SMOKE: No, don't run out and buy a pack of cigarettes. Not talking about that kind of smoke. Here in this area where we live, ( if you are not sure, see my profile ) we have literally been under a cloud or haze of smoke since back in March. Every day. From forest or grass fires. Several of them almost next door. Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas are especially hard hit fire wise. Right now there are several fires burning in Southern Colorado, more near Flagstaff, Arizona, others in various parts of New Mexico. But the big one, on the news, is the Wallow fire in Eastern Arizona. Nearing 400,000 acres and 5% contained. There is another one in South East Arizona, called the Horse Shoe Two fire, that had grown to 116,000 acres and was 60% contained. Thursday afternoon, that fire got away from the firefighters and is now around 166,000 acres and only 40% contained. The Wallow fire is as big as Chicago, ( having never been to Chicago I will take their word for that ) and it wasn't a cow that kicked over a lantern to start it. Rumor has it that it was started by a camp fire that got out of control. By two or three campers. Rumor or not, it is under investigation. And it happened in a campground Sunday, Memorial day weekend.
Having said all that, let me get to the point of this blog. A few decades ago, not that many, actually, buffalo roamed and antelope played here in the west. And there was fire. Occasionally. Then the buffalo went away, (I won't get into that topic ) and ranchers brought their cattle and put them on the range. And timber men came and logged the forests for lumber to build houses and buildings for all the people coming west. And there was fire. Occasionally. A 30,000 acres fire was extreme. Most were small and put out quickly. Then came the environmentalist and said that cattle were bad for the land, and logging was bad for the land, and they made the people in the East, who are mostly clueless about the West, to pass laws making it unlawful to ranch or log. If it is unlawful, why isn't it illegal? Think about it a moment. Now, the forests are a mess. Where there used to be 50 trees to the acre, now there are hundres and even thousands of trees per acre. Mostly small saplings, growing close together, and all vying for what little water there isn't. I have a picture I took several years back of a river that had a nice stand of trees and a cabin in the river bottom. It was just a little ways off the highway. Now, because cattle are not allowed to drink from that river, cause the environmentalists say they pollute the river, you can't even see the river for the trees and brush, much less the cabin. Thus, we have wildfires like the ones mentioned at the start of this post.
This fire has started a dialog from western politicians and ranchers and loggers, and other people that we need to let the Forest Service manage the forest, in conjunction with the ranchers and loggers. And others that know how to manage the land. And take care of it, and thin it of the small saps, uh, saplings that are choking it to death. And I, for one, support that idea whole heartedly. Otherwise it will just continue to burn out of control. Or blow away like a dust bowl, for lack of rain. Of course the environmentalists are opposed to that, and said that this is just scare tactics. That is a quote from Bryan Bird of the organization Wild earth Guardians. Wonder where these guardians are now? Bet they are not on the fire line. Well, nuff said for now. Oh! The reason it isn't illegal is cause unlawful is against the law, but illegal is a sick bird. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank