I read the entire report. There are many misconceptions and flawed fallacies with their work. Yes, the Native Americans did actively burn the native landscape in their time. The substantial difference between then and now is the increasing penetration of people into the rural setting. This creates a much more complex environment for performing fuel reduction burns, whether that is a pile burn or area burn. Secondly, control lines still have to be established for those activities. I would venture to say that most if not all of us have been called to work an escaped “controlled burn” at some point. Thirdly, and perhaps most impactful to conducting successful control burns is the current climate in CA considering several elements including the drought and the ~129M standing tree mortality, which in and of itself is a tremendous personnel safety issue.
Another notable item that I found completely missing, is that dozer lines are not just used for pure containment efforts but are also used to begin breaking apart the extreme energy that is built up in large open areas of land. There are many different options we use in addition to dozer lines such as roads, rivers, lakes, and even golf courses but the desired outcome is the same, which is to distribute the massive amount of energy that keeps the high impact fires moving.
The final item which really struck me, is that they provided no alternative methods towards containment of these high impact fires, which we had a lot in 2018 and probably will again in the coming years. If you remove dozers from the equation, what methods does FUSEE propose to use? I will tell you that no amount of aircraft or mastication will effectively create containment lines, and this same group, denounced the high amount of retardant used on the Soberanes Fire so, it doesn’t appear that they are too fond of that either.
I could be completely wrong, but the public still expects us to provide contain and control efforts for these large fires and reduce the civilian casualties and property loss. I am not entirely sure those public objectives are well served by limiting when and where tools that we use today and proven to be effective.
One final note, it is very sad and somewhat disheartening that we have a group of people from our own community who are casting stones upon the work we do as firefighters to protect the public from the devastating effects of wildland fires and in many cases in the past couple of years, their losing everything they own.
Rule 10 - Fight Fire Aggressively, But Provide for Safety First
Ok, I will step off my soapbox now.