Sunday, January 10, 2016

Junipers, Sagebrush, Comedy and Terror

Plenty of computer screens have been covered with words and takes on antigovernment militant takeover of buildings at the Malheur Wildlife refuge in Oregon. I find it a fascinating mix of comic and terror.

For those that want to get into the details of the background story that led up to this current drama, its worth reading the BLM grazing permit denial for the allotments that the Hammonds had been using (wildfiretoday.com/dHammond_grazing_decision.pdf). It is worth considering what it must be like as a range or fire manager in dealing with folks like this. There is comic and terror in this document.

Some imagery of the Kumbo Butte burned area where one of the wildfires took place took place:

2006 image
Dark vegetation are western juniper trees

2006 image (USGS) of north edge of burn area
Note fire scars along road

2011 image
Note that there are now much fewer western junipers

The Hammond Ranch is within the Donner und Blitzen Valley north of Frenchglen at the west base of Steens Mountain. For those familiar with Oregon geology it is a bit north of the Diamond Craters area. The allotment area where the permit was denied is high elevation juniper and scrub steppe. Range land without western juniper and sage brush is more valuable for cattle - hence the use of matches during August 2006. The actions that took place in 2006 were comic but also terror with no regard to the risk those actions posed to fire fighters and other properties.

1 comment:

Geoffrey Middaugh said...

Nice work. Science informing policy, and whackadoodles.