Fwd: Re: Fwd: Fires were started

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Mon Aug 7 14:19:57 PDT 2000

[Jeff St Clair responds to James Heartfield's odd thought. - Doug]

X-From_: sitka at home.com Mon Aug 7 17:17:27 2000 Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2000 14:45:03 -0800 From: "Jeffrey St. Clair" <sitka at home.com> Reply-To: sitka at home.com Organization: CounterPunch X-Accept-Language: en MIME-Version: 1.0 To: Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com> Subject: Re: Fwd: Fires were started

Is he talking about the forest fires in Montana? If so, it's almost the opposite. Aggressive fire suppression for decades (essentially a federal fire insurance policy for the timber industry) has caused a build up of woody debris that can lead to catastrophic fires--not that these fires are catastrophic. Most of the Montana/Idaho forests are fire dependent. It's the intensity that's the difference and the fact that people have built fucking ranches (ala Ted Turner) out in the forest where they shouldn't be. 90 percent of the big fires start in former clearcuts, where you've got a thick growth of so-called "piss firs." The other big factor is roads. Road's lead inevitably to fires. There is almost an exact parallel between increased logging and increased fire risk. Lots of studies on this, even by the Forest Service who finds the topic anathema. The best book on fire is Stephen Pyne's wonderful Fire in America. There is a political economy to fire suppression which is very rarely looked at even by greens, though it supports their case. In Montana, nearly all the land where these fires are burning is in the checkerboard landscape, the legacy of the railroad land grants, where each square mile of land alternates between national forest and corporate (Plum Creek). The corporate lands are 98 percent logged over. Too much management is the fucking problem, not the reverse. Plus it's been a hot, dry, windy summer with lots of lightning strikes. Nothing you can do about that.--jsc

Doug Henwood wrote:

> Jeff, if you've got a minute, could you respond to this lunacy? - Doug
> >X-From_: owner-lbo-talk at dont.panix.com Mon Aug 7 16:22:00 2000
> >Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 19:24:31 +0100
> >To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> >From: Jim heartfield <jim at heartfield.demon.co.uk>
> >Subject: Fires were started
> >MIME-Version: 1.0
> >Sender: owner-lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> >Precedence: bulk
> >Reply-To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com
> >
> >Any views on the forest fires that are reported here?
> >
> >Too much land retired from productive use and untended?
> >--
> >James Heartfield
> >
> >Great Expectations: the creative industries in the New Economy
> >is available from Design Agenda,
> >4.27 The Beaux Arts Building,
> >10-18 Manor Gardens,
> >London, N7 6JT
> >Price 7.50 GBP + 1GBP p&p

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