After intense lobbying efforts from this interested party the Black Hills National Forest began managing the 2016 lightning-caused Crow Peak as a controlled burn.
Christopher Zoller, Black Hills National Forest fire management officer, pointed out the ponderosa pines that were “limbed up,” or pruned from the fire below, and are still alive, showing green in their crown. “That’s a perfect example of a ponderosa pine taking fire,” he said. Zoller pointed out how the fire burned up smaller material on the ground, opening it up for new growth. “That’s good fire on the landscape, whether it’s prescribed burn or whether it is a wildfire. This is a good example here of both.” Nature is regenerating itself in the burn areas, and overall, the Black Hills National Forest personnel saw the latest fire as removing dead and downed fuels on Crow Peak and creating a healthier landscape for vegetation and improved habitat for wildlife. [Black Hills Pioneer]The Crow Peak Fire affected mostly Republican landowners who built in the wildland urban interface (WUI) and begged the feds to protect their properties. These people, white retirees from somewhere else who hate gubmint having fled Minnesota, Colorado or California, parachuted into South Dakota hoping to isolate themselves from fair taxation, African-Americans and cultural diversity.
Insurance companies in some western states are denying coverage for idiots who build in the WUI.
Phil Lampert was in the Black Hills tourist industry long before this writer was and has also been a client. His house is still standing because of the 2015 Cold Brook Fire.
"By the time I got to my west gate to unlock it, at my west boundary, that fire was already coming down the hill to the ranch," Lampert said. "So it was a little nerve wracking there for a while." Firefighters saved the place, with help from Lampert's years of tree-thinning and a state-federal-private prescribed burn nearby more than a year ago. [KELO teevee]There is no let it burn policy in the Black Hills because there is no money to manage a fire not on the prescribed burn list.
The clouds of smoke rise from Crow Peak, where steep, rugged terrain makes the blaze difficult to battle on foot. So the firefighting focus so far has been from the air. With a dry forecast until at least Tuesday, there's plenty of firefighting to do. And Sunday evening, the fire was still far from being contained. Early Sunday morning, fire officials were estimating the blaze area at 400 acres. [KELO teevee]There was a Crow Peak Fire stopped at 135 acres in 2012 that the Forest Service should have let burn.
The collapse of the Black Hills ponderosa pine monoculture was forecast as early as 2002 but now bug counters at the Black Hills National Forest are saying its bark beetle outbreak has peaked although dry grasses still plague the region.
Ponderosa pine only arrived in the Black Hills about four thousand years ago.
Drying light fuels like grasses have boosted the likelihood of wildland fire on the high plains.
Stupid fucking state.