want to try and take others' work for their own. It was the timber industry and the USFS who decided around 1910 that fire was destroying a valuable resource and began putting out all fires.

    Fire is a mighty beast and unpredictable as all get out, in fact, it is a science unto itself. There will always be some fire prescriptions that burn past the designated borders. Just what would be your credentials that allow you to call fire managers with the USFS or with the Nature Conservency amateurs?

    While we're at it, assuming that unregistered in this case is all Bruce, what specific controlled burn that you worked on near the Canadian border are you speaking of and when exactly did it occur?

    ::bare, Professional Forester, Environmentalist and lives on the Idaho/Canadian border::
     
  6. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

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    I am opposed to controlled burns and believe that all the fires should be put out quickly. No, I dont qualify as an armchair environmentalist I prefer to be though of as an armchair economist. When we have massive forest fires it helps the economy. Firefighters get overtime. Reporters have something to report. Local hotels are booked by firefighters and people who have had to flee from their homes. Helicopter maintenance people get to work on the chopper which are flying more hours. Constuction workers get to rebuild homes. What an awesome boon to the economy. What we really need is more disasters.
    Kirk
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    One of the benefits of metal t-posts is local farmers could burn their pastures in the spring without burning the fence posts. However, there were once three large wood barns on the farm which are no longer there due to controlled burns which got out of hand. It is amazing how quickly wind driven flames can travel.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  8. Urban Dreamer

    Urban Dreamer Active Member

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    bummer how we fight mother nature and it comes back to burn our butts.

    i used to have misconceptions about fires, but after going to idaho myself to fight one, i got to see firsthand the reality of wildfires. yes, they're awesome for the economy! spending so much money. so many people being paid so much to protect life and property. i am grateful for the opportunity.

    yes, we let some stuff burn, and we put some other stuff out. but the difference is, when a fire goes out of control it burns in such a way that's really not good for the land. it KILLS everything. controlled burns are more like what mother nature would have given us. it's amazing the difference. half of the fires i was working on became 'back burns' where we set our own fire to help control the one that was out of control. odd but effective, fighting fire with fire.

    others have said the things i woudl have said, just wanted to put my 'two cents' in.
     
  9. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    kirk u r being facetious aren't u?
     
  10. dale

    dale Well-Known Member

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    Here in our part of Missouri we have had alot of farmers doing some controlled burns the last couple of weeks. It has kept us firefighters busy. If they would stay controlled it would be nice.
    We dont get overtime since we are volunteer firefighters.

    Seems they all pick the most windy days to burn. then the fire always goes for the neighbors house. The they want us to put it out.

    Isnt fire wonderful!

    dale
     
  11. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here in northern Arizona, with it very large ponderosa forest, we have a couple hundred "wild" fires each year. You never hear about 198 of them as they are small, only the large ones make the news. Arson of the forests has been to blame in at least two of the recent large ones and uncontrolled camp fires along with discarded smoking materials are blamed in many of the small ones.

    The Forest Service is now doing small controlled burns whenever it is not FORECASTED to be windy and wind is common this time of year. Come summer it all stops cause the city folk get major heartburn when they see smoke. Our forest is too large for the small controlled burns to keep up with the undergrowth expansion. Hopefully, the new law on forest thinning will be a major benefit to us forest dwellers. Just as a sidelight, the Forest Service states the local Indian controlled forests are the best managed and they burn and cut when they feel the conditions warrant. Plenty of whinners, but it's their forest and they are empowered to control their own resource.
     
  12. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

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    As a general rule my post should always be read with the expectation that I am being my usual wisecracking self.
    Kirk
     
  13. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Instead of "controlled" burns which have the potential to get out of control, why not do rototilling, chipping, and shredding? Plow some of the stuff back into the soil, sell the rest or give it away to the locals.
     
  14. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You got to be kidding! :confused: We are not a particularly forested state and our largest, the Tonto is 2,969,602 acres. We have many other National Forests in our state. Other western states have a larger number of acres in forest land than we do.
     
  15. horselogger

    horselogger Well-Known Member

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    Fire,in a large number of plant species,is intergral to regeneration.. Around here the saying is"Only you can prevent forest fires....by keeping matches away from national forest employees!"
     
  16. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So horselogger, you are in favor of controlling forest fires by rototilling? :confused:
     
  17. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Sorry, I would rather see some selective rototilling/bulldozing (that would make something of a firebreak), chipping and shredding (even if you just leave it all on the ground to go back into the soil) rather than miles of trees going up in smoke, polluting the air and causing widespread evacuations and so forth. People we know in the Biscuit Fire area (Oregon) were under 30-minute evac notice for quite a while. They are elderly and the smoke/stress did not do their health any good.

    We have enough damage caused by lightning fires, idiots who toss cigarettes out windows and campers who can't be bothered to put campfires out, without taking the risk that controlled burns will go out of control too.

    Unless of course people would just rather thin the forests with selective logging.
     
  18. Calbob

    Calbob Member

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    A very interesting thread. I was somewhat close to the big fires in B.C. last summer. In fact I was 'booted' off my property because of the Louis Creek/Barriere fire. I have a lot of personal views on the matter of controlled burns.

    I think back to most of the relatively small controlled burns that have been conducted in nearby Banff National Park, most of which got out of control.

    I read Kirk's comments and there is no question many people make a lot of money from the fires but at a very great expense to many many more who lose everything, often without insurance. And afterward fire insurance is difficult, if not impossible to obtain. And then there is the uncontrolled run off and environmental damage that occurrs to hillsides and waterways because of the absense of ground cover. Six months after last summers fires the area where I have my property is still suffering a great deal of hardship.

    I'm sure controlled burns may be benificial in some cases but of greater benefit would be the management of 'ladder fuel' around the built up areas, well maintained firebreaks and overall better control of the wildland/urban interface. Keep in mind that the greatest number of disasterous wild fires are started by people which is why we need very agressive management of the wildland/urban interface including road sides Maybe then the wildfires that do start will be smaller and can be allowed to burn themselves out and do what nature intended.

    I do like the idea of chipping and tilling. That was my preferred method for my own property until I got back a series of comments on the use of consumer level wood chippers. (Search 'wood chippers' in the Homesteading forumn). My two cents worth:)
     
  19. way up in Northern BC[ far from habitation] it was common practice to burn off the mountain-the result was sheep habitat-grassland that regenerated quickly following a fire.Failure to ''burn off'' the land resulted in conifers taking over, reducing the neccesary grazing habitat for wild sheep and elk.
    Another interesting phenomina is that burned over forestland may come back with lodgepole pine- even though that wasn;t prevalent before the fire- the pinecones are covered with a resinous coating that requires the heat of a forest fire to crack them open , releasing the seed.The pinecones may lie dormant in the forest duff for decades before a fire releases them.
     
  20. horselogger

    horselogger Well-Known Member

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    Serotomous-spelling is wrong. Won't argue about what the right thing to do is;I will tell you that on my half section I do use controlled burns- In THE FALL ONLY!!!!!!!Never in the spring. I have only four good burning falls in the last ten......Trees ,unless I want to generate a monocrop of Douglas fir,require the fire. If my house aNd all I own burns up, such is life . Nothing lasts for ever ,and since I am the owner,but more importantly,the steward of this piece of property,I will try my damndest to follow the course that nature sets,and pay the price that she extracts.