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Rick Halsey ( Wildlandfire )

Comments made by Rick Halsey

Preventing Wildfire In San Diego County

An open letter to Thom Porter, San Diego Cal Fire Unit Chief.

Chief Porter, I wanted to point out several inaccuracies in your interview with KPBS on 8/30/13.

First, I have indeed visited the site of the Silver Fire near Banning. You were incorrect when you stated I have not and have only made my conclusions about the fire from afar. As you know, the area that was burned has tremendous significance for anyone connected to the fire service. Hence, my desire to make sure whatever I said about the fire was accurate. Please view the photos I took of the site and read the attached captions in the album linked below:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

Second, public hearings and meetings in which an agency listens to stakeholders is not what collaboration looks like. Although we have appreciated the opportunities to speak during the two meetings you mentioned, collaboration involves working with others, not just receiving public comment required by state law. It is our hope that the state will continue the collaborative process that has begun so all of us can participate in the development of a comprehensive, science-based vegetation management/fire safety plan that will be truly effective in protecting lives, property, and the native habitat from wildfire without destroying California's priceless natural environment.

Finally, as you know from the past ten years of testimony, public hearings, and conferences, the fire science community has rejected the notion that if we let fires burn, the landscape "will turn into a natural system of a small patchwork of fires." There are not "two camps" on the subject. The data is clear and the debate is over. Large, intense fires like the 1889 Santiago Canyon Fire, are an inevitable part of the southern California, chaparral-covered landscape, and they will likely continue to be, especially in light of climate change. We must do what we can to help communities adapt to this reality through zoning, fire resistant construction and retrofits, appropriate defensible space, and strategic fuel breaks near communities at risk in conjunction with firefighter safety zones.

Spending millions of dollars clearing vast areas of wildland is not a sustainable approach.

I continue to look forward to working with Cal Fire to create a fire risk reduction plan that we can all support.

Richard Halsey
Director
California Chaparral Institute

August 30, 2013 at 3 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Preventing Wildfire In San Diego County

An open letter to Thom Porter, San Diego Cal Fire Unit Chief.

Chief Porter, I wanted to point out several inaccuracies in your interview with KPBS on 8/30/13.

First, I have indeed visited the site of the Silver Fire near Banning. You were incorrect when you stated I have not and have only made my conclusions about the fire from afar. As you know, the area that was burned has tremendous significance for anyone connected to the fire service. Hence, my desire to make sure whatever I said about the fire was accurate. Please view the photos I took of the site and read the attached captions in the album linked below:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

Second, public hearings and meetings in which an agency listens to stakeholders is not what collaboration looks like. Although we have appreciated the opportunities to speak during the two meetings you mentioned, collaboration involves working with others, not just receiving public comment required by state law. It is our hope that the state will continue the collaborative process that has begun so all of us can participate in the development of a comprehensive, science-based vegetation management/fire safety plan that will be truly effective in protecting lives, property, and the native habitat from wildfire without destroying California's priceless natural environment.

Finally, as you know from the past ten years of testimony, public hearings, and conferences, the fire science community has rejected the notion that if we let fires burn, the landscape "will turn into a natural system of a small patchwork of fires." There are not "two camps" on the subject. The data is clear and the debate is over. Large, intense fires like the 1889 Santiago Canyon Fire, are an inevitable part of the southern California, chaparral-covered landscape, and they will likely continue to be, especially in light of climate change. We must do what we can to help communities adapt to this reality through zoning, fire resistant construction and retrofits, appropriate defensible space, and strategic fuel breaks near communities at risk in conjunction with firefighter safety zones.

Spending millions of dollars clearing vast areas of wildland is not a sustainable approach.

I continue to look forward to working with Cal Fire to create a fire risk reduction plan that we can all support.

Richard Halsey
Director
California Chaparral Institute

August 30, 2013 at 9:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Concern over the economy has sent protestors to the streets. Demonstrations continue in New York City, on Wall Street, and they'll be spilling out onto San Diego streets later this week. We look at the economic issues behind the protests

Maureen, we just issued this press release today.

Rick Halsey

Chaparral Institute Director Arrested During Wall Street Protest

Institute will participate in Occupy San Diego’s protest starting
October 7, 4:30PM at the San Diego Civic Center

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The California Chaparral Institute has become an active participant in the growing movement to bring honesty and generosity into our nation’s financial and political systems. As a demonstration of this support, the Institute’s director, Richard W. Halsey, joined the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City to occupy the Brooklyn Bridge October 1. He was arrested, along with more than 700 other concerned citizens, who were expressing “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Time and time again we have found that the underlying force that propels the destruction of natural habitat is the pursuit of money by institutions more interested in immediate profits than long term sustainability. This applies to developers who want to pave over native shrublands to government agencies eager to obtain funds to conduct "clearance projects" and wipe out habitat in the name of fire protection.

As a consequence, we believe that changing our institutions so that they are based on cooperation and sustainability rather than profit is really the only way to permanently protect nature, and ultimately ourselves. The current social movement that started with Occupy Wall Street and is spreading across the country, reflecting similar efforts in San Diego and across the world, is our chance to make this change.

Richard W. Halsey’s explanation about why the Institute became involved and why the OWS Movement is so important:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aH0Sf...

For additional information on the Occupy San Diego protest: http://occupysd.org/

October 5, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Are We Prepared for the Next Wildfire?

Interesting discussion. Thank you again for taking time to address wildfires in a thoughtful way; a dramatic difference from the material offered by other broadcasting options.

The previous individual who commented does point out some good points - especially the issue involving embers. During the 2007 Witch Creek fire embers hit the Rancho Bernardo community and started igniting homes an hour before the fire front arrived.

The Station Fire was certainly unnatural in terms of its cause, which is the problem with most of our fires - they are nearly all human caused. This is dramatically changing the fire pattern our native plant communities have adapted to for millions of years. With the increase in fires comes the eventual elimination of these native landscapes and their replacement by more flammable, non-native weeds.

September 10, 2009 at 8:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Dangerous Fire Season Under Way in Los Angeles

Allison,

I forgot to thank you for explaining that fires like the Station Fire are natural events and that "clearing the backcountry" is not a resonable approach to reducing fire risk.

September 10, 2009 at 7:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Dangerous Fire Season Under Way in Los Angeles

Gloria,

Thanks for this report. I just wanted to comment on Allison's reference to how budget cuts may have played a role in preventing the USFS from conducting vegetation clearance operations near where the Station Fire broke out. This is completely untrue and appears to be based on the unfortunate Associated Press article that came out last week that falsely implied the USFS was partially to blame for the fire because they "failed" to conducted permitted prescribed burns.

First of all the fire did not break out where these treatments were planned. The fire was caused by an arsonist who knew exactly what he or she was doing.

Secondly, the USFS didn't finish their prescribed burns because the window for such activities is very narrow, NOT because of budget cuts You can't just light off an area of vegetation on any day you wish.

We have worked with the Forest Service to help mitigate the damage the AP article caused because it reinforced misconceptions about wildland fire, firefighters, and valuable native landscapes. We issued a press release on 9/4 in an attempt to help correct these misconceptions and sent you a copy. If you would like to view it again, it is available on our 2009 LA Fire webpage:
http://www.californiachaparral.org/20...

September 9, 2009 at 8:28 p.m. ( | suggest removal )