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Environmentalists Sue US Forest Service Over Plans to Thin Forest around Big Bear

Environmentalists Sue US Forest Service Over Plans to Thin Forest around Big Bear

Hopefully, the water officials in the Big Bear area will allow resources to be used when the inevitable wildfire does break out.

I classify the Maui wildfire as the first woke-cause disaster.

Unfortunately, California may be the site of the second one. Environmental groups are suing the US Forest Service for plans to thin about 13,000 acres of forest area around Big Bear.

A U.S. Forest Service project aims to thin what officials call an overgrown forest, although the plan is being met with resistance by several environmental groups.

“The problem is that the approach the Forest Service is taking,” said Chad Hanson with the John Muir Project. “Using big machines to cut down tens of thousands of trees out in the remote wildlands, as opposed to focusing on the homes themselves and the zone immediately around the homes.

“That makes all the difference in terms of whether homes survive or not.”

The John Muir Project, as well as the nonprofit group Friends of the Big Bear Valley and the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society, has filed a federal lawsuit hoping to stop the project.

…But Forest Service documentation about the plan, known as the North Big Bear Landscape Restoration Project, claims “Over 100 years of fire suppression activities on the San Bernardino National Forest have excluded fire from much of the landscape, resulting in a departure from the natural range of variation and the pre-settlement fire return interval… Fires that burn in stands with high amounts of surface fuels ignite ladder fuels, which allows fire to reach tree crowns, resulting in increased flame lengths and fire behavior intensity.

In order do do prescribed burns, Forest Service officials also must jump through California’s massive regulatory hoops. Forest Service burn boss Christina Barba shared her experience on attempting to do prescribed burns in the Big Bear area in the 2021 season.

Next on the list of obstacles in Barba’s way is air quality. In the eyes of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Big Bear and the nearby Inland Empire are part of the greater Los Angeles area. When smoggy skies in places like Fontana or Pasadena don’t meet the national clean air standard, local air quality officials can say no to Barba’s plans up until noon the day before a prescribed burn. In Big Bear, where the skies are usually clear, it’s difficult to tell when that will happen.

“We share an air basin with Los Angeles and the entire Inland Empire. So, because the Inland Empire has ozone or some days they have more [pollution] than they should, it shuts down burning in the entire basin,” she said. “We lost about five burn days that way.”

Hopefully, the water officials in the Big Bear area will allow resources to be used when the inevitable wildfire does break out. Then, at least, California may be able to stave off a massive tragedy caused by eco-activism and over-regulation.


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JackinSilverSpring | August 25, 2023 at 11:26 am

Environmentalists? It’s more like anti-environmentalists. And when a massive fire breaks out, they’ll blame it on climate change but because they can’t acknowledge their own stupidity as being a major contributor to the destruction the fire will cause.

    They are Tree worshippers. Holy Mother Gaia wills that that ridiculous amount underbrush and deadfalls be there so her cleansing fires can drive out the unbelievers.

    Let it burn. Let them cry. Just laugh at them. It’s all they deserve.

      Paul in reply to wendybar. | August 25, 2023 at 8:12 pm

      Actually no. Tell them to sit down and shut the f*ck up. They’re totally unserious people and need to be treated like the petulant children that they are. Spank their little bottoms and send them to bed without dinner.

    When they were managing Yellowstone with their “let it burn” policy, my late father commented, “Surely they can manage a forest better than a wildfire.”

    JohnSmith100 in reply to JackinSilverSpring. | August 26, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    How about doing controlled burns when they will help to drive people out of the LA shit hole? Two birds 🙂

California already has a record of massive fires exacerbated by remarkably stupid forest management — at the behest of self-styled environmentalists. In my opinion, the big problem with environmentalists is that they seem to be confirmed-non-math majors wholly unwilling to listen to chemists, real biologists, and physicists.

2smartforlibs | August 25, 2023 at 12:22 pm

Either thin it or stop complaining about the fires.

This is the world we live in. Legal standing was removed by Congress for private citizens challenging environmental laws but not for citizens challenging, say, tax laws. And not only that, but citizens must wait until the tax laws take effect AND harm them directly before they can sue.

But catch drift that trees are going to be cut down, the Court holds the door open for you.

    Martin in reply to George S. | August 25, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    The government allows friendly groups like the Sierra Club to sue them to either get money or “force” the government to do what it wants to do in the first place.

    CommoChief in reply to George S. | August 25, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    I van see granting standing and a CT ordering a halt to thinning trees while also expediting the case. Once the trees are cut there’s not any room to remediate the ‘harm’ to the plaintiffs if they ultimately prevail.

    That said the CT really needs to take a holistic view. The lack or denial of thinning also presents a danger during any delay. Force the plaintiffs to carry a bond to fully indemnify and make whole all damage if a fire should erupt while the order halting thinning is in place. Doesn’t matter if some asshole arsonist sets the blaze or a lightning strike either way the lack of thinning and halts on other proactive wildfire remediation measures, fire breaks and access roads as two examples, is clearly massive contribution to the ability to successfully contain a fire. Force these environmental wacko plaintiffs to post a bond to fully compensate for any losses until the case is decided, including appeals. If they can’t find someone to underwrite the bond then tough cookies.

The Maui wildfire and this Big Bear lawfare event isn’t the Second or Third Woke event.

It’s Season 40, Episode 20 of the long running Environmentalist Crusade to Save Our Forest Lands from Twentieth Century Industrial destruction.

USFS districts are sometimes complicit and sometimes not complicit in the Crusade. Districts are designated on sliding scales. Some allow a lot of human activity (mechanical) to almost no human activity (only hiking and equestrian activity allowed).

So, when people say “people deserve to have their homes burnt down due to wildfire,” they generally say so from ignorance. The Fed and Environmentalist lawyers are to blame. Crusading environmentalist lawyers like RFK Jr. and urban Environmental Defense Fund donors. Urbanites living in New York City and Boston and Los Angeles and Seattle are responsible for fires in forests they have never even visited.

By the way, I know from personal experience how this works. is a link to google earth. You are looking at a portion of a legally sanctioned ten mile motorcycle trail laid out and built by me and a few friends. The Northern Complex wildfire destroyed the forest and our trail. The fire destroyed the largest Red Cedar tree I have ever seen. It was Sequoia in size. Gone. Because Sierra Club.

    Tiki in reply to Tiki. | August 25, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    On August 17, 2020, dry thunderstorms sparked 21 wildfires in the Plumas National Forest and Lassen National Forest, the largest of which were the Claremont and Bear Fires along the canyon of the Middle Fork Feather River. The storms came from a large plume of moisture from Tropical Storm Fausto that were carried into California, which started hundreds of wildfires simultaneously across Northern and Central California.

SoCal is only a couple months out from the Santa Ana wind season, when hot dry winds blow out of the deserts from the northeast, down the mountain slopes to the coast, drying out and heating up everything along the way, and turbocharging fires that break out. Following a long dry summer, and an abnormally wet winter, there will be plenty of fuel. Maybe the firefighters can use all the reams of paper these lawsuits generate to smother the fires? Of course neither Gruesom nor the media will remind people of these lawsuits when the fires come, instead they’ll spout the usual climate change nonsense.

LibraryGryffon | August 25, 2023 at 3:13 pm

There are some trees whose seeds *must* be burnt in order to germinate. So not only has the “suppress all fires forever” mindset caused the overgrowth of fuel, but it is also mucking with the natural biodiversity of the areas where those trees grow.

Sounds like one of those friendly lawsuits where a government agency does what it’s not legally allowed to do through a court settlement. Republicans just raked the park services over the coals for their mismanagement of forest lands, and then this happens. The timing is very suspicious.

I lived here when the forest was managed and saw what happens when it is not. Just like the supposed Delta Smelt, the thinning is supposed to harm the animals and not protect the homes. It’s actually the opposite. However the environmentalists and the government’s agenda are always the same. Don’t manage the forest. The results are always the same. They don’t take the management seriously, just their agenda. Isn’[t doing the same thing over and over again row definition of insanity? By the way, my family and other’s in myth family have either been evacuated or been on stand-by evacuation. Not fun..

When the government took the foresters out of the forest, wildfires have become more dangerous. They managed the underbrush, took out dead trees, and thinned out problem trees. Thoughtful management has been missing for years now. The government does more as they clearcut much more than haircuts and leaves scars in the forest for years. Allow the foresters back in is the solution.

I feel bad for the fire fighters. They can use all the help they can get, and prevention is life saving.

I own a hardwood forest, mostly white oak, quite a bit of red oak. I logged it after 40 years of managing it last year. One sleazy neighbor who sneaks in to hunt (it is leased for hunting) also was caught stealing tree tops. That neighbor was screaming at me that I ruined the forest.

The funny thing is all the new growth is fantastic for deer and other wildlife.