The Arizona Wallow fire is the second largest fire the state has ever seen. The cause of the fire is being blamed on dry weather, which of course plays a part in increasing fire danger, however, the issue of massive forest fires is much greater than the Forest Service wants the public to know. Forest Service incompetence when it comes to forest management is a major factor contributing to the burning of the West.
The massive Arizona blaze known as the Wallow Fire has charred more than 386,000 acres with just 5 percent containment, as flames continue to burn out of control Thursday.
An extremely dry late winter and spring contributed to the fire conditions, drying out the forest and allowing fierce winds to carry the flames into the treetops, where they spread by miles each day.
Thousands of people have been forced to flee from mountain resort communities and two large towns at the forest's edge.
The current fire had swallowed up 11 structures before destroying 22 homes overnight in Greer and damaging five other homes in that community. Fire officials said Thursday that 24 outbuildings in Greer also were destroyed by the wildfire along with one vehicle.
Power lines that supply much of West Texas and southern New Mexico remain in jeopardy.
The wildfire, after reportedly being sparked by a campfire, has become the second-largest wildfire in state history and is still growing.
Ranchers, who deal with the government bureaucracy of the Forest Service on a regular basis, aren't fans of the burdensome regulations put into place by the federal agency with the backing of environmental groups. Moratoriums on cattle grazing, logging, brush clearing and removal of private industry in the forests based on arguments of environmental protection have led to the devastation of lives and our forests.
The fire problem in the West has resulted from an unnaturally large buildup of dry, highly-flammable excess wood in the forests. Before the government began to suppress forest fires in the early 20th century, frequent small fires cleaned out the underbrush. Large ponderosa pines, for example, often grew in open stands with densities between 20 and 50 trees per acre. Now, as a result of preventing forest fires, smaller, crowded, less healthy trees often grow in the same places with densities of 300 to 700 trees per acre.
U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell (notice he is in Washington D.C.) blames the fire on everything but Forest Service incompetence, yet admits we are seeing massive fires every year that didn't occur 15 years ago.
Arizona Senator Sylvia Allen disagrees with Tidwell:
"As far as saying we have to expect these kind catostrophic fires, this is a catostrophic fire. If you go and check the record in the last 100 years, you will see that Arizona did not experience these kinds of fires until we removed logging and grazing from our forest lands and in these last 20 years, especially these last 15, due to this environmental push that we have to remove private industry off of the forest lands."
Government "land management" isn't about management at all. It's about control and of course, once the feds confiscate lands, making them unavailable for private use, they don't take care of it, leading to massive forest fires and devastation.
Read my full story on this topic here.