Archived, Siskiyou

Open Letter: Serious Issues that Must NOT be Ignored

Dear Legislators, Supervisors & Commissioners:

As some of you may know, I was on the 2018 Klamathon Fire fire-line for 9-days as the technical advisor to CALFIRE commanders at Camp Creek. I was not paid… I was recruited as a volunteer.

I have all the photos of the events for that incident from July 6 – July 16, 2018. This was in fact the proverbial ‘goal-line-defense’ to save the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument and its old-growth forest from total incineration.

Thanks in part to the grass and brush fuels management by our local herd of heritage horses, the suppression efforts of CALFIRE in the area managed year-round (fire-grazed) by our heritage horses was made more effective due to reduced loading of ground fuels (grass and brush), fire-breaks, and grazed-areas forming ‘safe-zones’ for firefighter and equipment. And the Monument was spared total incineration, as well as the risk posed to Ashland.

I have collected the data during and after that deadly fire that proves the fire burned ‘low and slow’ (even with some wind) in the areas symbiotically fire-grazed by the horses. And that was beneficial to suppression efforts. It’s a plain and undeniable fact. 

It’s also undeniable that in Oregon and California combined we have millions of acres of remote wilderness that is manifestly unsuited to any form of livestock fire-grazing for economic (loss of livestock due to predation)  and ecological reasons.  And with Chronic Wasting Disease now confirmed in California, there is a growing risk of disease transmission to domestic livestock when commingled in remote areas with cervids (deer and elk) that may be infected, according to one of the leading scientific researchers at the Prion Research Center in Ft. Collins CO, Dr. Mark Zabel, who wrote this email to me (I have written permission to share it):

===============—–Original Message—–
From: Zabel,Mark <[email protected]>
To: Capt. William E. Simpson – USMM <[email protected]>
Sent: Thu, Jul 13, 2017 11:48 am
Subject: Re: Building Support – We should talk

Hi Bill,

Sorry I missed you. I was collecting samples in the backcountry in RMNP. You are absolutely right and I would strongly discourage any cattle from grazing in CWD endemic areas. Really short-sighted and bad idea until we know further how prions jump species barriers. Cattle ranchers would not like the bad publicity if the media and beef consumers found out that cattle are mingling with cervids, especially in confirmed CWD enzoonitc areas.

Hope this helps,


The devastation caused by the McKinney Fire was also significantly fueled by grass and brush according to the InciWeb wildfire report. Of course, a small herd of horses there would have made a real difference in the outcome of that fire. 

Have we become so economically-addicted to wildfire and the suppression-driven economy that we are willing to burn the remaining forests to the dirt?  And with that lunacy, further reduce the watersheds?

What kind of ‘management’ is that?

read the full letter

Time after time over the past many years of grass and brush driven catastrophic wildfires, we suffer the losses and devastation. But we keep failing to properly manage the grass and brush wildfire fuels in many areas that are NOT suited to other methods such as livestock grazing or prescribed burning.

A video reminder of the VERY RECENT Head Fire!

This published article discusses why prescribed burning is far less useful than horse grazing:

Some of you may recall that occult toxins from the smoke killed my wife, and my lungs were damaged. That was my reward for helping community, county and CALFIRE. 

Excerpt for Laura Simpson’s Death Certificate:

Now, 5-years after our Klamathon Fire, all around America and even in Hawaii, more of what I outlined back in 2019 about wildfire smoke induced illness has come out in the news, and I am wondering if our Counties are doing anything to assess the health impacts of wildfire smoke on our local citizens ???

At this point in time, more that ever, I have to question why are local bureaucrats still sitting on their hands when it comes to utilizing the FREE wildfire fuels mitigation services of our available horses from the government???  

We already PROVED it works!

Regards, William E. Simpson II ———————————————-

Maui Wildfires Had Severe Health and Economic Consequences on Residents, Study Finds


US-FIRE-MAUIDestroyed buildings and cars are seen in the aftermath of the Maui wildfires in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii on Aug. 17, 2023.Yuki Iwamura—AFP/Getty Images


MAY 16, 2024 5:39 PM EDT

Many Maui residents have experienced a decline in their physical and mental health along with a decline in their economic stability after devastating wildfires scorched the island in 2023, according to a new Hawaiisurvey. 

Researchers at the University of Hawaii surveyed 679 people in January and February to study the impact of last year’s wildfires, which was the deadliest wildfire in the country’s history in more than a century. Two-thirds of the study’s participants lived in Lahaina, a town destroyed by the disaster, at the time of the fires. Researchers shared initial results from their survey on Wednesday, but plan to continue the project for at least 10 years, so they can conduct a long-term analysis of wildfire survivors.

Here are the study’s major findings so far.

Physical health and medical care access

Nearly half of the study participants said their health declined compared to a year ago. Researchers noted that being exposed to smoke, ash, and debris is often associated with worse physical health outcomes. About 74% of participants are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

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More than four in 10 participants said they faced challenges accessing medical care and medications, compared to about one in 10 before the fires. The survey also found that more than 13% of participants didn’t have insurance— while nearly 38% of Hispanic participants said they lacked insurance coverage.

“These health outcomes could deteriorate further if difficulties in accessing care and lack of health insurance are not addressed,” researchers said in the study.Read More: What to Know About the Maui Wildfires

Mental health

Researchers also found a significant increase in depression since the fires—more than half of the survey’s participants showed symptoms of depression, which is higher than state and local averages. Nearly a third of participants reported symptoms of moderate or severe anxiety.


Most participants surveyed for the study didn’t live in the homes they had lived in before the fire—only 34% of participants lived in their original homes. More than half of the participants lived in temporary housing, and 10% had moved into new permanent housing.

Read More: Hawaii Already Had a Massive Homelessness Problem. The Maui Wildfires Are Making It Worse


About 74% of participants reported a reduction in their household income, the study found. Nearly half of the participants lost their jobs because of the wildfires, and 20% of them were still unemployed when the survey was conducted.

Food security

Nearly half of households said they had low food security—higher than rates that had previously been recorded both locally and across Hawaii.

What researchers recommend

Based on their initial findings, researchers recommended that officials increase access to health care and insurance coverage for people who were affected by the wildfires. They also recommended ensuring stable and long-term housing for people who were displaced by the fires and offering targeted support for people most affected by the disaster, including low-income households, food insecure households, people with disabilities, and immigrants, among others.

Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Founder – Exec. Director – Wild Horse Fire Brigade
Ethologist – Author – Conservationist 
Wild Horse Ranch
P.O. Bx. 202 – Yreka, CA 96097
Phone: 858. 212-5762 Wild Horse Fire Brigade (

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