Originally Posted by CTKook
Originally Posted by epic
So are prescribed burns out of favor because Land Managers believe that they are not needed, or are they out of favor because managers are afraid of getting sued (or arrested) if/when one gets out of hand?
The latter, essentially, with additional complications in terms of air quality and the like. Even if they don't get out of hand, they cause smoke, which some people don't like. And, some people never like the idea of things being burned or thinned, just as logging is out of favor (but is coming back in).
There's a tacit prescribed burn policy going on with a number of these fires, though, in terms of the way the fires are managed. Which is probably a good thing.
One other significant factor is declining budgets. There is less money for all land management activities, and bad fire seasons take a huge amount of what's left (the Feds are essentially out of money this year), and it's difficult to round up sufficient staffing for prescribed fires when fighting wildfires takes up all the available qualified people. And the public comes kind of unglued when prescribed fire projects are initiated during heavy suppression activity.
The warm dry weather of recent years in many places hasn't helped either - that makes it a lot harder to meet the prescription for many Rx fires, and longer, more severe wildfire seasons take money and personnel away from possible use for Rx fire.
Edited to add: Managers would like to use much more Rx fire because a fire lit under prescription is much more likely to meet land management objectives than a raging wildfire, and Rx fire is cheaper than wildfire suppression so more money would be left over.
Also, air quality rules affect Rx fire plans.
But many people feel that responsible prescribed fire and thinning will never be sufficient to meet the fuel treatment needs that exist currently because of environmental and social issues.Edited by Bob Lee - 8/27/13 at 11:27am