Controlled Burn Turned Disaster – Again!
“As discussed in the article below, it is only common sense to use animal impact from goats, wild horses and cattle to replace the missing wildlife that formerly reduced fire hazards in our wild places. Fewer fires and better habitat will increase wild animal numbers.
NOTE: this article was was written by William E. Simpson II. It is posted here with the author’s permission.
Just one ‘Controlled or Prescribed Burn’ gone awry offsets any benefits from others, and cost citizens dearly!
The Guardian: Thousands flee New Mexico wildfire as blaze breaches containment lines
“The Calf Canyon fire started on 6 April when a prescribed burn set by firefighters to clear out small trees and brush that can fuel fires spun out of control”
Back in February 2022, I took flak from a wildfire suppression insider regarding my article (Prescribed Buring; A Second-Class Option), who argued in favor of controlled burns (guess he’s making money doing them).
He said they ‘never slop-over’. Obviously, that was just more anecdotal rhetoric coming from someone who makes money burning our landscape.
Now, yet again, we have another so-called ‘controlled=prescribed burn’ that’s become an uncontrolled catastrophic wildfire!
Already, the Calf Canyon Fire, a so-called ‘controlled/prescribed burn’ that got out of control, has consumed over 137-thousand acres and is going strong, incinerating everything in it’s path.
“It’s grown into the second-largest wildfire in the state’s history, according to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. About 170 homes have been destroyed and as many as 15,000 more are in danger, officials warned.”
So my further response to the man who gave me some guff over telling the truth is; ‘get educated’ my friend!
To everyone else, lets start making better decisions now, which includes reestablishing Nature’s powerful wildfire prevention and reduction tool… the native species herbivory.
This move opens-up additional grazing for the livestock industry, which supplies American consumers with products they want.
Coupled with that, we must relocate wild horses out of Herd Areas where they are commingled with livestock, which creates a problem for wild horses because their co-evolved predators are not present as a result of removing apex predators to protect livestock production.
Importantly, wild horses require their co-evolved predators for the critically important process of Natural Selection (maintains genetic vigor) and for population management.
The BLM has failed in this well-established scientific understanding in regard to the proper management of America’s wild horses. And instead, they are using exorbitantly costly work-arounds at the expense of American taxpayers, and at the expense of the genetic survival of wild horses.
Critical wilderness areas that contain threatened an endangered species of flora (and co-evolved fauna), plants and grasses are reseeded through an evolutionary mutualisms that wild horses have with all North American native plants. According to several published peer-reviewed scientific studies, wild horses (horses) reseed native plants due to the fact that they have simple digestive systems that pass most seeds they consume back onto the landscape and able to germinate.
On the other hand, native species plants and grasses are stripped off by ruminant grazers (cattle-sheep-goats) because they have complex stomachs that digest most plant and grass seeds they consume. Numerous published, peer-reviewed scientific studies support that statement.
So we should definitely use livestock outside environmentally sensitive critical wilderness areas.
Critical or designated wilderness is a fractional subset area of about 100-million acres of the total American wilderness that accounts for several hundred million acres.
From an ecological perspective, as well as an economic perspective, critical or designated wilderness is manifestly unsuited for livestock in any event due to extremely difficult access and related high logistics costs, combined with resident apex predators in significant numbers, which adversely impact cost of goods sold.
People try to argue around the fuels problem using posits related to ignition sources like camp fires, chains dragging, arson, etc. However, I can’t see us changing human behavior… some people are careless or ignorant and that results in added ignition sources. Nevertheless, lightening is the major source of ignition.
According to the United States Forest Service, the most common wildfire cause is lightning, representing 55.8 percent of wildfires and 74.3 percent of area burned between January 2000 and December 2008.
According to the best science, the only thing we can control are the accelerants (flashy fuels).
And how we manage those particular fuels requires all the tools we can muster, including, using the right tool in the right area. Each kind of herbivore, presents a tool ideal for a particular area.
Goats are great for urban and industrial area applications. Cattle and sheep are great for grazing lands that don’t contain the threatened or endangered flora found in critical (designated) wilderness, which requires a more ecologically appropriate grazer… wild horses don’t digest seeds like ruminants (cattle and sheep), so they are properly deployed into our ecologically sensitive wilderness.
So as it’s apparent, we have herbivores that are well suited for specific flashy fuel reduction in specific areas.
I do agree that there are areas where controlled burns may be required, since mowing just spreads invasive species plant and grass seeds:
For instance, we have fields full of invasive species Yellow Star Thistle that nothing will eat once it has spikes.
I can say from documented empirical observations; the wild horses I am studying will browse the immature Star thistle and have in fact, rid some alpine pastures of this invasive weed in my study area. They also browse coarse woody brush… such as white oak and the acorns.
We have a Plan (Wild Horse Fire Brigade) that has proof-of-concept in helping to stop a catastrophic wildfire in 2018 (the Klamathon Fire). We have economic data that is beyond question that the establishment of the Plan (Wild Horse Fire Brigade) will immediately save taxpayers the costs that are currently spent by the BLM on warehousing over 60,000 wild horses (that alone costs ~$80-million/year) along with the idiotic wild horse contraception program using PZP that will cost taxpayers another $37-million (this year).
Finally, we can surely add savings and major benefits to taxpayers from even a tiny reduction in the frequency and intensity of wildfire via the intelligent use of wild horses to symbiotically graze flashy fuels in our most remote critical wilderness areas.
NEWS WATCH 12 reporter Brett Taylor covers an important cost-effective wildfire tool.