Truth on the Ground:  Destructive Post-Fire “Salvage” Logging–In Pictures

Source: Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) » Westside Truth on the Ground

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Here’s what the science really says about Fort McMurray and climate change | National Observer

Climate Change Causing More Fires

Now Fort McMurray residents have begun the difficult journey home weeks after that terrifying day in May when an unprecedented inferno, fueled by unusually hot and dry spring weather, caused them to flee and led to the largest evacuation in Alberta’s history.

Those unusual weather conditions have been widely attributed to El Nino, a naturally-occurring phenomenon linked to warm ocean water that disrupts the weather.

But Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire from the University of Alberta, and many other climate change scientists agree that while the Fort McMurray fires cannot be directly linked to the carbon pollution produced by humans, Canadian wildfire activity of the past few years is well above average. And it’s connected to the warming climate.

In terms of the total areas destroyed by fires, there’s an unmistakable escalation, they say.They see these fires as vivid markers of dangers to come for the forests and for the people and wildlife that live in them and around them.

As temperatures warm, they say, the likelihood is greater that more out of control infernos will consume more trees and human infrastructure.

Source: Here’s what the science really says about Fort McMurray and climate change | National Observer

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Spike in Alaska Wildfires is Worsening Global Warming | Climate Central

Northern wildfires must now be recognized as a significant driver of climate change – and not just a side-effect, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

“This is one of the surprises that we haven’t talked about much,” said Virginia Burkett, chief climate scientist at the USGS. “It has tremendous implications for the carbon that is locked up in Alaska soils and vegetation.”

A record wildfire year – such as 2015 which was the worst in Alaska for a decade – had a measurable effect on the release of carbon dioxide and methane, which are the main drivers of climate change.

“Our scientists found that the balance of carbon storage versus release in Alaska was strongly linked with wildfires,” Burkett said. “In years where there was high wildfire activity the net carbon balance declined dramatically, and then it would rebuild in the absence of fire.”

Source: Spike in Alaska Wildfires is Worsening Global Warming | Climate Central

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Spike in Alaska wildfires is worsening global warming, US says | Environment | The Guardian

The devastating rise in Alaska’s wildfires is making global warming even worse than scientists expected, US government researchers said on Wednesday.

The sharp spike in Alaska’s wildfires, where more than 5 million acres burned last year, are destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that have served as an enormous carbon sink.Northern wildfires must now be recognised as a significant driver of climate change – and not just a side-effect, according to the report from the US Geological Survey.   Source: Spike in Alaska wildfires is worsening global warming, US says | Environment | The Guardian

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The Beast that Burns; the Saviors We Kill

Accurate and artistic discussion of wildfire and beavers.

Exposing the Big Game

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/weblog_canada.php?p=5547&more=1

Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry’s your man. (And we’re happy to have him as part of our team, too!)

The Beast that Burns; the Saviors We Kill

Published 05/19/16

Beaver© U.S. Department of Agriculture

May 19, 2016. Last night, The Beast was headed toward the border, with about three miles to go.

“The Beast” is the name of the giant wildfire that…

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Soda Fire Recovery Not Going as Well as Portrayed in the Media

Last week a Associated Press article proclaimed that the rehabilitation taking place after the Soda Fire, which burned 225,953 acres along highway 95 on the Oregon/Idaho border in August, was going well. Not so fast. According to a report from Roger Rosentreter, a retired PhD botanist who worked for the BLM for 38 years, things aren’t going so well. Dr Rosentreter submitted his report to the BLM on April 25th after attending a tour of the Soda Fire recovery area sponsored by the Society for Ecological Restoration on April 12th. The tour was attended by staff from the USGS as well as the BLM. The tour consisted of stops at three areas, the Wilson meteorological/erosion station, the Blackstock drill seeding area, and the Upper Blackstock area.

At the beginning of the report, Dr. Rosentreter states:

“Based on observations at these sites is possible that BLM caused more damage than good on the Soda fire rehabilitation. Many of these actions caused damaged forbs and biocrusts. These disturbances destabilized the soil and will encourage the colonization by invasive species including cheatgrass.”

Large areas of the Soda Fire have been replanted with Siberian and crested wheatgrass, a non-native grass species that ranchers like for its livestock forage value. It has little value as wildlife habitat and is difficult to get rid of once it has been established. In one unburned area visited by Dr. Rosentreter, the BLM had used rangeland drills to disturb the soil and plant seeds. According to Rosentreter, this area did not need rehabilitation but, unfortunately, the drills overturned the soils in the unburned area and little was growing in the newly disturbed soils. These disturbed soils are now prime habitat for cheatgrass and medusahead rye, another invasive annual grass that has gained a foothold in this area and that is just as bad for fueling fires but even less palatable for wildlife than cheatgrass.

To summarize, Dr. Rosentreter says:

“The BLM project personnel may not have consulted with a broad cross section of their own experienced resource personnel and, instead, relied on less ecologically knowledgeable fire, operations, and local range staff for planning this apparently ill-fated rehabilitation operation. An oversite review by BLM soil scientists, botanists and more experienced wildlife personnel could have provided valuable recommendations for adaptive management. Future review by non-agency scientists might help to improve future fire rehabilitation plans and actions. This rehabilitation did not utilize the knowledge gained from recent science on fire rehabilation nor on the vegetative needs of sage grouse.”

From: www.thewildlifenews.com

GR:  BLM often tries to assist ranchers without regard for the long-term stability of rangeland ecosystems.  Here’s another excellent example of the disastrous consequences.

Hot Winds Fan Massive, Unprecedented March Wildfire Burning 40 Mile Swath Through Kansas and Oklahoma

GarryRogersIn arid and semi-arid environments, introduced invasive plants fill openings left by fires. In the Great Plains, perennial grasses tolerate fires well. Where livestock grazing and other disturbances have broken soil surfaces, however, the fire increases the opportunities for invasive plants to establish. Fine fuel builds up. Shortened fire recurrence intervals can overcome the resistance of perennial grasses and lead to weedlands of little value for wildlife, wildlife, or soil stability.

robertscribbler

It’s likely that we’ve never seen a March wildfire like the beast that just ripped through Kansas and Oklahoma over the past day. But in a world that’s now exploring a new peak temperature range near or above 1.5 C warmer than pre-industrial averages, a level of heat not seen in the past 110,000 years, we’d be out of our minds to expect the weather and climate conditions to behave in any kind of manner that could be considered normal.

We’re Probably Looking at the Worst Wildfire on Record for Kansas and Oklahoma

Kansas Oklahoma Wildfire March 2016

(Massive, unprecedented, wildfire burns along a 40 mile swath across Kansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday. Image source: NASA/MODIS.)

And abnormal absolutely describes what happened in Oklahoma and Kansas yesterday and today.

The first sign of trouble was a warning of severe fire risk by weather officials for a multi-state region of the Central US on Wednesday

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States At Risk: America’s Preparedness Report Card

This report card explores the preparedness actions that each of the 50 states are taking in relation to their current and future changes in climate threats.  From: statesatrisk.org

Here’s an interesting map.

Major Wildfire Outbreak in Central and Western Africa as Drought, Hunger Grow More Widespread

Drought and heat combine to expand fire size and extend the burning season. In Arizona, in the 20th Century, lightning ignited the largest fires in early summer when low humidity and high temperature had prepped the vegetation combustion. Human-caused fires during the more-humid conditions of the rest of the year were smaller. However, as things have warmed up and the drought has intensified, large human-caused fires are beginning to flare up in other seasons. The devastating result is that the fire recurrence interval is becoming too short for regeneration by most native perennial plants. Much of the Sonoran Desert is becoming an annual weedland (https://garryrogers.com/2014/01/14/desert-fire/).

robertscribbler

The major news organizations haven’t picked it up yet, but there’s a massive wildfire outbreak now ongoing over Central and Western Africa. These wildfires are plainly visible in the NASA/MODIS satellite shot — covering about a 1,400 mile swath stretching from the Ivory Coast, through Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon and on across the Central African Republic, the Congo, and Gabon.

Major Wildfire Outbreak Central Africa

(Very large wildfire outbreak in Central Africa in the February 10 LANCE-MODIS satellite shot. For reference, bottom edge of frame covers about 350 miles. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

Smoke from these fires is extremely widespread — stretching over almost all of Western and Central Africa, blanketing parts of Southern Africa and ghosting on out over the Southern Atlantic Ocean. Together with these massive fires we have what appears to be a rather significant CO2 plume showing up in the Coperinicus monitoring system (see below). It’s a signature reminiscent of…

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New report assesses impacts of drought on US forests

A new U.S. Forest Service report, edited in partnership with Duke University, projects that drought will have far-reaching impacts on U.S. forests and grasslands in coming decades. phys.org

What about logging, grazing, roads, transmission corridors, and recreation?