Scorched land policy?
The door is open here in Douglas County and Lyon County, Nevada, for a potential disaster – not from a natural source, but from our seemingly unrelentless bureaucracy. Last year, the Bureau of Land Management chose to use fire to cleanse an area of land on Mt. Como, as well as other areas. The “controlled burn” on Mt. Como set by BLM got away and burned for four days, creating large, dense smoke clouds that smothered the area. With some luck, there were no houses in the area, but it sure did destroy lots of trees, grass, animal feed and habitat, watershed and scenery!
Now in January 2001, the BLM is planning to have a burn on Jack Wright Pass in Wellington where there is a wood cutting area. Tim Roide of BLM out of the Carson office told me that there is a lot of wood slash and grass that has occurred as a result of the wood cutting, and in his opinion, it must be burned to protect the land from potential lightning fire.
Eleven years ago, when the wood cutting area was opened, the BLM man in charge then told me that the benefit of cutting the trees was “that it would promote grassy areas and the slash would make cover for the birds and small wildlife in the area.”
What is wrong with these two decisions 11 years apart? The present decision to burn is the exact opposite of what was intended. Is this bureaucratic policy confusion or is it just plain ignorance? It is definitely socialism and policy formed by bureaucracies without compassion for the land and land use.
The area they plan to burn is two miles to the west of housing in Lyon County and four miles to the east of a very large development in Douglas County, Topaz Ranch Estates (TRE). The winds have been very unusual and erratic lately, with lots of wind from the east, and they can change from the southwest direction to the east direction unexpectedly and very quickly. Surrounding the wood cutting area to the east and south are large, open grassy areas, and to the north and west are grass and trees and a large watershed that is approximately four miles to the ridge to the north. Also, there are houses one and one-half miles to the south of the proposed burn. It would be a local disaster to lose any of these areas to fire and a crime to lose it to man-made mistakes.
There have been lots of wood cutting areas in Nevada over the last 25 years. Does this Nevada policy mean that all are potentially a threat and prone to a national government decision by BLM or Forestry to create a scorched earth policy and burn them, too? The answer to controlling grass fire danger is to allow or increase livestock grazing (yes, sheep, cattle and ranch horses) on public lands and to eliminate the influence of the social decisions of special interest groups. Protecting the environment can mean beneficial use of the land and not closure to ranching, farming, logging, mining and recreation. We must not rely on government to protect us or to form our decisions for us. We must speak out and not sit idle and allow socialism or any other “isms” to dilute our freedom, local or national. Uncontrolled bureaucracy is a fungus that can, left unattended, consume all in its path.
My advice to BLM and Forestry is to not repeat the disasters of Mt. Como in Nevada, among others, or the recent New Mexico and Colorado disasters that were planned “controlled burns” set by these agencies. Bad judgment by the so-called protectors of our public land is a crime.
BLM is making plans now to burn this January or February 2001. Please mail or fax your comments to the address below. A letter that can be documented counts much more than phone calls do, but they are all important for input.
Comments by Douglas County officials as well as local districts, and your input, will be made to Tim Roide, Bureau of Land Management, 5665 Morgan Mill Rd., Carson City 89701. Tim’s phone is 885-6185. Other BLM phone numbers are 885-6000 and 885-6101. The BLM fax number is 885-6106.
Please voice your concerns and exercise your rights as American citizens. Thank you.