AN OPEN LETTER how to PREVENT wildfires in wilderness areas

TO: Elected Officials – Legislators – Oregon / California 

FROM:  William E. Simpson II – Executive Director – Wild Horse Fire Brigade

Greetings Oregon Legislators:

We know how to PREVENT wildfires in wilderness areas, AND how to make wildfire suppression in wilderness areas safer and more effective, and accomplish these things cost-effectively.

Wild Horse Fire Brigade was proven effective during the Klamathon Fire in 2018 (38,000 acre blaze about to enter the fuel-laden Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument).

A small band of wild horses cost-effectively manage wildfire fuels at Wm Simpson’s research station: Photo: Michelle Gough

The small herd of wild horses here created and maintained large-areas of fire-breaks and low-fuel safe zones that modified wildfire behavior (favorably) and where wild-land firefighters and equipment could be deployed safely. 

We also have reams of peer-reviewed published science that states the herbivory can control (moderate) wildfires via the reduction of key wildfire fuels, grass and brush.

I.E. ‘Large herbivores can reduce forest fire risks’

As any logger/forester knows:  You can cut-down the entire forest to a tree, and the first thing that happens is the entire area fills-in with grass and brush wildfire fuels… and without an adequate herbivory present, those fuels become prodigious

 and extensive… As we see in this simple exercise, logging, even at the most extreme end does nothing to reduce wildfire. 

When wildfires happen, you have a chance to talk about What’s Wrong and what we can do better.

Debating bulldozers, etc. is a mistake and a DISTRACTION from what needs to be focused-on so NEXT YEAR we aren’t repeating the Insanity, unless that’s the government’s intention… avoiding solutions to make money by burning the public-owned wilderness forests.

FACT:  People who make a living on wildfire suppression have a serious conflict of interest in the debate about how to REDUCE wildfires, since a reduction in wildfire impacts their revenue steams negatively… less wildfire means less profits for a few people in our society.

I fought a few wildfires as a logger, and I drove bulldozers logging all the way up to the largest D-8 dozer.

I was on the Klamathon Fire fire-line as the local knowledge advisor for 9-days. I am not subject to censorship at the risk of losing my job by countering any Agency’s narrative(s)… 

So I can say what needs to be said freely, something agency people cannot do without personal risk to their careers.

People will debate a bulldozer deployed in the wilderness for a week, when that bulldozer will do more ground disturbance than an entire herd of wild horses over the course of years… 

I lived among and studied wild horses in a rugged mountain wilderness area, and have done so for the past 9-years… 

Unlike others who speculate with conjectures about wild horses, or repeat the antiquated now-debunked dogma from the Bureau of Land Management, I know from hands-on empirical experience what I am talking about when it comes to the science, logging, forestry, wildfires and wild horses. 

Think about it … every year, even with $-hundreds of millions spent in Oregon (S.B 762) the wildfires are worse than ever… WHY?  It’s because money is spend on continuing failed methods.

The problem is over-abundant annually-occurring grass and brush fuels… aka: 1-hr. class fuels.

 These fuels are exactly what wild horses, deer and elk eat. But, the deer and elk in Oregon (and California) are seriously depleted, leading to excessive wilderness fuels that are scientifically proven to increase the frequency, size and intensity of wildfires… 

What’s the SMART SOLUTION?  

1. Spending another $225-million in taxes (like OR S.B. 762) on methods that have already been proven failures? 

2. More prescribed burning that accelerates climate change with toxic greenhouse-gas SMOKE, which damages soils according to published science, and must be done yearly at GREAT COST:

New Science: “Low-severity wildfires impact soils more than previously believed” (Desert Research Institute)

3. Reestablishing the herbivory, which allows Nature to do what it does best? 

Herbivores create and maintain wildfire-resilient landscapes!   We have 68,000 wild horses languishing in taxpayer funded corrals, where we pay $200-Million/year to insanely feed them the grass they could be consuming in the wilderness areas for FREE.

Before everything in Oregon (and California) gets burned-down, and hundreds more people die, thousands made homeless and even others who are far away from wildfires suffer from the toxic, deadly, wildfire smoke, we have a cost effective tool that we can very quickly and safely deploy…

AM BEST TV (insurance industry) produced this video:

As I have said, I have lived in the mountains of the Soda Mountain wilderness area for the past 9-years among the wild horses I am studying and researching as an ethologist.  These horses were seen and documented by Sir Francis Drake in 1580 when he explored our coastline and had to spend months repairing his ship on the beach of present day Brooking, OR.

There are numerous published peer-reviewed scientific studies listed on our Org’s website under ‘Resources‘ that additionally support what we know from first-hand experience and the benefits of wild horses during an actual wildfire (Klamathon Fire – 2018)

Regards, William E. Simpson II – Wild Horse Ethologist 

One Comment

  1. Margo Lemons

    William Simpson Research.
    Amazing article on stopping fires.Please write about these facts also.Please research these ideas and present them also for saving the wild horses.
    Please e mail me for attachments.
    Thank you

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