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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Listening Point - General Discussion :: Regulations for managing fires in the BWCAW
 
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jhb8426
07/07/2020 09:32PM
 
acanoer: Because they are public agencies and anything they do should be subject to public oversight."


Sure thing.
 
MidwestFirecraft
07/08/2020 08:30AM
 
jhb8426: "MidwestFirecraft: "I am surprised there is not an OPORD on line about this..."



Other than casual interest or PR what really is the public need to know on this? Sounds more like an inter agency item than a public need to know."



My MOS was 51M Firefighter when I was enlisted. Mostly did structural and aircraft fires so I am not that familiar with wildfires. My intrigue was with lessons learned. I thought the Forest Service had been putting every little fire out for a time, and learned that can lead to a situation where there is way more fuel for a fire to burn and get out of control. I thought I remember reading that they where going to allow natural fires started by lighting to burn. I can't find anything about this on the web though, so maybe I made it all up, or am remembering it incorrectly.
 
MHS67
07/08/2020 11:35AM
 
MidwestFirecraft: "jhb8426: "MidwestFirecraft: "I am surprised there is not an OPORD on line about this..."




Other than casual interest or PR what really is the public need to know on this? Sounds more like an inter agency item than a public need to know."




My MOS was 51M Firefighter when I was enlisted. Mostly did structural and aircraft fires so I am not that familiar with wildfires. My intrigue was with lessons learned. I thought the Forest Service had been putting every little fire out for a time, and learned that can lead to a situation where there is way more fuel for a fire to burn and get out of control. I thought I remember reading that they where going to allow natural fires started by lighting to burn. I can't find anything about this on the web though, so maybe I made it all up, or am remembering it incorrectly. "



No, you remember correctly. That is how the Pagami Creek fire started. I think between the 1988 fire in Yellowstone and Pagami Creek maybe the USFS stopped letting natural fires burn during very dry conditions. I think they realize they were EXTREMELY lucky nobody was seriously injured during the Pagami Creek. A very interesting video is when the folks tasked to clear out campers in the path of the fire, had to deploy there fire shelters. I used it several times when teaching the fire shelter class at school.
 
LindenTree
07/08/2020 12:02PM
 
MidwestFirecraft: "Does anyone have a link to the USFS regulations for when the allow a fire to burn, and when they decide to contain or extinguish it? I thought it was determined that putting every little fire out that was naturally caused by lighting was a mistake, but they are putting the 8 acre fire in the Sundial PMA out. Just curious what the current thought process is. This is all I could find which did not answer my question. Wildland Fire "


The document you are looking is called the "Superior National Forest Fire Management Plan" every federal agency with burnable vegetation has to have a current one on file. I'm surprised I can't find it, since many other NF's fire management plans are on the web.
 
MidwestFirecraft
07/08/2020 02:38PM
 
LindenTree: "MidwestFirecraft: "Does anyone have a link to the USFS regulations for when the allow a fire to burn, and when they decide to contain or extinguish it? I thought it was determined that putting every little fire out that was naturally caused by lighting was a mistake, but they are putting the 8 acre fire in the Sundial PMA out. Just curious what the current thought process is. This is all I could find which did not answer my question. Wildland Fire "



The document you are looking is called the "Superior National Forest Fire Management Plan" every federal agency with burnable vegetation has to have a current one on file. I'm surprised I can't find it, since many other NF's fire management plans are on the web."



Just called the Kawashiwi Ranger Station and they said it was not available online. She said this year was different with Covid and available resources as to how they are responding to wildfires.
 
LindenTree
07/08/2020 03:15PM
 
MidwestFirecraft: "LindenTree: "MidwestFirecraft: "Does anyone have a link to the USFS regulations for when the allow a fire to burn, and when they decide to contain or extinguish it? I thought it was determined that putting every little fire out that was naturally caused by lighting was a mistake, but they are putting the 8 acre fire in the Sundial PMA out. Just curious what the current thought process is. This is all I could find which did not answer my question. Wildland Fire "




The document you are looking is called the "Superior National Forest Fire Management Plan" every federal agency with burnable vegetation has to have a current one on file. I'm surprised I can't find it, since many other NF's fire management plans are on the web."




Just called the Kawashiwi Ranger Station and they said it was not available online. She said this year was different with Covid and available resources as to how they are responding to wildfires. "



Seems odd to me that it is not on-line, if I remember correctly Fire Management Plans (FMP's) have to be updated every 3 years.


FYI, according to the Eastern Area Situation Report the Superior NF has had 10 lightning fires for 11 acres total so far this year.
 
MidwestFirecraft
07/06/2020 09:15AM
 
Does anyone have a link to the USFS regulations for when the allow a fire to burn, and when they decide to contain or extinguish it? I thought it was determined that putting every little fire out that was naturally caused by lighting was a mistake, but they are putting the 8 acre fire in the Sundial PMA out. Just curious what the current thought process is. This is all I could find which did not answer my question. Wildland Fire
 
LindenTree
07/06/2020 10:35AM
 
I think I've searched for that before and came up empty. Here are a few things the USFS will consider in their thought process whether to allow a fire spread. Not in any necessary order.


1, Was the fire a natural start or Human caused? (Natural starts may be allowed to spread over human caused fires)
2, Fire danger indices. (Right now it is too dry to allow any fire to spread.)
3, Distance the fire is from any human improvements or Canadian Border. (Fires within a certain distance from homes, towns, roads are suppressed. This response is pre-planned).
4, Covid-19. (Fires during this time are going put out do to the virus and the impact a large fire camp could have on fire crews).
5, National fire activity. (Fires may be suppressed if there is significant fire activity in other parts of the US).


I'll guarantee there are a few, if not many other considerations I did not mention.

Eastern Area fire response plan due to Covid-19
 
MidwestFirecraft
07/08/2020 04:18PM
 
LindenTree: "MidwestFirecraft: "LindenTree: "MidwestFirecraft: "Does anyone have a link to the USFS regulations for when the allow a fire to burn, and when they decide to contain or extinguish it? I thought it was determined that putting every little fire out that was naturally caused by lighting was a mistake, but they are putting the 8 acre fire in the Sundial PMA out. Just curious what the current thought process is. This is all I could find which did not answer my question. Wildland Fire "





The document you are looking is called the "Superior National Forest Fire Management Plan" every federal agency with burnable vegetation has to have a current one on file. I'm surprised I can't find it, since many other NF's fire management plans are on the web."





Just called the Kawashiwi Ranger Station and they said it was not available online. She said this year was different with Covid and available resources as to how they are responding to wildfires. "




Seems odd to me that it is not on-line, if I remember correctly Fire Management Plans (FMP's) have to be updated every 3 years.



FYI, according to the Eastern Area Situation Report the Superior NF has had 10 lightning fires for 11 acres total so far this year."



If you don't mind sharing, I'd like to know your opinion on allowing lighting started fires in the BWCAW to burn on their own. I understand why you might not want to go there on a public forum, but would appreciate your point of view.
 
LindenTree
07/08/2020 04:53PM
 
MidwestFirecraft:
If you don't mind sharing, I'd like to know your opinion on allowing lighting started fires in the BWCAW to burn on their own. I understand why you might not want to go there on a public forum, but would appreciate your point of view. "



I'm retired now and only do fires on an emergency basis so I don't mind sharing.


I think there is a time and place where and when lightning fires should be allowed to burn, during this last dry spell, and Carona-19, I do not think allowing fires to spread would be a good idea. Use it as another tool. I spent 13 years as the Prescribed Fire Specialist for 5 National Wildlife refuges in Northern MN. I and my crew personally burned probably ~55,000 acres, mostly in the Tall Grass Prairie and pines of Tamarac NWR. I got signed off as a type 2 Burn Boss when I worked for the Superior NF, and cut my teeth on burning blow-down areas from the 1999 windstorm.


My last 3 years were spent in Alaska where we allowed 90 percent of lightning fires to burn, but those were mostly in the sticks.
My old district in AK allowed a lightning fire to spread last year on the Kenai Peninsula, it burned 160,000 acres and caused a lot of difficulties, closing roads, burning a high voltage power line, burned through a couple campgrounds and burned over my old Federal quarters/Guard Station. (It survived) They went full suppression on it when it was a around 20 thousand acres but the Jeanie was out of the box. It cost around 20 million dollars to put out and burned for 4 months. The smoke from it caused major issues in Anchorage and is partly blamed for one private plane crash with fatatalies due to low visibility.
And don't forget the Pagami Fire, was there for 2 weeks on that one.


I think prescribed burning is a safer way to restore a fire dependent community, due to forest fuel build up, but it is usually much more expensive than allowing lightning fires to move around.

Search Gila NF FIre USe, they have been using lightning strikes to restore fire dependent communities for years.
 
LindenTree
07/08/2020 05:23PM
 
Double Post



 
smoke
07/08/2020 08:17PM
 
Jack Wilson, Director NIFC, retired " We know surprisingly little about wildfire and that in certain situations, most of what we think we know about fire can also go up in flames."
 
jhb8426
07/08/2020 08:45PM
 
MidwestFirecraft: "I thought I remember reading that they where going to allow natural fires started by lighting to burn. I can't find anything about this on the web though, so maybe I made it all up, or am remembering it incorrectly. "


I recall that as well. I think it may have been in a news article during the Pagami Creek fire, or it may have been in a PR piece on the forest Service website at the same time explaining the what and why of wildfires.
 
MidwestFirecraft
07/08/2020 05:26PM
 
LindenTree: "MidwestFirecraft:
If you don't mind sharing, I'd like to know your opinion on allowing lighting started fires in the BWCAW to burn on their own. I understand why you might not want to go there on a public forum, but would appreciate your point of view. "




I'm retired now and only do fires on an emergency basis so I don't mind sharing.



I think there is a time and place where and when lightning fires should be allowed to burn, during this last dry spell, and Carona-19, I do not think allowing fires to spread would be a good idea. Use it as another tool. I spent 13 years as the Prescribed Fire Specialist for 5 National Wildlife refuges in Northern MN. I and my crew personally burned probably ~55,000 acres, mostly in the Tall Grass Prairie and pines of Tamarac NWR. I got signed off as a type 2 Burn Boss when I worked for the Superior NF, and cut my teeth on burning blow-down areas from the 1999 windstorm.



My last 3 years were spent in Alaska where we allowed 90 percent of lightning fires to burn, but those were mostly in the sticks.
My old district in AK allowed a lightning fire to spread last year on the Kenai Peninsula, it burned 160,000 acres and caused a lot of difficulties, closing roads, burning a high voltage power line, burned through a couple campgrounds and burned over my old Federal quarters/Guard Station. (It survived) They went full suppression on it when it was a around 20 thousand acres but the Jeanie was out of the box. It cost around 20 million dollars to put out and burned for 4 months. The smoke from it caused major issues in Anchorage and is partly blamed for one private plane crash with fatatalies due to low visibility.
And don't forget the Pagami Fire, was there for 2 weeks on that one.



I think prescribed burning is a safer way to restore a fire dependent community, due to forest fuel build up, but it is usually much more expensive than allowing lightning fires to move around."



Thank you for sharing your insight and real world experience. As much as I hate camping in burned areas, I was still leaning towards letting natural fires go. It just doesn't appear to be a realistic way of managing the forest. Despite the cost, it sounds like prescribed burns are the way to go.
 
smoke
07/07/2020 07:07AM
 
There is less stress when you don't know how the Forest Service makes fire decisions.
 
MidwestFirecraft
07/06/2020 12:05PM
 
I am surprised there is not an OPORD on line about this, but every point you stated makes perfect sense and most I actually had not thought off. Thank you for your response.
 
jhb8426
07/06/2020 11:54PM
 
MidwestFirecraft: "I am surprised there is not an OPORD on line about this..."


Other than casual interest or PR what really is the public need to know on this? Sounds more like an inter agency item than a public need to know.
 
acanoer
07/07/2020 05:27AM
 
jhb8426: "MidwestFirecraft: "I am surprised there is not an OPORD on line about this..."



Other than casual interest or PR what really is the public need to know on this? Sounds more like an inter agency item than a public need to know."



Because they are public agencies and anything they do should be subject to public oversight.

 
MidwestFirecraft
07/07/2020 06:36AM