This post has been getting lots of views and discussion. I usually post once a week, but this will be a re-post with additional comments at the end. The Forest Service has been a major topic of discussion especially with a new administration and a new incoming chief. This will provide plenty of opportunity for discussion.
Instead of writing about the forest I wanted to provide some perspective on social media. If you are reading this, chances are that you also understand and use some sort of social media. These different services are incredible opportunities for individuals and businesses to create and consume content they deem important or interesting. These things are not terribly difficult, but they can be a little overwhelming for some.
August 2017 has covered much of the West with a blanket of smoke. Although the media has been portraying this as coming from the BC fires, there are fires throughout the region and there’s bound to be more. This is unfortunate for everyone and our forests.
Growing up in the Inland Northwest in the 80’s and 90’s summers were great. We knew fire was always possible, but it wasn’t a clear and present danger like it is now. The last few years the summers as we knew them only last for about a month. As soon as July rolls around it seems like a matter of time before the smoke rolls in. The fires are so big now, that the smoke doesn’t even have to be from fires in the immediate area.
Summer in the New West
Many people talk about how this is a result of climate change and past logging practices. Although there may be shards of truth in those positions, I don’t believe it’s the real story. Continue reading “The New West”
While checking social media, I came a cross this article from ARCHITECTURE AU on LinkedIn. The Austrailian publication has great content. “The Buildings We Deserve” is a Q&A with Andrew Waugh. Andrew is the co-founder of Waugh Thistleton, a London-based architecture firm that specializes in Timber structures. Timber in much of the world is used to refer to lumber. More specifically, in the case of Waugh Thistleton, they are referencing Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).
The topic of wildfire raises the level of awareness of our forests. Some of this is good. People become aware and then they are compelled to act. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if they are going to act in the right manner.
Wildfire in the West
In the fire-prone forests of the Intermountain West, fire is part of life. These forests have adapted to survive regular fire intervals for centuries. Ponderosa Pines and Western Larch are prime examples of species that are specifically capable of withstanding significant fire. Unfortunately, some of our actions have put even the most capable trees at risk. These actions and subsequent inactions have put entire forests and massive ecosystems at risk.
Since publishing the A to Z blog post, readers have been asking how the court appearance actually went. Many of you may know how to find these videos, but in case you didn’t here it is. This is the 34-minute video of the appeal hearing. It was quite interesting to be there in person.
There’s a great deal of talk in today’s forest management circles about the use of prescribed fire as a tool to manage forests. Fire can certainly be a great tool to reduce forest fuels and maintain tree spacing. It’s been used by mother nature for eons. So much so that many tree species like Ponderosa Pine and Western Larch have become resistant to fire in order to survive the regular intervals of lightning caused fires.
Active Management and Prescribed Fire
Prescribed fire should be used in conjunction with active forest management. There are certainly areas where fire might be used on it’s own. It’s ideally performed in the front country with established road systems. In these areas we can commercially thin or log these areas to achieve historical spacing. The next season it could be very beneficial to conduct prescribed fire.
What is the A to Z project? This is a US Forest Service project that is very unique. It’s located on the Colville National Forest in Northeast Washington State.
What makes A to Z Unique?
This project is a forest restoration project that is approximately 54,000 acres of forest land in NE Washington. Most projects on federal land are sold after the Forest Service has conducted the necessary environmental analysis as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This process can take many years to complete for a variety of reasons. In this case the Forest Service sold the project prior to completing the NEPA process. Hence the name, A to Z. Continue reading “A to Z”
The following is from a Column that I write for Timber Processing Magazine and appears in the June 2017 issue. Special thanks to Rich Donnell and the team at Hatton-Brown Publishing for providing the platform for me to share my thoughts.