Fires got you thinking abt forest mgmt?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Fires got you thinking abt forest mgmt?

    Personally I've always been a big fan or burning, evidence to me suggests it's healthy for the forest when done properly.

    Curious if the fires currently scorching WNC have anyone else leaning toward the active mgmt that could prevent some of this. If Pisgah lit up now oh lawd it'd suck. If CHRO would burn regularly they wouldn't now have 3k acres and 150+ people on the ground trying to contain it and evacuate neighborhoods etc.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I believe USFS does controlled burning in some areas. I remember reading an article about how the USFS out west would be better off if they used the same practices here. Also, the drought conditions here are rare. Pisgah area is technically a temperate rain forest. If current conditions are the new norm, then management practices may need to change.

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    Weren't most of the fires sent intentionally?

    They arrested someone in GA for setting some of the wildfires we have here so he could post pictures on Facebook of the fires. I thought I read someone was arrested in NC, also.

    How has DuPont and Pisgah been impacted? Is the smoke noticeable there?

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    The smoke has been noticeable in the entire region for the last three days. There are no active fires in the Pisgah District, nor are there any in Dupont. But, as dry as it is, that could change, all it wil take is one missed place cigarette butt.

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    The NC media has been using the word 'arson' in headlines. When you read the articles, if refers to accidental arson, like campfires. Word play to the benefit of no one. One if the images floating around on social media is of a controlled burn of the Nantahala Outdoor Center regional facility as if it were being protected from the wildfire.

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    I'm no expert, but I'd guess that this incredible drought has created fire potential conditions that would not be totally alleviated by any management policy. In other words, increased use of controlled burns and other forestry practices might indeed have helped, but it would not have been a panacea or prevent-all.
    These are once-in-a-lifetime (I hope) fire potential conditions.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    I'm no expert, but I'd guess that this incredible drought has created fire potential conditions that would not be totally alleviated by any management policy. In other words, increased use of controlled burns and other forestry practices might indeed have helped, but it would not have been a panacea or prevent-all.
    These are once-in-a-lifetime (I hope) fire potential conditions.
    And I believe much of the fuel is the falling leaves, which normally wouldn't be an issue any other time of year.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    And I believe much of the fuel is the falling leaves, which normally wouldn't be an issue any other time of year.

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    That, and thousands of dead hemlocks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Also, the drought conditions here are rare. Pisgah area is technically a temperate rain forest.
    Woah, pump the brakes sir. Drought conditions like this are not rare, they are cyclical. They happen about every 4 to 5 years. We had one in 2007 and we had another in 2009. As for the temperate rain forest, you have to understand the diversity of the PNF. At one end sitting in SW Transylvania County, you have the wettest area in all of North Carolina, and on the other, you have Asheville, the driest city in all of North Carolina. Yes parts of it are considered a temperate forest but that just depends on where they calculate rainfall.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    I'm no expert, but I'd guess that this incredible drought has created fire potential conditions that would not be totally alleviated by any management policy. In other words, increased use of controlled burns and other forestry practices might indeed have helped, but it would not have been a panacea or prevent-all.
    These are once-in-a-lifetime (I hope) fire potential conditions.
    That is if you believe the droughts to be happenstance. They aren't, they occur regularly 2 or 3x a decade and yes that is something management can plan for.
    Last edited by WNCmtnman; 11-21-2016 at 02:59 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    And I believe much of the fuel is the falling leaves, which normally wouldn't be an issue any other time of year.

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    Dead leaves on the ground are not usually considered a high intensity 'fuel load' like we are seeing. Leaves burn up quick and don't engulf entire forests, and are rather easy to douse, move, etc. That isn't the issue. The issue is mature, dense, high canopy forests. These fires are spreading from treetop to treetop (canopy to canopy) and engulfing entire forests because of virtually no management plan in the last 2 or 3 decades. These forests need to be thinned, they need younger growth.

    Just look at the intensity and sheer size of these flames. These aren't sporadic hemlocks and dead Autumn leaves.

    Fires got you thinking abt forest mgmt?-lakelurefire.jpg

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Dead leaves on the ground are not usually considered a high intensity 'fuel load' like we are seeing. Leaves burn up quick and don't engulf entire forests, and are rather easy to douse, move, etc. That isn't the issue. The issue is mature, dense, high canopy forests. These fires are spreading from treetop to treetop (canopy to canopy) and engulfing entire forests because of virtually no management plan in the last 2 or 3 decades. These forests need to be thinned, they need younger growth.

    Just look at the intensity and sheer size of these flames. These aren't sporadic hemlocks and dead Autumn leaves.

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    Yeah great post.

    Dead leaves don't sustain the fires we are having. Don't let em move like they're moving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    Yeah great post.

    Dead leaves don't sustain the fires we are having. Don't let em move like they're moving.
    These are the type of forest fires that have been brewing here in WNC, for about 3 decades. 3+ decades of no management, blocked by enviros and their fear mongering. We've had near misses in the past, as every few years pass we have a drought, but all the while no management. This year became the breaking point, the point at which the right conditions finally gave way. We can't help the drought, but we can help the forest.

    So many people think an untouched forest is a good forest when in reality, even mother nature burns her own forests. She knows that high canopy forests do not provide for her inhabitants of the forest floor as sunlight cannot reach the forest floor. So we have cyclical droughts, and burning forests. Where management comes into play, is that we as humans can assist the natural process without allowing for devastation such as we are seeing now. Thinning our forests allows more sun to reach the forest floor, allowing for more understory. Understory provides bedding areas and food supply for many of the animals that DO NOT live in the forest canopy. Understory fires are much easier to contain than those 40 feet in the air. The benefits are limitless if done right.

  14. #14
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    It's not like there is NO management plan around here. There was a 1,000-acre prescribed burn in Pisgah in 2015.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    That is if you believe the droughts to be happenstance. They aren't, the occur regularly 2 or 3x a decade and yes that is something management can plan for.
    1) I'm pro smart management.
    2) This is a historic, landmark, fire-and-drought event. I've had 1.1 inches of rain at my house since September 1- the least over 2 months in the 10 years I've been keeping track. I've lived here for 20 years and this is- by far- the most prolific series of forest fires in that time. I'm not going to post a bunch of citations here, but people can do the research themselves. This is all unique and representing it as otherwise just isn't accurate.

    WNC Mtnman, I'm really not trying to debate you here. Your post history has shown you are supportive of a management plan that focuses on a traditional mountain economy and/or hunting- both priorities I have a great deal of respect for. This drought and these fires, however, are out-of-the-norm and don't fit into normal discussions about management plans IMO.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by COTarHeel View Post
    It's not like there is NO management plan around here. There was a 1,000-acre prescribed burn in Pisgah in 2015.
    It was actually only around 500 acres and 500 acres every few years, when the combined acreage in WNC, that is owned by the federal government, exceeds well over a million acres, is not a management plan. The USFS has had a management plan, only for it to be met with resistance and litigation.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown View Post
    1) I'm pro smart management.
    2) This is a historic, landmark, fire-and-drought event. I've had 1.1 inches of rain at my house since September 1- the least over 2 months in the 10 years I've been keeping track. I've lived here for 20 years and this is- by far- the most prolific series of forest fires in that time. I'm not going to post a bunch of citations here, but people can do the research themselves. This is all unique and representing it as otherwise just isn't accurate.

    WNC Mtnman, I'm really not trying to debate you here. Your post history has shown you are supportive of a management plan that focuses on a traditional mountain economy and/or hunting- both priorities I have a great deal of respect for. This drought and these fires, however, are out-of-the-norm and don't fit into normal discussions about management plans IMO.
    No, it isn't unique! It isn't unique at all!

    The drought in 2007 was longer, more widespread and more severe. 2002 was just as bad. Let's do a simple fact check from the NCSU climate center:

    -August 2007 finished as the 2nd-warmest and 2nd-driest on record, and by the beginning of September, more than 60% of the state was classified in Extreme Drought conditions.

    -In August 2007, 597 wildfires -- nearly three times the normal number -- were reported in North Carolina.

    -Although the worst of the summer heat was past, conditions didn't improve in the fall. The result was a still-worsening drought across the state that quickly became one of the worst on record. By early October, 37% of North Carolina was classified in D4 (Exceptional Drought) conditions -- the highest category on the US Drought Monitor's spectrum. That surpassed the maximum extent from the summer 2002 drought.

    -Those fears were realized in November, when the state averaged less than an inch of total rainfall. Drought conditions expanded once again and water supplies began to run dangerously low. In December, 14 water systems had less than 100-day supplies remaining, including Durham, which had just 38 days worth of water in its reservoir.

    -By the end of 2007, the drought cost North Carolina's agriculture industry an estimated $573 million in damage, including $130 million to soybean farmers alone.

    You can't judge the severity of the drought based on the severity of the fires. The forest and the drought are each their own separate issues that when they meet, create the byproduct of what we are seeing today. It's like creating a graph and on one axis plotting each year that we find ourselves in a D4 (Exceptional Drought) status and on the other axis, plotting every year that went by in which nothing was done about the fuel load increasing on government land. Eventually as they draw closer, you see what is beginning to happen right now before your eyes. 2007 was worse, 2002 was just as bad. You can group all 3 into the D4 status, and that's 3 exceptional droughts in a 14 year period or 1 every 4.5 years. These aren't rare, they are steadily constant and you can either continue to bury your head in the sand and continue to label every one as a 'rare event' of which you'll never see another in your life, or you can prepare. The choice is yours.
    Last edited by WNCmtnman; 11-15-2016 at 01:44 PM.

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    And furthermore, to say 'This drought and these fires, however, are out-of-the-norm and don't fit into normal discussions about management plans IMO', is a highly, highly dangerous precedent.

    Fires got you thinking abt forest mgmt?-drout.jpg

    As noted above from the NCSU climate office, the drought indices are steady. To say that this data and regularity gathered, from '84,'89, '96, '02, '07, '12 and now '16, should not fit into normal management discussions, is wildly negligent. So is believing these fires are just happenstance with no viable answer.
    Last edited by WNCmtnman; 11-15-2016 at 01:45 PM.

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    Here is an excerpt from a USFS research on fuel management on lands in the Southern Appalachians:

    'Fire exclusion caused important changes in the structure and function of Southern Appalachian forests (Vose 2000). Stem density has increased in the shrub layer and species composition has changed with a greater dominance of shrubs such as mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia). High vegetation density has inhibited regeneration of overstory species and decreased diversity of herbaceous communities in the understory (Chastain and Townsend 2008).'

    And the statement of the day belongs to this:

    'This is especially pertinent in the context of climate change scenarios where more frequent droughts and warmer temperatures could exacerbate the effects of disturbances such as native and exotic pathogens. These effects could be especially large in long unburned mature stands with older decadent individuals and well developed shrub layers. Effective mitigation of these threats depends on effective fuels monitoring at large scales and adaptive management techniques to meet future challenges.'

    So even the USFS years ago, knew that droughts becoming more common, had a place in the discussion of forest management.

    https://www.na.fs.fed.us/fire/cwedoc...ppalachian.pdf

  20. #20
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    I would like to know how many of the, as you say, recent "enviros" lawsuits were against controlled burns? Isn't the reality that Pisgah is rain forest and it is much harder to burn during the appropriate times of the year and it is in fact much less about lawsuits? The USFS and NCFS tries to, and does, burn appropriate stands (as their budgets allow) every single year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bfluid View Post
    I would like to know how many of the, as you say, recent "enviros" lawsuits were against controlled burns? Isn't the reality that Pisgah is rain forest and it is much harder to burn during the appropriate times of the year and it is in fact much less about lawsuits? The USFS and NCFS tries to, and does, burn appropriate stands (as their budgets allow) every single year.
    I never said the burns get tied up in litigation, I said the overall forest management plans do. The burns have been about the only thing allowed to squeak through yet not even they are on the scale necessary to prevent the issues we're seeing now.

    Look, it doesn't matter to me. You can either not manage and watch 50K+ acres go up in flames or you can give our forests a chance, allow the USFS to manage it with less destructive means, and still get the same result, maybe better. There are 70 square miles ablaze currently, that has cost over $10 million to fight (both of which are rising by the day), with no rain in sight and the threat that these can continue to burn for another month. Is the next drought in about 5 years going to another 'rare event'? Will the next fires be 'out of the norm'? The USFS has told us for years, it will happen, the fuel load is too high, there isn't enough management. I'm telling you again for the future, it will happen again, the fuel load is too high, there isn't enough management. At what point will people begin to listen?

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    And just like that, out of Montana:

    'The science overwhelmingly shows that excessive fuel loads, overly crowded tree stands, and trees weakened by drought, insects and diseases all contribute to the severity of wildfires. In our judgment, more active management to address these factors, including more responsible and timely harvesting, is unquestionably needed.'


    Congress must act on national forests | Columnists | missoulian.com

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    I was in a burned over section of Lake Lure yesterday.In areas where they used controlled burns to stop the fire,the dead hemlocks were still standing.Most of that land was private till recently,can't really blame the forest service there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smells Like Fish View Post
    I was in a burned over section of Lake Lure yesterday.In areas where they used controlled burns to stop the fire,the dead hemlocks were still standing.Most of that land was private till recently,can't really blame the forest service there.
    True, but rarely is there large multi thousand acres tracts of private land in WNC. Lake Lure fire started, strengthened, and raged on untouched and unmanaged state lands long before reaching private. Large private tracts exist, sure, but the elephant in the room is state and federal lands.

    And unsure if there was deeper meaning to large hemlocks still standing? Controlled burns all about that brush bout that brush.

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    The little dead hemlocks were still standing,it was bizarre.The 4500 acres next to whats burning is also private.And to see what's beyond that is also private just small tracts that are adjacent to one another.Lake Lure's urban wilderness is remarkable.It's the proximity of homeowners with political clout that prevents effective fire management.In that area.I'll try to get some pictures up later.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smells Like Fish View Post
    I was in a burned over section of Lake Lure yesterday.In areas where they used controlled burns to stop the fire,the dead hemlocks were still standing.Most of that land was private till recently,can't really blame the forest service there.
    No, but the nearly 40,000 acres ablaze in the Nanatahala NF is. Actually, you can't blame the USFS much at all. They've had plans. It's been organizations like MountainTrue and the Wilderness Society, so on and so forth, that have led the resistance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    True, but rarely is there large multi thousand acres tracts of private land in WNC. Lake Lure fire started, strengthened, and raged on untouched and unmanaged state lands long before reaching private. Large private tracts exist, sure, but the elephant in the room is state and federal lands.

    And unsure if there was deeper meaning to large hemlocks still standing? Controlled burns all about that brush bout that brush.
    Yep! This started up at Running Bald, part of the State managed land.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    No, but the nearly 40,000 acres ablaze in the Nanatahala NF is. Actually, you can't blame the USFS much at all. They've had plans. It's been organizations like MountainTrue and the Wilderness Society, so on and so forth, that have led the resistance.
    So, what your saying is, that these organizations "led the resistance" to controlled burns? I'm not familiar with that movement.

  29. #29
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    They led the resistance to large clear cutting that was the "management" at the time. MountainTrue strongly supports responsible logging in appropriate areas and controlled burns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    So, what your saying is, that these organizations "led the resistance" to controlled burns? I'm not familiar with that movement.
    No, it clearly says plans, as in management plans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bfluid View Post
    They led the resistance to large clear cutting that was the "management" at the time. MountainTrue strongly supports responsible logging in appropriate areas and controlled burns.

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    That's a lie if I've ever heard one. They never gave the USFS a chance! Ethical logging is still and should be a tactic in thinning out tracts of high fuel load, mature forests. The USFS said they wanted to add to their 'timber base', such as opening up a larger area for them to pick from. They specifically said; “We're not going to see tens of thousands of acres of timber harvested a year in the two national forests,” declared USFS spokesman Stevin Westcott. “We cannot afford (to cut) much more than 1,500 acres per year. ... The concern that we'd be doing way more than that is just unnecessary.”

    But what did MountainTrue say? MountainTrue and specifically Josh Kelly, went fear mongering to the media, telling everyone the USFS was going to clear-cut 700,000 acres, which would consist of all of the Pisgah NF and half of Nantahala. That would be physically impossible and was never what the USFS said. However, that's what MountainTrue told everyone in their very own statement: 'The U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park'.

    But you seriously believe MountainTrue has the best interest of the USFS in mind? You're being bamboozled if so.

    Like I said earlier, I couldn't care less whether you believe me or not. The forest will always have the final say and the forest is letting you know the fuel loads are too high. I hope MountainTrue has a front row seat to the nearly 50,000 acres that burning, the majority of which are on government lands. This could be easily be Pisgah next, and you better believe with choppers overhead all day, every day, that they're watching it.

  32. #32
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    They quoted the USFS, and they have the best interest of the forest in mind, not the USFS. 691,000 acres to be primarily managed for timber production..... Yeah he sure blew that number up to 700k. They USFS also said they wanted to log more than the 1500 acres a year but could not afford it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bfluid View Post
    They quoted the USFS, and they have the best interest of the forest in mind, not the USFS. 691,000 acres to be primarily managed for timber production..... Yeah he sure blew that number up to 700k. They USFS also said they wanted to log more than the 1500 acres a year but could not afford it.
    Wow! You are no better or better yet, you know better and still intend on spreading misinformation.

    Nowhere did the USFS say they were going to log 691K acres. NOWHERE! And NOWHERE did they say that they WOULD cut more if they could afford it. They simply stated they couldn't afford to cut more. What they said is that they were re-designate 691K acres to allow for a more broad selection. They clearly state 1500 acres at most per year, and the figure that was most thrown around didn't even equate to 50,000 acres over the next 50 years! You've fallen into the exact trap MountainTrue intended to set in making the broader spectrum believe the USFS intended to log 700,000 acres. That's not even .01% of the truth!

    As for the best interest, the USFS only exists because of the forest. Do you honestly believe they don't have the best interest of the forest in mind over a special interest group? Best interest isn't sitting back and watching, while your policy allows 50,000 acres to go up in blaze and create the largest wildfire disaster in WNC history. That would be organizations like MountainTrue, not the USFS. But you're right, 'best interest'.
    Last edited by WNCmtnman; 11-18-2016 at 04:55 AM.

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    Keep the facts coming WNC! I love it.

    I don't have much to contribute to this conversation, and do not want to derail it, but will testify first hand (as a environmental biologist professional who resides in Buncombe County) that Mountain True works to derail and complicate well intended environmental projects and initiatives through a clear lack of scientific understanding to push their own "environmental" agenda. My experience with them has been around the beneficial reuse of brownfields type properties and they have provided many hurdles and demands that have no scientific basis. For these reasons, I am skeptical about any initiative they are involved in because I have experienced their ineptitude first hand. This seems to be another clear demonstration of their lack of knowledge.

    Rant over, carry on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Keep the facts coming WNC! I love it.

    I don't have much to contribute to this conversation, and do not want to derail it, but will testify first hand (as a environmental biologist professional who resides in Buncombe County) that Mountain True works to derail and complicate well intended environmental projects and initiatives through a clear lack of scientific understanding to push their own "environmental" agenda. My experience with them has been around the beneficial reuse of brownfields type properties and they have provided many hurdles and demands that have no scientific basis. For these reasons, I am skeptical about any initiative they are involved in because I have experienced their ineptitude first hand. This seems to be another clear demonstration of their lack of knowledge.

    Rant over, carry on.
    One would have to be looking through rose colored lenses to not be able to see through MountainTrue. At least now they'll have to wipe ash off of those said lenses. MountainTrue is a cancer to real forest management, and you're surely not the first environmental professional to tell me that, and you surely won't be the last!

    I'd love to hear some of your opinion on what we could do to mitigate fires like this in the future.

    Thanks!

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    These fires are spreading from treetop to treetop (canopy to canopy) and engulfing entire forests because of virtually no management plan in the last 2 or 3 decades....

    Just look at the intensity and sheer size of these flames. These aren't sporadic hemlocks and dead Autumn leaves.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Ok, I need to correct you here; these aren't "running crown" fires at all. That's nearly impossible in a hardwood forest. That photo is a long exposure showing light from the ground fire reflecting off smoke and treetops, not flames way up in the canopy. That's misinformation you're spreading to try and prove a point. Stop.

    These fires are burning primarily dead leaves, brush, snags, and small shrubs as is typical for our region. Yes, the occasional flames have made their way up into the canopy and singed some leaves off the trees - which is admittedly very unusual and impressive for fires in our region - but the larger problem has been fire spreading down *below* the leaf layer into the duff and roots because it is so dry, which may kill more mature trees than normal. And fires spreading into typically wet riparian areas and such that are not a fire-adapted habitat.

    Still, it's not a terrifying running-crown fire like you saw in Fort McMurray this spring.

    If you don't believe me, take it from Chief Brent Hayner with the North Carolina Forest Service as he addressed people in a community meeting today (start watching at 12:45 for a description of fire characteristics):
    VIDEO: North Carolina Forest Service gives Party Rock Fire update | WLOS

    He says:
    "This fire has not been a fire that reaches into the crowns of trees and starts running on the crowns. This is a fire...thank goodness for sure...this fire has been burning on the understory and where it hits rhododendron patches, we call them rhododendron slicks, where you've got these thickets of that...it can torch in those thickets. And sometimes, periodically, it gets in the top of the trees and just basically incinerates the top of the leaves and it stops. It hasn't been a running crown fire."

    Observation of the fires burning in all the news reports and of already-burned areas would allow you to see plenty of unburned leaves still on the trees, which is - again - unusual for mid November. They're falling later and creating re-burn potential - for another round of ground fire.

    But don't let the facts prevent you from making your point about how hundred foot walls of flame are plowing down our forests because we don't log them enough!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    Ok, I need to correct you here; these aren't "running crown" fires at all. That's nearly impossible in a hardwood forest. That photo is a long exposure showing light from the ground fire reflecting off smoke and treetops, not flames way up in the canopy. That's misinformation you're spreading to try and prove a point. Stop.

    These fires are burning primarily dead leaves, brush, snags, and small shrubs as is typical for our region. Yes, the occasional flames have made their way up into the canopy and singed some leaves off the trees - which is admittedly very unusual and impressive for fires in our region - but the larger problem has been fire spreading down *below* the leaf layer into the duff and roots because it is so dry, which may kill more mature trees than normal. And fires spreading into typically wet riparian areas and such that are not a fire-adapted habitat.

    Still, it's not a terrifying running-crown fire like you saw in Fort McMurray this spring.

    If you don't believe me, take it from Chief Brent Hayner with the North Carolina Forest Service as he addressed people in a community meeting today (start watching at 12:45 for a description of fire characteristics):
    VIDEO: North Carolina Forest Service gives Party Rock Fire update | WLOS

    He says:
    "This fire has not been a fire that reaches into the crowns of trees and starts running on the crowns. This is a fire...thank goodness for sure...this fire has been burning on the understory and where it hits rhododendron patches, we call them rhododendron slicks, where you've got these thickets of that...it can torch in those thickets. And sometimes, periodically, it gets in the top of the trees and just basically incinerates the top of the leaves and it stops. It hasn't been a running crown fire."

    Observation of the fires burning in all the news reports and of already-burned areas would allow you to see plenty of unburned leaves still on the trees, which is - again - unusual for mid November. They're falling later and creating re-burn potential - for another round of ground fire.

    But don't let the facts prevent you from making your point about how hundred foot walls of flame are plowing down our forests because we don't log them enough!
    How about we find another quote from the USFS fighting fires in the Nantahala NF:

    "The leaf fall ignited from heavy fuels burning inside the fire line. That carried it across dozer containment lines, and then, the rodeo was on," Deanna Younger, a public information officer with the U.S. Forest Service, said.

    Younger said the fire spread to over 500 acres.

    "Then, we had cured leaves on the oak timber. So, we got fires in the treetops and it was just running up the hill in the treetops in what we call a crown fire," Younger said.


    http://wlos.com/news/local/*****-cre...tainment-lines

    Yea, these are just your run of the mill ground crawlers. No, you need to stop spreading misinformation and wake up to what's actually going on. To believe that what you're seeing is a result of exposure, is ridiculously stupid.

    Attachment 1106103

    Attachment 1106104

    Attachment 1106103

    And even so, whether this is the soapbox you choose to stand on and this is the only point at which you'd like to debate, I have provided plenty of USFS study, more so than a media update on the 5 o'clock news, to say the forest is too thick. These fires are plowing down our forests because we haven't thinned them. That is not debatable and I'm sure you're going to hear enough of this to last a lifetime, in the coming months.

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    Somebody needs a hug.

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    Active management and agendas aside, if anyone thinks that your local representatives have the best interest of the forest at heart then you are sadly mistaken. Mark Meadows, our local Congressman, who by the way comes from Florida real estate money and was born in France but runs on the "mountain values" platform, introduced a bill in the middle of the ongoing forest management plan. To do so in the middle of all that throws a wrench in what those people are trying to do. You can look it up if you would like to know more. His office will not return phone calls or emails. I promise what he and his cronies are doing is far worse than what you think MountainTrue is up to.

    Questioning the motives of a nonprofit is fine, but you are forgetting that funding for management is the biggest issue here. What do you think heir Trump is going to do with your public lands? Do you think his Ag appointee has the forests best interests at heart? His opponent was no better. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture here Mountain Man. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ohkeepah View Post
    Somebody needs a hug.
    You're giving out free hugs? I'll take 2

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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker View Post
    Questioning the motives of a nonprofit is fine, but you are forgetting that funding for management is the biggest issue here. What do you think heir Trump is going to do with your public lands? Do you think his Ag appointee has the forests best interests at heart? His opponent was no better. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture here Mountain Man. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

    The reason there is no funding is because fire management is subsuming the agency's budget. We're not spending money on forest management because we have to spend more on fires, because the threat of fires are becoming more prevalent because we're not managing! Talk about slap in the face to the USFS. Don't take it from me, you can hear it straight from the horse's mouth. This is the USFS FY2016 budget overview:

    'The cost of fire management has grown from 13 percent of the agency’s budget in the 1990s to over 50 percent in 2014. It is subsuming the agency’s budget and jeopardizing our ability to successfully implement our full mission'

    http://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/f...iew-update.pdf

    There you have it! Also, contract logging with the USFS involves allowing privately held companies to bid on tracts based on the resale value of the timber. The USFS usually makes money on those plans, and ultimately over time, allows for less spending on fire management.

    We have the exact opposite here in WNC now. No money being made on management, yet we have spent well over $12 million on fire suppression here in the last few weeks.

    All the while, folks just sit back and do nothing because forest management is just too 'destructive'. I guess charred earth, smoke filled cities and the sound of their tax dollars being spent on more reactionary measures, rather than proactive measures, is just too appealing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    You're giving out free hugs? I'll take 2
    Have you seen MoutainTrue trying to get out ahead of these fires, in today's AC-T? Josh Kelly cited MountainTrue's efforts in helping keep the Paddy's Creek fire to only 11 acres.

    'Ironically, another part of the problem is that there hasn’t been enough of the right kind of fire. The Paddy’s Creek fire on the western side of Linville Gorge hasn’t gotten nearly as much press, and with good reason. That fire started on Oct. 25 and was completely contained two days later, by Oct. 27. The blaze started from an abandoned campfire and spread into the woods. Fortunately, those woods have had several controlled burns as part of the Grandfather Restoration Project, a collaborative project that MountainTrue and dozens of other organizations helped to found in 2012. The Paddy’s Creek fire was held to just 11 acres despite the steep and rugged terrain because controlled burns decreased fuel loads'

    I'm guessing they felt the need to come out with this 'look at we've done to help mitigate fires' rhetoric now, because their reputation is about to take a hit. 11 acres, huh? Well what about the 20,000 acres in Nantahala that you helped block management on? What about the ever increasing fuel loads that the USFS has tried to prevent for over a decade now, that you've helped block? No comment there, huh?.... But you'll parade around a 4 year old plan, in which controlled burns were not even what you were advocating for but rather allowing natural fires to burn because they 'are in the spirit of the wilderness'? Oh, you can read that here:

    MountainTrue supports efforts to allow natural fires to burn in and around Linville Gorge as long as the safety of human lives and property can be assured. In the likely event that some natural fires are suppressed because of concern for human health and safety, we endorse the use of prescribed fire as a surrogate. Our endorsement stems from the following beliefs:

    -There are rare and endangered species at Linville Gorge that require fire for survival.
    -There are many other species and several ecosystems at Linville -Gorge that benefit from fire.
    -Fire is an important natural process.
    -The fire suppression of the past 100 years has been harmful.
    -Suppression of natural fire ignitions is against the spirit of Wilderness.

    Resilient Forests | mountaintrue

    Only now do you want to throw MountainTrue's name in with 'because controlled burns decreased fuel loads'.

    Spare us Josh Kelly, we can see through you. We can see through MountainTrue. The USFS has told you fires like this were brewing. They told you climate change could cause prolonged drought periods and the need for more proactive management. They told you fuel loads were too high. Don't spew us your BS now because your reputation is on the line.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    You're giving out free hugs? I'll take 2
    You got it!

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    The reason there's no funding is because federal dollars are being spent bailing failing banks and corporations out. Theres no funding because the fed is spending money on the military. There is no funding because the fed has to spend a ton of money fighting "states rights." There's no funding because ultimately, the woods are a "resource" to certain demographics, not something you cherish and protect. You're still not looking big picture here. There wont be any funding until there are no "fear mongering" propagandists at the reins of ALL federal branches of government. Good luck with your crusade and your "heritage."

    Fighting fire is a big deal, and you're right, a large part of the FS budget is spent on fighting it. So, what do you propose they do? Let people's homes and property burn? The insurance companies wouldn't go for that would they? I would like a solid, dynamic answer. One that considers scenarios beyond your scope, and considers the ultimate health of public lands for all people.

    So far, the best answer I see is pay to play. What else you got mountain man?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ohkeepah View Post
    Somebody needs a hug.
    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    You're giving out free hugs? I'll take 2
    Name:  animals-evolve-evolving-evolutions-boa_constrictor-snake-kscn3114_low.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker View Post
    Fighting fire is a big deal, and you're right, a large part of the FS budget is spent on fighting it. So, what do you propose they do? Let people's homes and property burn? The insurance companies wouldn't go for that would they? I would like a solid, dynamic answer. One that considers scenarios beyond your scope, and considers the ultimate health of public lands for all people.

    So far, the best answer I see is pay to play. What else you got mountain man?
    Whoo buddy. Hot on the keyboard.

    It's expensive I don't think anyone is arguing that. Buuuuut man I gotta believe that controlled burning, like, in...ideal weather conditions for easily putting out a fire and not letting it gain runaway strength, wells that's got to be cheaper. By...a lot! So ya controlled burn would be a great solution that is cheaper and safer. Yes you have to watch the fires on private land but those getting to the point where they're runaways and all of the US is called in to contain?? Come aaaahhhn.

    I don't think mountain man is solo in his ideas here. But I will admit he's way moar knowledgeable and articulate than I am. Kudos to all involved in the discussion. Always interesting getting different types together on these topics.

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    Although I agree with all of your frustrations in the US as a whole here, I don't think we really need to fix the core of America for us to properly manage our forests. I believe it could be mitigated to some extent at the local level if we are not working against proposed plans at that local level.

    Maybe it takes an event like this to open the eyes of some that our practices to date have not resulted in the desired outcome.

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    The GSMNP is a what the Pisgah and Nanatahala are becoming. Old growth, no management forests. The Gatlinburg fire traveled 10 miles within the park, in one day and completely consumed the city, sending people running for their lives. Now that is a fuel load!

    No, I am not saying we need management in the National Park. I am saying that with nearly a million acres of NF in WNC, we can surely prevent a tragedy like that. Lord knows it could have easily been Brevard, Franklin, Sylva, Higlands, etc, dealing with an issue like this.

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    There are actually two fires in the park, about 10 miles apart. With the reported 75-80mph winds that the park received, coupled with the drought and low humidity, each fire grew very very rapidly.

    Wildfire Today has quality updates

    Fires got you thinking abt forest mgmt?-map-chimney-2-fire-209-am-et-11-27-2016.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    "Then, we had cured leaves on the oak timber. So, we got fires in the treetops and it was just running up the hill in the treetops in what we call a crown fire," Younger said.[/I]

    http://wlos.com/news/local/*****-cre...tainment-lines

    These fires are plowing down our forests because we haven't thinned them. That is not debatable and I'm sure you're going to hear enough of this to last a lifetime, in the coming months.
    Oh you better believe it's debatable. Again, fire getting in the tree crowns was a tiny, admittedly spectacular, yet brief occurrence and the photo you posted simply does not show that happening.

    The real story is the number of fires that were set and that they were probably set intentionally. I have that nagging feeling that the someone(s) doing this were just as peeved with the Forest Service as you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    The Gatlinburg fire traveled 10 miles within the park, in one day and completely consumed the city, sending people running for their lives. Now that is a fuel load!
    Holy crap with the misinformation. Stop it right now, dude. The Chimney Tops fire did not spread 10 miles (I think that's what you're implying) into Gatlinburg! Gatlinburg is not completely consumed! What the hell do you think this accomplishes?

    Yes, the Gatlinburg fire is shaping up to be a huge disaster, and raises serious questions about the urban-wild interface problem, but it does us no good when the rhetoric gets ramped up to 11 this way.

    I know we live in an age of misinformation and false news and all that now, but stop contributing to it!

    As sideliners, let's wait and see once the flames are out what can be said of Gatlinburg and the rest of the forest management problems we face.

    (By the way, the mainstream media trumpeting false claims from uninformed, hyped-up local TEMA officials is no better here. Example: hey Washington Post, no, Ober Gatlinburg and Dollywood were NOT destroyed. I don't believe anything I read until I see some real reporting, preferably with photos once the fires are out and the media is allowed back in.)

    You're right about one thing: this is going to be hotly discussed for a long, long time. Let's do it rationally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post

    The real story is the number of fires that were set and that they were probably set intentionally. I have that nagging feeling that the someone(s) doing this were just as peeved with the Forest Service as you are.
    That is a wildly negligent accusation NOT supported by any fact, whatsoever. Grow up!

    How did you also get 'tiny, admittedly spectacular, yet brief occurrence' out of the statement set forth by the USFS?

    I can tell you're not someone who uses facts other than their own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    Holy crap with the misinformation. Stop it right now, dude. The Chimney Tops fire did not spread 10 miles (I think that's what you're implying) into Gatlinburg! Gatlinburg is not completely consumed! What the hell do you think this accomplishes?
    Wow!!! You want to accuse someone else of misinformation right after you spread misinformation in your previous post and then follow it up with more misinformation?

    Here are the facts:

    From the Tri-Cities Weather and Alerts group- '3:30am: The wildfire has spread all the way to near Dolllywood. For reference, the fire started on Chimney Top Mountain & has rapidly spread nearly 10 or so miles'

    "Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Bobby Balding. "It's the apocalypse on both sides (of downtown)."- Referencing Gatlinburg


    Your incessant downplaying of what is truly happening and the reality of which we are dealing with, is completely and utterly careless.

    You are part of the problem.

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    Party Rock Fire cost $7.65M of taxpayer funding, to fight.

    Party Rock fire now completely contained; cost to fight at $7.6M - News - Hendersonville Times-News - Hendersonville, NC

    1 fire, accounting for only 10% of the fires in WNC, cost nearly $8M to fight. That really augments the USFS quote below, again:

    'The cost of fire management has grown from 13 percent of the agency’s budget in the 1990s to over 50 percent in 2014. It is subsuming the agency’s budget and jeopardizing our ability to successfully implement our full mission'

    http://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/f...iew-update.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    That is a wildly negligent accusation NOT supported by any fact, whatsoever. Grow up!

    How did you also get 'tiny, admittedly spectacular, yet brief occurrence' out of the statement set forth by the USFS?

    I can tell you're not someone who uses facts other than their own.
    • That many of the fires are suspected arson *is* a fact. Don't have time for a citation, sorry. We'll see when the investigations are completed if so, and perhaps by whom.
    • WRT arsonists, I explicitly said it was a nagging feeling, not a fact, and no - I have no evidence or else I'd be collecting my reward. Did you even see the words "feeling" there?
    • my assessment of 'tiny, admittedly spectacular, yet brief occurrence' comes from weighing the one anecdote you cited vs dozens and dozens of reports I've been reading of creeping fires, fires in the leaf litter, flame lenghts <3 ft, personal observations with binoculars, and so on. I don't dispute the report you cited and acknowledged it as such, but it is not typical of the fires we've been having.
    • Facts are free, they belong to everyone, and they are not my own. Try them, they're tasty.


    We have an absolute false news crisis going on right now and *that* is a fire we're not going to put out anytime soon unless we start applying some critical thinking to what we read on the fricking Internet.

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    If you believe all of what "breaking news" you're reading on the Internetz Newzgroup or whatever, what else can I say?

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I guess you win, I have things to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    If you believe all of what "breaking news" you're reading on the Internetz Newzgroup or whatever, what else can I say?

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I guess you win, I have things to do.
    No, I believe verifiable sources whose job it is to present us with the facts, over a forum poster with an agenda, who doesn't use them at all.

    So if you're asking if I believe the Tri-Cities Alerts organization and Fire Lieutenant Balding, over you, why yes, yes I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman
    The Gatlinburg fire traveled 10 miles within the park, in one day and completely consumed the city
    Do you continue to stand by this statement?

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    No, I believe verifiable sources whose job it is to present us with the facts, over a forum poster with an agenda, who doesn't use them at all.

    So if you're asking if I believe the Tri-Cities Alerts organization and Fire Lieutenant Balding, over you, why yes, yes I do.
    The organization that said ober gatlinburg and other structures had burned? Good choice. And I assume you are referring to the volunteer fire depts Lieutenant Baldwin, and not balding?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    The organization that said ober gatlinburg and other structures had burned? Good choice. And I assume you are referring to the volunteer fire depts Lieutenant Baldwin, and not balding?
    Can't recall they made that claim, that's up to you to cite, and no Balding is the name that is being cited from every local outlet all the way up to USA Today, CBS News, etc. Again, you're making the counter-claim, you cite it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    Do you continue to stand by this statement?
    Yep!

    Weather stations are sparse in Great Smoky Mountains, but the Weather Service received a 56-mph wind gust report at Sieverville, Tenn., about 10 miles north of Gatlinburg on Monday night. At a news conference, the Gatlinburg fire chief cited an 87-mph wind gust, but the Capital Weather Gang has not been able to confirm that report. The Weather Service noted that 80-mph gusts were certainly possible on the mountain peaks.

    “Wind gusts carried burning embers long distances causing new spot fires to ignite across the north-central area of the park and into Gatlinburg,” Great Smoky Mountains National Park wrote on its Facebook page Tuesday morning.

    The fires sprung up so fast and spread so quickly that officials hadn’t been able to figure out how much ground the blazes actually covered on Tuesday morning.

    This was my favorite part:

    Henson also noted that in the distant past, natural, less-intense wildfires occurred in this region every few years, which actually prevents large, destructive fires like this from happening. But fire suppression began in the early 20th century, putting an end to the natural cycle, and increasing the likelihood of massive fires.

    Between the drought and the fire suppression, “it’s a recipe for disaster,” Henson added.


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...ted-overnight/

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Yep!
    So it "completely consumed the city"?

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    Why are you guys arguing with WNCmtnman over semantics? Seriously, it is pretty evident that Gatlinberg got hit hard. Maybe it didn't literally "completely consume the city" but according to NPR (are they reputable?) in their opening news story this morning stated...

    "approximately half of the city is either damaged or destroyed" "at least 150 structures have burned" "the worst fire in Tennessee in 100 years" "at least 3 dead and 14 injured"

    It really makes you seem rather insensitive to your neighbors....I think all of us are thinking about forest management now, which is the intention of this thread. It is unfortunate that it takes a reactionary approach to accomplish this though as opposed to a proactive approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Why are you guys arguing with WNCmtnman over semantics? Seriously, it is pretty evident that Gatlinberg got hit hard.

    It really makes you seem rather insensitive to your neighbors...
    Gatlinburg did get hit hard, as did many areas in the southern Appalachians the last few weeks, and I am very sensitive to that. And that's in large part why I think leveraging overly inflammatory language that capitalizes on a tragedy to prove a political point is a really crappy and intellectually lazy way to go about joining a debate - even on the Internetz - and it's what prompted me to jump into this thread.

    I definitely don't want to minimize what happened in Gatlinburg, and the discussion about forest management is quite relevant to that. So much needs to be learned from the last month's events, and I'm sure that will take some time.




    To get slightly back on topic - I think controlled burns to reduce fuel are a great management tool which should be used more frequently in our area.

    The urban-wild interface is a huge problem, which brings land use and zoning questions around (especially) mountain top developments into serious question as droughts are only to become more common.

    I've not heard any serious proposals of using wide-scale commercial logging in the East to reduce wildfire danger and intensity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Why are you guys arguing with WNCmtnman over semantics? Seriously, it is pretty evident that Gatlinberg got hit hard. Maybe it didn't literally "completely consume the city" but according to NPR (are they reputable?) in their opening news story this morning stated...

    "approximately half of the city is either damaged or destroyed" "at least 150 structures have burned" "the worst fire in Tennessee in 100 years" "at least 3 dead and 14 injured"

    It really makes you seem rather insensitive to your neighbors....I think all of us are thinking about forest management now, which is the intention of this thread. It is unfortunate that it takes a reactionary approach to accomplish this though as opposed to a proactive approach.
    You're right about the proactive/reactive thing. Like somebody menioned earlier, it's an issue with society. It might be easy to say that a smaller amount of money to prevent would have been better than a larger amount of money to fix, but it is not that simple. How likely was it that this drought would happen and these fires would be started? Would the required funds necessary to prevent this possibility have been justified? I'm not saying the risk should or should not have been taken. What I'm saying is that the politics behind any public funding are hotly debated, contested, and scrutinized. It is political, because it is taxpayer money. Do I want to pay more taxes to prevent global warming? That's a significant problem that was preventable, but people like Donald Trump still refuse to acknowledge it. If you're on the liberal side, prevention makes more sense. If you're on the conservative side, then choosing to live in a forest leaves you on your own to deal with forest-related problems. This is an easily fixable problem with deeper, more complicated roots. Nobody wants their house to burn down, but few people want to pay taxes to prevent the possibility of it happening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc
    I've not heard any serious proposals of using wide-scale commercial logging in the East to reduce wildfire danger and intensity.
    I guess cutting down the forests would prevent forest fires...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Nobody wants their house to burn down, but few people want to pay taxes to prevent the possibility of it happening.
    Nor to be told "you can't build a new housing development up there" by some elite county zoning board because it was determined it to be too risky.

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    'Congress must act on national forests'

    Catastrophic wildfires have once again wreaked havoc this year, leaving nearly 5 million acres burned, destroying hundreds of homes, unleashing untold amounts of carbon dioxide into the air and, most tragically, claiming several lives. These unacceptable outcomes are hardly new; they have been harsh realities for many years running. And with tens of millions of dead and damaged trees across many national forests, the problem will only grow worse.

    As Forest Service professionals who dedicated our professional lives to protecting these forests, we have closely examined the science related to the causes and facilitators of catastrophic wildfire. The science overwhelmingly shows that excessive fuel loads, overly crowded tree stands, and trees weakened by drought, insects and diseases all contribute to the severity of wildfires. In our judgment, more active management to address these factors, including more responsible and timely harvesting, is unquestionably needed.



    Congress must act on national forests | Columnists | missoulian.com

    *And before you question the intent and agenda of the author, let me just leave this here: 'Dale Bosworth is a retired chief of the U.S. Forest Service and former Regional Forester in Missoula. Jack Blackwell is a retired Regional Forester for the California region of the Forest Service.'

  69. #69
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    I'm not sure that science and responsible forest stewardship are going to be super high on the list of Congressional priorities for the next two to four years.

    Resource extraction? Yeah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I'm not sure that science and responsible forest stewardship are going to be super high on the list of Congressional priorities for the next two to four years.

    Resource extraction? Yeah.

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    It doesn't need to be. They just simply need to let the USFS do their job with their own funding and keep litigation from special interest groups at bay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    It doesn't need to be. They just simply need to let the USFS do their job with their own funding and keep litigation from special interest groups at bay.
    Lol. The government runs on special interest groups and personal agendas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Lol. The government runs on special interest groups and personal agendas.
    No, not entirely, believe it or not there is best interest and best practice involved. Going forward will depend on how many people do not take serious what this region just went through and just sit on their hands allowing special interest groups to seize control, when the USFS comes seeking input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    You're right about the proactive/reactive thing. Like somebody menioned earlier, it's an issue with society. It might be easy to say that a smaller amount of money to prevent would have been better than a larger amount of money to fix, but it is not that simple. How likely was it that this drought would happen and these fires would be started? Would the required funds necessary to prevent this possibility have been justified? I'm not saying the risk should or should not have been taken. What I'm saying is that the politics behind any public funding are hotly debated, contested, and scrutinized. It is political, because it is taxpayer money. Do I want to pay more taxes to prevent global warming? That's a significant problem that was preventable, but people like Donald Trump still refuse to acknowledge it. If you're on the liberal side, prevention makes more sense. If you're on the conservative side, then choosing to live in a forest leaves you on your own to deal with forest-related problems. This is an easily fixable problem with deeper, more complicated roots. Nobody wants their house to burn down, but few people want to pay taxes to prevent the possibility of it happening.
    Here here.

    Mtn Man still hasn't provided any solutions. We're sliding on that slippery slope here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker View Post
    Here here.

    Mtn Man still hasn't provided any solutions. We're sliding on that slippery slope here.
    THE USFS HAS SOLUTIONS! What I am asking of this board is to give them full support. You shouldn't be looking to me for the answers! The USFS has been telling you the answers for years now! You should have understood that about my posts, long before now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    THE USFS HAS SOLUTIONS! What I am asking of this board is to give them full support. You shouldn't be looking to me for the answers! The USFS has been telling you the answers for years now! You should have understood that about my posts, long before now.
    I'm not sure I trust the forest service to do what's best for the forests. It might be entirely true that the forest service is 100% about preserving the forests and environment for everybody, including future generations, but I don't know if that's the case. They get money from special interests groups, including logging, hunting, fishing, and hiking groups. I know most of those groups have their own agendas rather than the best interests of the forests. We're dealing with people and politics, and I don't trust either. Even if I did fully support the forest service, what exactly would you expect me to do?

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    I'm not sure I trust the forest service to do what's best for the forests. It might be entirely true that the forest service is 100% about preserving the forests and environment for everybody, including future generations, but I don't know if that's the case. They get money from special interests groups, including logging, hunting, fishing, and hiking groups. I know most of those groups have their own agendas rather than the best interests of the forests. We're dealing with people and politics, and I don't trust either. Even if I did fully support the forest service, what exactly would you expect me to do?
    Huh?

    No, none of those groups gives money to the USFS.

    The USFS is funded by the Federal Government. That's it.

    Outside groups might help with volunteers, trail building, wildlife counting, or myriad other tasks, but they don't contribute to the bottom line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Huh?

    No, none of those groups gives money to the USFS.

    The USFS is funded by the Federal Government. That's it.

    Outside groups might help with volunteers, trail building, wildlife counting, or myriad other tasks, but they don't contribute to the bottom line.

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    So you're saying that the forest service doesn't get any money from logging? There are no agreements made with hunting and fishing groups in a tourist capacity? Is there not a fish hatchery in Pisgah? Perhaps I'm mistaken when I believe that the forest service makes money from these interest groups. Maybe I'm just overly skeptical, and the forest service and other government programs/agencies are not making money from local businesses, interest groups, or motivated individuals.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    So you're saying that the forest service doesn't get any money from logging? There are no agreements made with hunting and fishing groups in a tourist capacity? Is there not a fish hatchery in Pisgah? Perhaps I'm mistaken when I believe that the forest service makes money from these interest groups. Maybe I'm just overly skeptical, and the forest service and other government programs/agencies are not making money from local businesses, interest groups, or motivated individuals.
    The federal government gets the money.

    It's not like the logging company pays the local Ranger District land manager.

    This helps ensure that, at a local level, they aren't beholden to private interests.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The federal government gets the money.

    It's not like the logging company pays the local Ranger District land manager.

    This helps ensure that, at a local level, they aren't beholden to private interests.



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    Maybe. I still believe that governmental decisions are made at both the local and national level that are influenced by private parties, forest service included. If it was entirely about the forest and not money, why clear cut? Is clear cutting large sections of forests best for the environment?

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    Maybe. I still believe that governmental decisions are made at both the local and national level that are influenced by private parties, forest service included. If it was entirely about the forest and not money, why clear cut? Is clear cutting large sections of forests best for the environment?
    If done the right way (scale, shape), clear cuts can simulate burns. They can also burn the slash (residue) after the clearcut to get the desired effects. Namely, removing duff, helping cones germinate, allowing sun to reach forest floor, etc.



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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Wow!!! You want to accuse someone else of misinformation right after you spread misinformation in your previous post and then follow it up with more misinformation?

    Here are the facts:

    From the Tri-Cities Weather and Alerts group- '3:30am: The wildfire has spread all the way to near Dolllywood. For reference, the fire started on Chimney Top Mountain & has rapidly spread nearly 10 or so miles'

    "Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Bobby Balding. "It's the apocalypse on both sides (of downtown)."- Referencing Gatlinburg


    Your incessant downplaying of what is truly happening and the reality of which we are dealing with, is completely and utterly careless.

    You are part of the problem.
    As unlikely as it seems, I stand corrected. A new fire that was reported on Cherokee Orchard Road Monday seemed much more likely to be the one that affected Gatlinburg than the fire at Chimney Tops, and reports of downed power lines in town from the high winds starting new fires also seemed much more plausible. But if this new map is to be believed, it may have indeed spread all the way from Chimney Tops:
    Fires got you thinking abt forest mgmt?-map_chimneytops2fire_11-29-2016.jpg

    If there's one thing I've learned from this, it's to wait a while and see what shakes out before coming to any conclusions. Now I need to go find a good recipe for crow.

    Having said all that, I still don't think this is a good opportunity to capitalize on a tragedy to push a personal agenda, which in your case appears to be "more logging".

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    Unfortunately these type of events will continue to happen as we, as a colective society, continue to ignore the scientific fact of climate change. The time to worry for your children and grand children is now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    If done the right way (scale, shape), clear cuts can simulate burns. They can also burn the slash (residue) after the clearcut to get the desired effects. Namely, removing duff, helping cones germinate, allowing sun to reach forest floor, etc.



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    I fail to understand how that is beneficial to the forest. All you're doing is starting the forest growth over. Are you saying that old forests are not sustainable? What exactly is the benefit of clear cutting? Is it really better than a simulated burn for the forest? I understand it is good for game animals and logging purposes, but you can't honestly say that it is the best thing for sustainability of the forest.

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    Hey "WNCmtnman",

    I have chosen to respond because you have attacked me and my organization. It's funny, I share many of your perspectives on forest management, and yet you choose to attack me and to ascribe motives to me that don't exist.

    I have supported prescribed fire actively since 2009 and have done a lot through my work to encourage that. Yes, that gets me attacked by those that are scared of fire. Being that people like you attack me too, maybe that means I'm at the right place on the spectrum?

    In 2010, I personally wrote the document that led to the Grandfather Restoration Project that created the Grandfather Restoration Project that has tripled the amount of prescribed burning on the Grandfather District. It has also increased the amount of timber harvest on the Grandfather District, which seems to be your primary concern. I have been a proponent of timber harvest in the service of ecological restoration since 2008, and have played a constructive role in several timber sales, and been willing to take hits from "zero-cut" activists for it. On the Brushy Ridge timber sale, for example, I asked the Forest Service to add over 120 acres of timber harvest in white pine plantations. Those timber harvests looked ugly, and impacted recreation at the Trace Ridge trailhead. I believe that harvesting those stands was a good idea, even though I get lots of complaints about how they look, and it probably wouldn't have happened without me. Maybe you are actually mad because I am more effective at working with the Forest Service than you? A case of conservation envy, perhaps?

    I stand by my reputation and I think I have been on the right side of history with prescribed fire. More often than not, I push the Forest Service to do more prescribed burning than they want to. Again, what you are actually pissed about seems to be that I think some parts of our National Forest are too special to log. That's not going to change. I reject the notion that all forests need a chainsaw and a bulldozer for "forest health". I also support the notion that forestry and timber harvest is an appropriate use and an essential part of National Forest management - but not on every acre.

    To address specific accusations:

    "Well what about the 20,000 acres in Nantahala that you helped block management on?"

    I have no idea what you are talking about. I have prevented logging on approximately 320 acres of Nantahala National Forest in the past 9 years (the length of my employment by environmental organizations) by documenting the presence of rare species and old-growth forests. Where did you get that ridiculous 20,000 acre total?

    "What about the ever increasing fuel loads that the USFS has tried to prevent for over a decade now, that you've helped block?"

    I have never opposed a prescribed burn or blocked a fuel reduction project. The prescribed burn in Panthertown Valley seemed like a low priority to me, and I still encouraged it. Where do you get your information? I have actively supported prescribed burning on a professional level since 2009 - 7 years ago. Go ahead, demonize me for keeping my mouth shut for the first two years of my career.

    "But you'll parade around a 4 year old plan, in which controlled burns were not even what you were advocating for but rather allowing natural fires to burn because they 'are in the spirit of the wilderness'?"

    The major focus of the Grandfather Project is prescribed burning. Sorry that it took two years to get that funded, otherwise it would be a six year old project - LOL. Part of the proposal for the Grandfather Project was to do prescribed burning in Linville Gorge - something I support and have been attacked for. One resident of the Jonas Ridge development actually called my boss and tried to get me fired for it. That's why we have the content on our website about Linville Gorge.

    So, WNCmountainman, you don't "see" me. You don't understand me, and you seem like someone who is too bitter about the past to be effective in the present. The future of National Forest Management is people working together. I'm pretty good at working with other people. Attacking me and MountainTrue indicates that you are not. If you ever get over your bitterness and quit blaming me and MountainTrue for every real and imagined problem you have with National Forest management, please reach out and I'll be happy to work with you.

    I have only one request of you "WNCmountainman". I comment here as myself and make no secrets about who I am and yet you hide behind an alias. Which begs the question: who is really worried about their reputation? If you are confident in who you are and what you say, you will introduce yourself by your given name. Otherwise, I think we can all write you off as a troll.
    Last edited by Joshua Kelly; 12-01-2016 at 01:09 PM.

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    The Chimney Tops 2 fire was the origin for the Twin Creeks Fire and the Gatlinburg Fire. The extremely dry fuels (97th percentile of records) combined with wind gusts up to 80 mph spread the fire approximately 6 miles in less than 18 hours. It was a historic event that brought together high winds, a severe drought, and a human fire ignition. A horrible tragedy that was made worse by the over-development of the Gatlinburg area. Many of the houses that burned were on steep slopes and ridge tops in fire adapted vegetation like pine-oak/heath and dry oak forest made more dangerous by steep, narrow access roads. It was a tragedy waiting to happen. All you folks that live in the woods would be wise to keep leaves and shrubs away from your house and to make sure your community is "fire wise".

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    Actually, while droughts do occur every decade this one is historic. Just look at the Weather Underground Blog you quoted. Knoxville has never had a hotter or drier Fall. And there's this: https://www.predictiveservices.nifc....y_11252016.pdf

    And obviously, I agree with you that we need more prescribed fire and fuel reduction along the wildland-urban interface.


    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Woah, pump the brakes sir. Drought conditions like this are not rare, they are cyclical. They happen about every 4 to 5 years. We had one in 2007 and we had another in 2009. As for the temperate rain forest, you have to understand the diversity of the PNF. At one end sitting in SW Transylvania County, you have the wettest area in all of North Carolina, and on the other, you have Asheville, the driest city in all of North Carolina. Yes parts of it are considered a temperate forest but that just depends on where they calculate rainfall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    Having said all that, I still don't think this is a good opportunity to capitalize on a tragedy to push a personal agenda, which in your case appears to be "more logging".
    That's the catch-22 isn't it? Capitalize on tragedy to promote an agenda that prevents more of the same tragedy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Kelly View Post
    Actually, while droughts do occur every decade this one is historic. Just look at the Weather Underground Blog you quoted. Knoxville has never had a hotter or drier Fall. And there's this: https://www.predictiveservices.nifc....y_11252016.pdf

    And obviously, I agree with you that we need more prescribed fire and fuel reduction along the wildland-urban interface.
    Correct, but we're not Knoxville. It's by far worse in areas west and SW of our direct area and has been for some time. I'd say this is on par with 2007 for our area, but 2007 was much more far reaching to our east.

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Correct, but we're not Knoxville. It's by far worse in areas west and SW of our direct area and has been for some time. I'd say this is on par with 2007 for our area, but 2007 was much more far reaching to our east.
    Where's your citation for that mountain man? WLOS said this was the driest fall in 64 years?
    Should you do more trail work?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    I fail to understand how that is beneficial to the forest. All you're doing is starting the forest growth over. Are you saying that old forests are not sustainable? What exactly is the benefit of clear cutting? Is it really better than a simulated burn for the forest? I understand it is good for game animals and logging purposes, but you can't honestly say that it is the best thing for sustainability of the forest.
    What is a "simulated burn?

    I said limited scale/scope clear cuts with slash/residue burns can simulate natural fires.

    In many cases, no, old forests are not sustainable. They are HOMOGENEOUS, and thus susceptible to a variety of problems. Out west, mountain pine beetle is killing off millions of acres of pines, with some areas seeing 90-100% mortality rates for mature trees. Then, when there is no fire, you have no regeneration of the forest (duff, germination, shade). Whereas trees under 6" have mortality rates in the single digits. Homogeneous old forests die en mass, then result in a lot of dead, standing trees.

    On the east coast, you have a lot of fire dependent species. Pitch pine bogs, for example, are dependent on fire. Same with some oaks.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Kelly View Post
    Hey "WNCmtnman",



    In 2010, I personally wrote the document that led to the Grandfather Restoration Project that created the Grandfather Restoration Project that has tripled the amount of prescribed burning on the Grandfather District. It has also increased the amount of timber harvest on the Grandfather District, which seems to be your primary concern. I have been a proponent of timber harvest in the service of ecological restoration since 2008, and have played a constructive role in several timber sales, and been willing to take hits from "zero-cut" activists for it. On the Brushy Ridge timber sale, for example, I asked the Forest Service to add over 120 acres of timber harvest in white pine plantations. Those timber harvests looked ugly, and impacted recreation at the Trace Ridge trailhead. I believe that harvesting those stands was a good idea, even though I get lots of complaints about how they look, and it probably wouldn't have happened without me. Maybe you are actually mad because I am more effective at working with the Forest Service than you? A case of conservation envy, perhaps?
    How much did your document influence the Grandfather Mountain prescribed burns because if you and I reading the same articles published by MountainTrue, it appears you in particular were promoting a more natural stance to burning such as allowing mother nature to handle said burns. 'Prescribed' was very limited in MountainTrue's lexicon for promoting this. Maybe taking too much credit, as you are the Brushy Ridge project? I've been to the USFS meetings, I've seen how you interact with other groups, I've seen how you personally will undermine their requests and concerns. I'm obviously not the only one who is saying it either as there are others who have detailed their account on here, who have personally tried to work with MountainTrue. However, you're easy to work with, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Kelly View Post
    I stand by my reputation and I think I have been on the right side of history with prescribed fire. More often than not, I push the Forest Service to do more prescribed burning than they want to. Again, what you are actually pissed about seems to be that I think some parts of our National Forest are too special to log. That's not going to change. I reject the notion that all forests need a chainsaw and a bulldozer for "forest health". I also support the notion that forestry and timber harvest is an appropriate use and an essential part of National Forest management - but not on every acre.

    To address specific accusations:

    "Well what about the 20,000 acres in Nantahala that you helped block management on?"

    I have no idea what you are talking about. I have prevented logging on approximately 320 acres of Nantahala National Forest in the past 9 years (the length of my employment by environmental organizations) by documenting the presence of rare species and old-growth forests. Where did you get that ridiculous 20,000 acre total?
    The 20K acres figure was in regards to the size of the fire in which you helped to fear monger the USFS's plan to manage lands here in WNC that could have prevented such, with your promotion of completely blown out of proportion claims and spread of misinformation. Remember this, these were directly off of MountainTrue's website; 'The U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park'.

    You knew that was not even close to the truth and you knew that wording was misleading, yet rather than not have your name associated with this nonsense, you and your organization promoted it! On top of that, you went on record as detailing that the USFS should work around special areas you have nominated for 'protection', yet promoted the addition of nearly 225K acres of new wilderness and NRA's all at the same time, knowingly constricting what you yourself told the USFS to do! You tried to force this under the nose of nearly every municipality directly affected by these plans and they threw it back into MountainTrue's face! What should that tell everyone? From my POV, you are not genuine in the least bit with your intentions and your actions. Maybe in time, you could change that perception.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Kelly View Post
    So, WNCmountainman, you don't "see" me. You don't understand me, and you seem like someone who is too bitter about the past to be effective in the present. The future of National Forest Management is people working together. I'm pretty good at working with other people. Attacking me and MountainTrue indicates that you are not. If you ever get over your bitterness and quit blaming me and MountainTrue for every real and imagined problem you have with National Forest management, please reach out and I'll be happy to work with you.
    No, I am part of a larger conglomerate fed up with backdoored MOU's and having our voice snuffed out by organizations like MountainTrue only to see MountainTrue show up in the paper during times like this. We do see you and we're not stupid.

    I'm not going to continue to debate grievances with you on a mountain biking site. Your words are typed right here in regards to supporting Forest management, now we'll see whether or not they come to fruition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bfluid View Post
    Where's your citation for that mountain man? WLOS said this was the driest fall in 64 years?
    I've provided plenty on the first page and even if 2007 was not drier, the differences are miniscule. If you're going to argue an inch here and there, in the grand scheme of things, you're obviously not getting the point. D4 classification and it's frequency is all you need to understand. I have provided plenty of literature for you, in that regard.

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    Oh and Josh, since you're here, I'd love to get your thoughts on what needs to happen between now and the next decade to prevent hundreds of thousands of acres from going up in a blaze here in WNC and East Tennessee, when we reach the next D4 drought?

    Is it that much different than what the USFS has long proposed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Oh and Josh, since you're here, I'd love to get your thoughts on what needs to happen between now and the next decade to prevent hundreds of thousands of acres from going up in a blaze here in WNC and East Tennessee, when we reach the next D4 drought?

    Is it that much different than what the USFS has long proposed?
    And I'd love to get your thoughts. Besides your go to " let's just let the USFS do their job". WTF, does that mean? You clearly have an agenda. I've been down this road with you before. With the same result. You maintain anonymity and refuse to tell us who you are and who you represent, yet you're clearly involved with an industry that you feel has been slighted. This is a mountain bike site, and you're not a mountain cyclist. Why are you here? What is your point? Seriously, what's your fuggin point? I have worked in city government, involved with gobs of environmental regulations/restrictions. Been involved in the building trades for years, and I've never butted heads with mountain true. I know many, many people involved with govt at local, state, and federal levels. I don't here them whining about mountain true. It would seem that perhaps they disagree with your MO, whatever that may be, and for that reason you dislike them. You mentioned that your experiences with MT, were shared by other users here. Yeah, that was one guy. Also in the the industry at some level. I don't know his situation. Lawd knows what happened. He lost a job? He did not expound. But he is a mountain biker. He sometimes talks of bike stuff. You don't. You talk in circles and through back doors, with snippets of news bites and quotes to support your agenda. You still hide, and then you leave. For a while. Sound familiar? There's a movie out right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    experiences with MT, were shared by other users here. Yeah, that was one guy. Also in the the industry at some level. I don't know his situation. Lawd knows what happened. He lost a job? He did not expound. But he is a mountain biker. He sometimes talks of bike stuff.
    I am "that guy" I am not disgruntled, I did not lose my job (although I have willingly switched employers to benefit my 1st child being born in march). Some people in this thread know me. I haven't expounded upon my situation because that is not the intent of this thread....the summary of my experience with mountain true was them enacting unnecessary litigation in an attempt to delay project timelines to a point where it would lose millions in funding from Buncombe Co. You can probably go figure it out based on that, and I would prefer not to discuss it in any more detail.

    On this website, I am a mountain biker first, check my post history and reputation. I just like to chime in from time to time on interesting subjects that I have an opinion on.

    The calls for people to reveal their identities is unnecessary. The interne is great: you can just anonymously spew BS without fear of personal retribution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Kelly View Post
    The Chimney Tops 2 fire was the origin for the Twin Creeks Fire and the Gatlinburg Fire. The extremely dry fuels (97th percentile of records) combined with wind gusts up to 80 mph spread the fire approximately 6 miles in less than 18 hours. It was a historic event that brought together high winds, a severe drought, and a human fire ignition. A horrible tragedy that was made worse by the over-development of the Gatlinburg area. Many of the houses that burned were on steep slopes and ridge tops in fire adapted vegetation like pine-oak/heath and dry oak forest made more dangerous by steep, narrow access roads. It was a tragedy waiting to happen. All you folks that live in the woods would be wise to keep leaves and shrubs away from your house and to make sure your community is "fire wise".
    Yep, it's insane. As I read more, it looks like they knew it was coming by the afternoon, and the word didn't get out fast enough on the proper channels. I must say, seeing that claim from WNCmtnman first only made me believe it less until the grim confirmation, including that map. It was pretty unfathomable that it would travel that far in a day, but here we are.

    I've now started thinking about communities I once considered relatively safe from wildfires - heck, Asheville could've been in serious trouble if a fire was going in Bent Creek or the Swannanoa Mountains on Monday. Not that there'd be flames in the treetops or cities 'completely consumed' or anything, but still. I know plenty of homes in my neighborhood aren't "fire wise".

    Comments like yours are what keep me (mostly) lurking in this 90's era forum despite it seeming like such an anachronism in this age of social media. And, though I might get flamed for saying it, I've been impressed with MountainTrue from what I've seen. Moreso now after reading your posts. Thanks for jumping in.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmb65 View Post
    And I'd love to get your thoughts. Besides your go to " let's just let the USFS do their job". WTF, does that mean?
    It means it exactly as it states; let the USFS do their job in management. I've clearly stated my opinions on the matter. We need thinner forests, less old growth, more early succesional growth and you achieve that through means of burning and sustainable logging. You say I have an agenda, well if an agenda is not wanting to watch 100,000 acres within a 70 mile radius of Asheville go up in flames again, then I couldn't give a crap what you label it! I don't want to see my community be the next. I don't want to see my family and friends have to flee their home. If that is an agenda, then so be it. We are at a crossroads not predicated on hearsay anymore. Droughts are becoming more common and more severe, and our forests are becoming more conducive to large, high intensity wildfires. Those are facts. That isn't debatable and now the extent at which wildfires can use these ingredients to take a toll on our communities, isn't debatable either. You can label me whatever you'd like, it doesn't change what is going on around you. You can either continue to keep your head in the sand and attack me, cherrypicking what you want to read from me, or you can heed the warning from those tasked with ensuring atrocities like this don't happen, and help them fulfill their mission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post
    Yep, it's insane. As I read more, it looks like they knew it was coming by the afternoon, and the word didn't get out fast enough on the proper channels. I must say, seeing that claim from WNCmtnman first only made me believe it less until the grim confirmation, including that map. It was pretty unfathomable that it would travel that far in a day, but here we are.
    In this thread, I have very if at all, given facts without citation. You may not like me as a poster or my message, but it shouldn't prevent you from believing I am telling the truth no matter which angle you think I am presenting the truth from. I am going to take a break from this forum, it seems to be getting a little too personal and heated. My apologies for allowing that to happen, but I hope we all understand that what we have been through this fall, is not something we can allow to happen again. We can't chalk it up to a 'once in a lifetime' scenario. The scenario is becoming more common, partially a result of our very own choices.

    I'll leave this forum to you guys again. I hope you all have a wonderful, smoke free, holidays.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    I am "that guy" I am not disgruntled, I did not lose my job (although I have willingly switched employers to benefit my 1st child being born in march). Some people in this thread know me. I haven't expounded upon my situation because that is not the intent of this thread....the summary of my experience with mountain true was them enacting unnecessary litigation in an attempt to delay project timelines to a point where it would lose millions in funding from Buncombe Co. You can probably go figure it out based on that, and I would prefer not to discuss it in any more detail.

    On this website, I am a mountain biker first, check my post history and reputation. I just like to chime in from time to time on interesting subjects that I have an opinion on.

    The calls for people to reveal their identities is unnecessary. The interne is great: you can just anonymously spew BS without fear of personal retribution.
    I'm leaving this forum to you guys again. Thank you for your input and knowledge, sorry I allowed it go get out of hand. Hopefully we'll see some progress in the future! Take care.

  100. #100
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    The problems that lead to tragedies like the fires in the southern Appalachians right now are deeply systemic, and there's no simple solution.

    You can go on about forest management, and yeah, it definitely plays a role. But even that isn't a simple solution. Prescribed burns during low risk periods of time are helpful to prevent low intensity fires that cause a lot of damage, but high intensity fires also provide valuable ecological services to the forest. The real goal of a broad forest management plan is for the forest to have a patchwork structure that provides diversity at all scale levels. This level of diversity helps to reduce the size of high intensity fires by providing for natural barriers through varied forest structure.

    And yeah, clear cuts DO mimic at least some of the effects of a high intensity fire. They are able to do so without the risks to adjacent homes and towns, so there's definitely that. Some species are in fact adapted to these high intensity fires, and are benefited by clear cuts, too.

    The Kirtland's Warbler/jack pine ecology is a prime example, and clear cutting is the primary method used nowadays.

    https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endanger.../kiwamgmt.html
    https://www.michigan.gov/documents/d...P_457727_7.pdf

    A lot was learned about managing the forest for the birds after a devastating fire in 1980.

    https://www.fireleadership.gov/toolb...e_July1981.pdf

    That fire also affected the use of prescribed fires in ALL USFS lands in the country, and is the reason that clear cutting is the primary management tool.

    And the reason comes down to human habitation. When you have large, contiguous stands of forest devoid of human development, you can be a little more laid-back in your approach to dealing with any fire that might occur (whether natural, accidental human-caused, or intentionally set). But when forests are heavily fragmented by human habitation and development, and when there's a patchwork of land ownership, pre-fire management gets complicated fast. Prescribed burning has to be done on small scales if it's done at all. High intensity fires can't be used, no matter what their benefits. Those benefits to the forest have to be replicated as best as possible in some other way. Timber cutting is really the most practical. Development patterns in many cases really harm the ability to manage the forest as a whole.

    And complicating matters even more, how many private landowners with acreage actively manage their woodlots at all? VERY few that I'm aware of. I only visit WNC, but I know a number of folks who own land. SOME people try to make some money off of it, and some of them engage in some active management in an effort to make a living. But most of them do downright nothing. No work to address invasive species. Nothing to reduce brush loads, improve tree regeneration, improve herbaceous plant growth/diversity. Many won't allow hunting, so deer overbrowsing hammers plant diversity and forest structure from that end, too.

    And yeah, environmental groups bear some culpability. I did seasonal work for the USFS for a few years, and got out of it, largely because of how the USFS got screwed over by environmental groups. I'm not going to throw out the names of specific groups, but there are a lot of them that might be run by just a couple of people, and they make their living by suing the government. The ones in my experience knowingly made falls claims by mis-referencing research in their legal filings to stop some management action. Oftentimes that management action involves cutting trees. Didn't matter if that cutting was prompted by an effort to curb some tree disease or insect infestation, the cutting of trees was an effort to be prevented at all costs. But for the enviro groups in question, the goal was not to win the case outright. They couldn't do that. The science doesn't show that their objective is the right one. So their goal in filing a case and misrepresenting the science is just to tie the government up in the courts for years defending themselves, spending their management budget on legal fees, and stopping the action that way. The government workers, instead of doing their jobs and managing the resources under their purview, are spending their time weeding through the case against them, refuting every bogus claim made by the enviro groups. All through this time, the forest dies from disease or infestation. All those dead trees increase the fuel load, and make subsequent fires worse.

    I'm certain that I've only captured a small portion of the issue's complexity and I can only hope I do it some justice.

    How are we supposed to fix this? If the motivation was there to actually do something, MAYBE we could make things better. MAYBE hitting each issue one-by-one would help. Start by addressing bogus lawsuits filed by enviro groups intended to tie up the agency in courts for years to prevent forest management efforts that are time sensitive. I really don't know how to do that, yet still make it possible for citizens to be engaged with agency efforts and keep them accountable to best practices.

    What I do know is that in my interactions with government employees in a variety of state and federal agencies, they really do want to do the best job possible. They want healthy forests and healthy wildlife. But these agencies get hamstrung in so many ways that it's very difficult for them to do the best job possible.

  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    In many cases, no, old forests are not sustainable.
    Quoted for truth.

    Think about it this way mountainbiker24....one of the many reasons we would promote a controlled burn is forest health. A lot of this thread, however, is targeted not so much to that as preventing/mitigating out of hand fires that jeopardize human health and structures. If we did nothing, the old forests you're talking abt would die due to pest, or a fire would come through naturally, etc. Poof. Now the forest regrows. At the beginning of this circle you stimulate dense growth on the forest floor that is good for all kinds of critters that need the dense growth for protection from predators (example). Also for fire adapted species that won't even germinate till they burn. Toss a pinecone in a fire in your backyard (not now, wait till we get more rain!) and watch as it pops up next year and the rest of the cones don't. Fact is, if you don't burn or log the forest in a controlled setting when you want to, a rogue campfire or a beetle will do this for you when you likely don't want it done.

    It's a circle. If we push and pull the forest along the circle ourselves, we can guide it and protect the people living near it, for example. We can also stimulate wildlife in the area for all kinds of reasons. Fuzzy ones like I want to see deer, and hungry ones like I want to shoot and eat that deer.

    Wildfires don't really get a ton of attention until someone or their personal property is at stake. Active management is another way to use the forest to benefit all users while protecting the public. I really don't understand the push against it.

    Didn't Chimney Rock fire cost north of $7mil??? Wowza.

  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbwnc View Post

    I've now started thinking about communities I once considered relatively safe from wildfires - heck, Asheville could've been in serious trouble if a fire was going in Bent Creek or the Swannanoa Mountains on Monday. Not that there'd be flames in the treetops or cities 'completely consumed' or anything, but still. I know plenty of homes in my neighborhood aren't "fire wise".

    Comments like yours are what keep me (mostly) lurking in this 90's era forum despite it seeming like such an anachronism in this age of social media. And, though I might get flamed for saying it, I've been impressed with MountainTrue from what I've seen. Moreso now after reading your posts. Thanks for jumping in.
    Thanks for the kind words about MountainTrue. I appreciate that. The Southern Blue Ridge is one of the best places on Earth, and we do our best to keep the waters clean and the mountains wild and diverse.

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    There is a lot of truth in what you say, Lithified. There are other dynamics that are common in our area, too. On about half the landscape stand replacement fire is an extremely rare. Basically, the moist cove forests of our region experience stand replacement fire at such long intervals that you can just about ignore those effects, though that could change as the climate heats up. Those forests are also protected from big wind events by the surrounding ridges. That all adds up to forests where patchy disturbance is the rule, and bigger events like tornadoes, landslides and fires are the exception.

    I'm right with you that we need to work with nature in our forest management to reduce wildfire risks and create the benefits that fires produce.

    I also believe that there are big benefits to allowing remote areas and in areas with special ecological and cultural qualities to be managed in a way that allows natural disturbance to be the primary influence on the land.

    I hope you have a productive deer season.

  104. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post

    No, I am part of a larger conglomerate fed up with backdoored MOU's and having our voice snuffed out by organizations like MountainTrue only to see MountainTrue show up in the paper during times like this. We do see you and we're not stupid.
    "WNCmtnman",

    It is clear that you are one of the sportsmen on the Stakeholders Forum that were insutled/hurt when the MOU on recreation and wilderness was released. I apologized then and I'll say it again: I'm sorry for the timing on that and how it caught you and others by surprise. The roll out was not done with enough thought to how it would be received by people like you and it did not help the conversation in the Stakeholders Forum. Believe it or not, it was far from my mind to threaten you or undermind your trust. I naively thought that others would see the MOU just like I did: as a positive agreement between recreation groups and wilderness advocates. I now understand that it was also seen as an attempt to bulldoze opposition to Wilderness and National Recreation Area designation.

    It's clear that you are still hurt. When people are hurt, they lash out (e.g. your personal attacks towards me). Hurt people hurt people, as the saying goes. I'm doing my best not to take your strong feelings personally. I'm doing my best to be a whole person, not a hurt person. I'm asking you to heal your wounds so that you stop trying to hurt me and others. It will pay off. I'm going to continue to show up in the local paper and you will be a lot happier if that doesn't bother you. We have different perspectives but our motivations are the same: we love these mountains.

    Looking into the future, I continue to work for a way to reconcile my desire to maintain remote wild areas and to support you and your community in getting more active management for wildlife. I think we will both be successful to the extent that we are able to accommodate each others' values. Having grown up during the "timber wars" on National Forests, my perspective is that fighting between interests hasn't led to good results for anyone. The local cooperation between mountain bikers and Wilderness advocates is a great example of a win-win (not one mile of existing mountain-bike trail is being considered for Wilderness) and I think there are other non-zero-sum outcomes to be had relating to wildlife management, restoration, timber harvest, and recreation throughout the Nanthala-Pisgah.

    Why am I so optimistic? Because the alternative is not nearly as fun.

    Cheers,
    Josh

  105. #105
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    Fires got you thinking about management? How about these warming temperatures?

    There is plenty of evidence to support more effective Carbon sequestration through proper forest management. The USDA and USFS backs it. Do you? The sources are cited at the bottom.

    https://www.fs.fed.us/ecosystemservices/carbon.shtml

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    I know this has become an afterthought but we still need to be very proactive in our education and action.

    I read this today in the Asheville Citizen Times. If you believe it is any different in the Pisgah or Nantahala National Forests, you are sadly mistaken. We need active management NOW!

    UT Professor: Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 520,000 acres of tinderbox

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Also, the drought conditions here are rare. Pisgah area is technically a temperate rain forest. If current conditions are the new norm, then management practices may need to change.

    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Woah, pump the brakes sir. Drought conditions like this are not rare, they are cyclical. They happen about every 4 to 5 years. We had one in 2007 and we had another in 2009. As for the temperate rain forest, you have to understand the diversity of the PNF. At one end sitting in SW Transylvania County, you have the wettest area in all of North Carolina, and on the other, you have Asheville, the driest city in all of North Carolina. Yes parts of it are considered a temperate forest but that just depends on where they calculate rainfall.
    Hello. It's me again. Are you ready to have open minded discussions about management yet?

    https://wlos.com/news/local/nc-fores...e-ones-in-2016

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