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 “Forest Service OKs massive off-road rally without review”→
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.
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 “Op-Ed: Don’t blame enviros for large fires”→
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest re-opened; flash flood worries remain
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.