About these ads

Forest Service OKs massive off-road rally without review

Mexican spotted owl. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Conservation advocates may sue to block future editions of the jamboree on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — When it comes to policing the annual Rainbow Gathering, the U.S. Forest Service can pretty harsh, but apparently that same hardline doesn’t apply to off-roaders, at least in Arizona, where the agency has apparently developed a cozy relationship with motorized users.

According the conservation groups, the Forest Service authorized a six-day off-road rally without doing any environmental studies or reviewing the impacts to rare and sensitive forest species.

Based on promotional materials for the off-road jamboree, the event is at least partly commercial and requires Forest Service review and permitting. Part of the route is through areas affected by the Wallow Fire, where new vegetation is just becoming established, and it also appears that there is some commercial photography associated with the off-road rally. Continue reading

About these ads

Two men charged with starting Arizona’s Wallow Fire

Navajo Hotshots lining numerous spot fires in the Diamond Mountain area at the Wallow Fire in Arizona. PHOTO COURTESY KARI GREER, U.S. FOREST SERVICE. Visit the U.S. Forest Service Flickr page for more images by clicking on the image.

Unattended campfire pinpointed as cause of Arizona’s largest-ever wildfire

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Two Arizona men face potential fines of $5,000 each and up to six months in jail after being charged with starting the massive Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona at the end of May.

The fire ended up burning across a footprint of about 538,000 acres in two states and on Native American lands, destroying 32 residential structures and several other buildings and resulting in the temporary closure of the entire Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona on Aug. 24 filed formal charges against rhe two cousins, Caleb Joshua Malboeuf, 26, of Benson, Ariz.; and David Wayne Malboeuf, 24, of Tucson, Ariz. Continue reading

Op-Ed: Don’t blame enviros for large fires

A map showing the boundaries of the Four Forests restoration initiative.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s hard to believe that anyone would want to score political points in the aftermath of a large and destructive wildfire.

But that’s exactly what happened as the massive Wallow Fire in Arizona waned, when several members of Arizona’s congressional delegation tried to blame damage caused by the Wallow fire on lawsuits filed by environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity.

Trying to place the blame externally is a typical, and in some cases understandable reaction in many situations, as it’s easier to quickly point fingers instead trying to understand somewhat complex topics like fire ecology, forest restoration and global warming science. But when it’s done cynically to win votes, it’s inexcusable.

It’s even more sad that some of the same politicians seeking to blame environmental groups are the same ones who refuse to acknowledge global climate change, and the same ones who repeatedly seek to slash public land agency budgets, further hampering efforts to restore national forests. Continue reading

Arizona’s Wallow wildfire 100 percent contained

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest re-opened; flash flood worries remain

Firefighters make a stand along a road during the peak of the Wallow Wildfire. PHOTO BY JAYSON COIL VIA INCIWEB.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Fire officials said July 8 that the 538,000-acre Wallow Fire is 100 percent contained and have re-opened the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to visitors.

The fire started May 29 and quickly grew to become Arizona’s largest ever wildfire, even spreading across 15,000 acres in New Mexico. The size of the fire footprint can be misleading, because the fire didn’t burn every single acre within that perimeter. In some areas, it burned around stands of trees, but in other places it left nothing but scorched earth and blackened stumps.

A recent article and discussion thread on NewWest.net addressed the way the size of wildfires is reported by the media, as writer George Wuerthner claimed that the acreage totals are often cited without context about the pattern of wildfires and their role in forest ecology.

The fire was human-caused but the exact ignition source remains under investigation. The fire destroyed 32 residences and four commercial properties, while many more structures were saved by firefighters. Sixteen were injured during the month-long campaign. Fire information is updated continuously at Inciweb.org. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,613 other followers