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UC/FEMA East Bay fire control project generates huge reaction, part II
by environmental activist
Sunday Jun 2nd, 2013 1:33 AM
The article “UC/FEMA East Bay fire control project generates huge reaction”, generated a big reaction,
in the way of comments, and I will try to answer some of it here, as I think it needs a separate posting.
As I said before, falsehoods are being spread.
Though there are some good reasons for not approving the 3 plans proposed to FEMA – see the article, UC/FEMA East Bay fire control project generates huge reaction (part I) , http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/25/18737331.php , among them the use of herbicides, which are toxic, and whose use can expand way beyond the minimum proposed; the removal of trees in one fell swoop, perhaps, rather than in sections; and the possible result that more housing will be built on steep slopes where building should not take place or continue.

However the point is that changes have to be made to prevent another massive firestorm this dry year.

If these plans submitted to FEMA are not instituted, then the work will probably have to be done by volunteers.
The community will have to pull together for a solution, NOW, and stop demonizing those who have considered the widespread experience and preponderance of data that eucalyptus trees are prone to fire and its explosive spread, and that they spread as invasives, crowding out native plants (and the native animals which depend on them).

We are losing the energy for attracting people who will form the community to devote themselves, maybe long term, to restore a workable landscape. Restoration work is being carried out throughout the Bay Area, and in Claremont Canyon for many years now. It is vital and inspiring to get together with others on restoration projects in ones own community. It is a turnoff to see attacks on those familiar with prior research and long hands-on experience in restoration, on the basis of theoretical speculations and skewed research which some use to support their views that forests should be everywhere and trees placed anywhere regardless of their interactions with the environment. That no tree should be cut. That more carbon is released in cutting trees than in catastrophic firestorms.
And no recognition that toxic fire retardants will be used if and when there are huge spreading fires.

You may love the eucalyptus forests which replaced the redwood forests once here. Can you love the native grasslands, chaparral, and oak savannahs which were /are here, and can be spread when eucalyptids are removed, again as a home for native plant and animal species? Let’s keep the oaks in Oakland!
As for cleaning the air, catastrophic fires do not clean the air!

A gardener has to learn to prune. The natives of this region and others managed the landscape to prevent huge disastrous fires, provide forage for animals, and food and fiber for themselves, by removing trees and understories to form meadows and parklands. One native man, on observing a modern California landscape, commented that it was wild and uncared for. People are supposed to steward the land and the animals.

I will try to counter some of the false points that have been put forward.

Monarch butterflies need eucalypti.
The monarchs have moved on, and a 3 year study done in the Monterey area showed that they lost 20% of their population in storms when in eucalypti, and moved to native evergreens for the rest of the winter.

Birds use eucalypti
Some short billed bird species have suffocated from eucalyptus resin on their bills and were found dead below the trees. Many nest building native birds can’t and don’t use them; those who need holes for their nests can’t make them.

They provide a moist environment, from fog drip.
Blue gums and other eucalyps use a lot of water and can lower the water table considerably, causing other plants to dry up. They have been valued for draining swamps.

They are suited to our climate.
They are not suited to a climate which has even the occasional frosts we have experienced here (1922, 1931, 1949, 1972, 1990); in the last freeze in the East Bay hills many eucs died and had to be removed because of the fire danger. They sprouted back, with many slender saplings which were also a fire hazard.

They are not a fire hazard.
They are a fire hazard for the following characteristics:
-- using a lot of water, drying the soil, lowering the water table
-- terpenes in leaves which vaporize, causing a blue haze (hence “blue gum”) which can ignite spontaneously
-- they drop layers of terpene laden leaves which accumulate at the base
-- but their chipped wood doesn’t present the same easily ignited tinder, while acting as a mulch
-- strips of bark hang down toward the ground, where they can carry ground fires to the upper story
-- they can throw embers far, also because of their height, casting fire in front of them, in cases onto roofs
-- the crowns were seen to explode during the progress of the 1991 firestorm

While fire is an element of the California landscape, these hills can do without this source of tinder, in the interests of its inevitable fires being more readily controllable, and not having another 3000 buildings burned ,25+ beings burnt to death and 150 wounded.
Apparently there was a recent fire in the hills which took off in a little grove of Monterey pines, but which was stopped quickly; a local land steward who’d been removing the pines attributed the ability to control the fire to his prior removal of the grove. Monterey pines are very flammable and also slated for removal.
There were also fires on Angel Island which were stopped and didn’t destroy large trees or historic structures, which a steward and firefighters there attributed to the recent removal of eucalypti, though some are trying to say that fires there are a result of euc removal.

I believe any amount of herbicides is a hazard, so why exaggerate the amount the grants call for? It’s not true that “millions of gallons are to be poured/sprayed” on the area. The plan calls for painting the inside bark circle (cambium) layer; besides any amount being a hazard, there is a danger that more will be used, especially because it is allowed to be sprayed for follow up weed suppression.

And why call this “clearcutting”, when it is to be selective cutting? See the Clearcutting piece linked to below, for photos of the difference.

As for the attacks on proponents of a native flora and fauna as foolish and misinformed idealists, using the false fire danger argument as a Trojan horse to implement their ulterior motive, even the most vituperative of the native flora denyers, said “It goes without saying that native plants and animals deserve our protection. We should be prepared to defend our natural areas with our very lives if necessary.”
Which brings us to another reason for planting natives: we do not want species to go extinct, and that has been happening with alarming speed. As for as plant species, urban gardens can threaten native species, because exotics are planted where natives once grew. As James Roof the horticulturist pointed out, with regard to San Francisco, this area and Marin share a unique ecological area we call the Franciscan, where most of the plants inhabited the SF part –“And they planted a city in the midst of it”, he said. So some of us plant m natives in our gardens to preserve them and the animals which they foster.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS: I could not link them all but I think you can find those I others with a google search.
Fire danger & eucalyptus removal -
* Eucalyptus fire danger
      faqs final v2.pdf
* The Eucalyptus of California- Problems
http://wwwlibrary.csustan.edu/bsantos/section3.htm
* http://oaklandnorth.net/2011/10/31/after-1991-fire-oaklanders-debate-growth-of-eucalyptus/
* Sierra Club supports East Bay plan for fire management and native restoration
http://theyodeler.org/?p=7539
* Sierra Club on opposition from the Hills Conservation Network
http://theyodeler.org/?p=1901
* Ongoing vegetation control in Claremont Canyon by volunteers
http://baynature.org/articles/east-bay-hills-tree-removal/
* Wildfires On The Rise – news video
http://news.yahoo.com/video/just-explain-wildfires-rise-202627177.html?pb_list=26b8970e-9767-4d75-b991-7552a5360c45
* What makes Eucalyptus fires in Australia so dangerous?
http://tree-species.blogspot.com/2009/02/what-makes-eucalyptus-fires-in.html
* Angel Island fire contained without large tree & building fires
http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_10713017?source=pkg
* firemanagement_eucalyptus_brochure.pdf (NPS-GGNRA brochure)
* http://ClaremontCanyon.org/issues.php , see the fire article
* Eucalyptus Removal on Angel Island
eucalyptusremoval,AngelIsland.pdf
* Lowering Fire Potential on Angel Island State Park
http://angelisland.org/2013/03/lowering-fire-potential-on-angel-island-state-park-crowned-jewel/

WATER USE
http://online.sfsu.edu/bholzman/courses/Fall99Projects/Eglobulus.htm See section “Natural History”

WILDLIFE
* Eucalyptus Trees May Now Be a Danger to Migratory Birds
http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/examples/lerp.cfm
* Monarch butterfly use of eucalyptus and native trees
Big Sur Ornithology Lab of Ventana Wilderness Society

CLEAR CUTTING?
*http://ClaremontCanyon.org/issues.php,
see the Clearcutting article

QUOTED above -
* “Natives vs. Exotics: the Myths . .” David I. Theodoropoulos
Natives Vs Exotics Essays Theodoropolous.html

INVASIVE PLANTS
* Economic and Environmental lmpacts of lnvasive Species & Their Management
David Pimentel, Ph.D.

The 4 EIS proposals to FEMA:
* FEMA EIS for Hazardous Fire Risk Reduction
http://ebheis.cdmims.com/Home.aspx
* Read FEMA’s proposal for yourself.
http://ebheis.cdmims.com/Documents.aspx - see Executive Summary
* See a map of the treatment areas (blue):
Map-EBRPD-fire-mgmt.pdf

Articles in Bay Nature magazine:
* Excellent explanation of the issue and featuring comments from 5 people with different roles in the Claremont Canyon area. Includes instructions on how to comment.
http://baynature.org/articles/east-bay-hills-tree-removal/
* Article showing volunteer restoration successfully carried out in Claremont Canyon by volunteers starting 12 years ago, before the current grant proposal.
http://baynature.org/articles/oaklands-claremont-canyon-20-years-after-the-fire/

* The Claremont Canyon Conservancy, formed 2001. A local effort to protect their hill neighborhood from fire, and their site has the best explanation of the fire issues and rationale for the selective tree cutting (no, not a clearcutting program!), the use of chip mulch, the use of native plants, and the successful management of fire after some of these practices were adopted.
I would say a must-read. This page may answer all your questions:
http://claremontcanyon.org/issues.php
* A model of how to manage this area locally:
http://goldenhour.org
A Cooperative project between the Claremont Canyon Conservancy, the East Bay Regional Park District, and Golden Hour Restoration Institute

* This article from SF Gate covers the issues, gives the plans’ detractors the first say, so read the whole article.
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/UC-Berkeley-s-eucalyptus-removal-3252677.php#photo-2401541
* Article from the Berkeley Daily Planet, long. lots of detail
http://berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2013-05-24/article/41086?headline=Berkeley-is-Burned-Up-About-the-Big-Tree-Brouhaha--By-Becky-O-Malley

Hill communities supporting the proposals for Claremont Canyon:
* North Hills Community Organization
http://www.northhillscommunity.org/index.php?page=about
* Claremont Canyon Conservancy - see above

Supporting herbicide use: see why some think it’s ok.
And “pouring 1400 gallons of herbicide” is an exaggeration.
http://claremontcanyon.org/ccc_from_the_board.php

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Dan Grassetti
Monday Jun 3rd, 2013 8:43 AM
Please see responses to this posting in line:

The article “UC/FEMA East Bay fire control project generates huge reaction”, generated a big reaction,
in the way of comments, and I will try to answer some of it here, as I think it needs a separate posting.
As I said before, falsehoods are being spread.

>>no question about that. The good news is that these projects weren't allowed to proceed "in the dark of the night", and folks are now becoming aware of what's being proposed. Seems that as more facts are being disseminated, the project proponents are increasing attempting to obfuscate.

Though there are some good reasons for not approving the 3 plans proposed to FEMA – see the article, UC/FEMA East Bay fire control project generates huge reaction (part I) , http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/05/25/18737331.php , among them the use of herbicides, which are toxic, and whose use can expand way beyond the minimum proposed; the removal of trees in one fell swoop, perhaps, rather than in sections; and the possible result that more housing will be built on steep slopes where building should not take place or continue.

However the point is that changes have to be made to prevent another massive firestorm this dry year.

>>This is critical. The question that should be asked is "will what's being proposed reduce the risk of a massive firestorm? Or will it actually increase the risk? While the EBRPD portion of this will likely reduce fire risk, there is little doubt that the UC portion will increase risk. If this is the case, why would we want to see almost $6 million be spent on such a plan?

If these plans submitted to FEMA are not instituted, then the work will probably have to be done by volunteers.

>>What work? Again, the lack of specificity here is troubling. If the "work" in question is clearing out understory fuels, increasing spacing between trees, and limbing up the fire ladder, then HCN and most of the community would absolutely support it. If on the other hand the "work" is a clearcut of all the tall trees in the Berkeley/Oakland hills, then we are going to do what we can to ensure that nobody is allowed to do it, irrespective of funding source. So, let's be clear. It's the UC projects that are the problem because they are more about clearing land for development, saving UC maintenance costs, and native plant restoration than fire risk mitigation.

The community will have to pull together for a solution, NOW, and stop demonizing those who have considered the widespread experience and preponderance of data that eucalyptus trees are prone to fire and its explosive spread, and that they spread as invasives, crowding out native plants (and the native animals which depend on them).

>>This money is to be used for fire risk mitigation, not native plant restoration, yet the author makes it clear that he/she has a major concern over the fact that eucs exist here. As for the fire risk, there is simply no science behind the assertion that eucs are a greater fire hazard than the natives that might replace them. In fact there is a substantial body of evidence that bays, and chaparral are a far worse fire hazard than the eucs, pines, and acacias that UC and the native plant folks seek to eradicate. This doesn't even consider the broom, thistle, hemlock, and poison oak that have become such a huge problem (and fire risk) at the sites where UC has already implemented this methodology.

We are losing the energy for attracting people who will form the community to devote themselves, maybe long term, to restore a workable landscape. Restoration work is being carried out throughout the Bay Area, and in Claremont Canyon for many years now. It is vital and inspiring to get together with others on restoration projects in ones own community. It is a turnoff to see attacks on those familiar with prior research and long hands-on experience in restoration, on the basis of theoretical speculations and skewed research which some use to support their views that forests should be everywhere and trees placed anywhere regardless of their interactions with the environment. That no tree should be cut. That more carbon is released in cutting trees than in catastrophic firestorms.

>>but the assertion is that keeping the current vegetation will result in catastrophic firestorms. This is probably the biggest mis-statement of the reality of the situation. It's important to note that even the most ardent euc-haters doesn't assert that the '91 fire was caused or promoted by eucs. There is, however, much evidence to suggest that replacing tall trees with "native" species doesn't diminish fire risk, it actually increases it...substantially. So, why do we keep hearing these baseless statements? The fact is that cutting down 50k+ mature trees will result in the release of huge amounts of sequestered CO2, and will forever reduce the carbon sequestration capability that exists today. So, why would anyone want to do this if it actually increases the fire risk?

And no recognition that toxic fire retardants will be used if and when there are huge spreading fires.

>>again, the likelihood of a large wildfire is substantially higher with a chaparral and bay environment than with what we currently have, so this argument is specious.

You may love the eucalyptus forests which replaced the redwood forests once here. Can you love the native grasslands, chaparral, and oak savannahs which were /are here, and can be spread when eucalyptids are removed, again as a home for native plant and animal species? Let’s keep the oaks in Oakland!

>>again, FEMA is providing money for fire risk mitigation, not native plant restoration.
As for cleaning the air, catastrophic fires do not clean the air!

>>but their likelihood is substantially increased as a result of what UC is proposing!

A gardener has to learn to prune. The natives of this region and others managed the landscape to prevent huge disastrous fires, provide forage for animals, and food and fiber for themselves, by removing trees and understories to form meadows and parklands. One native man, on observing a modern California landscape, commented that it was wild and uncared for. People are supposed to steward the land and the animals.

>>which is why UC should have been spending some money to reduce the understory fuels on its lands, but it hasn't for decades, and has apparently decided that it's better to attempt to get federal funds under false pretenses to clear land for development and continue to avoid maintaining their wildlands. The cost of simply removing understory fuels periodically would be far less that the cost of a clearcut of all the tall trees in the hills, wouldn't expose us to 10,000+ gallons of herbicides, wouldn't destroy the raptor habitat, and wouldn't destabilize the hills....so why is UC unwilling to do this?

I will try to counter some of the false points that have been put forward.

Monarch butterflies need eucalypti.
The monarchs have moved on, and a 3 year study done in the Monterey area showed that they lost 20% of their population in storms when in eucalypti, and moved to native evergreens for the rest of the winter.

>>darn those monarchs for preferring eucs!

Birds use eucalypti
Some short billed bird species have suffocated from eucalyptus resin on their bills and were found dead below the trees. Many nest building native birds can’t and don’t use them; those who need holes for their nests can’t make them.

>>but we won't have raptors without the eucs. So if you like owls, hawks, and eagles, and dislike massive rodent infestations, eucs may be your best friend.

They provide a moist environment, from fog drip.
Blue gums and other eucalyps use a lot of water and can lower the water table considerably, causing other plants to dry up. They have been valued for draining swamps.

>>but they do create a moist environment from fog drip and the shade provided by the canopy. Additionally, they are voracious water pumpers and as a result have a very favorable effect in preventing landslides and erosion on our steep hills.

They are suited to our climate.
They are not suited to a climate which has even the occasional frosts we have experienced here (1922, 1931, 1949, 1972, 1990); in the last freeze in the East Bay hills many eucs died and had to be removed because of the fire danger. They sprouted back, with many slender saplings which were also a fire hazard.

>>while we all like oaks, they are dying due to SOD, While we all like redwoods, they will only grow in a few shady areas. As the author states, eucs are doing well in this climate, and show signs of doing well as global warming becomes an increasingly large part of life.

They are not a fire hazard.
They are a fire hazard for the following characteristics:
-- using a lot of water, drying the soil, lowering the water table
-- terpenes in leaves which vaporize, causing a blue haze (hence “blue gum”) which can ignite spontaneously
-- they drop layers of terpene laden leaves which accumulate at the base
-- but their chipped wood doesn’t present the same easily ignited tinder, while acting as a mulch
-- strips of bark hang down toward the ground, where they can carry ground fires to the upper story
-- they can throw embers far, also because of their height, casting fire in front of them, in cases onto roofs
-- the crowns were seen to explode during the progress of the 1991 firestorm

>>these arguments are just silly as just about any vegetation species can be vilified if one desires. But don't take my word for it. URS corporation, the first consulting company hired by FEMA to analyze what UC was proposing said, "Issue 2. Relative fire risk of current vegetation versus chip dominated landscape: there is no scientific evidence to support the project as proposed."

"As explained in the response to Issue 2, it may be inaccurate to assume that the chip layer, given its depth, can be ignored as a potential fuel source. Also, such a deep chip layer may have the potential to not only sustain a localized bum but to connect fuels in vegetation types located adjacent to the treatment areas."

Additionally, there is no question that a chaparral, bay, and grasses environment has longer flame lengths than a euc forest, is far easier to ignite, and is exactly the sort of environment that is increasingly causing massive wildfires in southern California....not to mention Angel Island.

While fire is an element of the California landscape, these hills can do without this source of tinder, in the interests of its inevitable fires being more readily controllable, and not having another 3000 buildings burned ,25+ beings burnt to death and 150 wounded.
Apparently there was a recent fire in the hills which took off in a little grove of Monterey pines, but which was stopped quickly; a local land steward who’d been removing the pines attributed the ability to control the fire to his prior removal of the grove. Monterey pines are very flammable and also slated for removal.
There were also fires on Angel Island which were stopped and didn’t destroy large trees or historic structures, which a steward and firefighters there attributed to the recent removal of eucalypti, though some are trying to say that fires there are a result of euc removal.

>>again, where is the science? While anecdotes are interesting, they are not science. The reality is that chaparral, grasses, and bays are a fire greater fire hazard that an un-managed euc forest. But what we are asking for is a managed euc forest...one where understory fuels are managed. These is simply no question that such an environment is far less of a fire risk than will result from what UC is proposing. The Angel Island anecdote is particularly interesting as in the entire recorded history of this site there were no wildland fires until the eucs were removed. Since then there have been multiple large fires. Is this what we want in the Berkeley/Oakland hills?

I believe any amount of herbicides is a hazard, so why exaggerate the amount the grants call for? It’s not true that “millions of gallons are to be poured/sprayed” on the area. The plan calls for painting the inside bark circle (cambium) layer; besides any amount being a hazard, there is a danger that more will be used, especially because it is allowed to be sprayed for follow up weed suppression.

>>it's not clear to me that anyone has said anything about millions of gallons...just tens of thousands of gallons. Per the EIS UC will kill >50,000 trees and will apply ~2 oz of garlon per twice a year for up to 10 years. This results in something in excess of 15k gallons. Most importantly, it doesn't include all the additional herbicide that is required to be SPRAYED on the hemlock, thistle, broom, and poison oak that has emerged every time projects that remove shade canopy are implemented. This had been the unfortunate reality at the UC site 29 which is frequently cited as an example of success. In fact, not only is there ongoing spraying of herbicide at this site, but UC isn't even posting pesticide warning signs as required by state law.

And why call this “clearcutting”, when it is to be selective cutting? See the Clearcutting piece linked to below, for photos of the difference.

>>in the eyes of most reasonable people, to kill 50k+ mature trees...all the tall trees in the hills, and then chip them, leaving up to 2 feet of chips on the ground would be reasonably described as a clearcut. For anyone who wants to know what this looks like, please check out the Hills Conservation Network website.

As for the attacks on proponents of a native flora and fauna as foolish and misinformed idealists, using the false fire danger argument as a Trojan horse to implement their ulterior motive, even the most vituperative of the native flora denyers, said “It goes without saying that native plants and animals deserve our protection. We should be prepared to defend our natural areas with our very lives if necessary.”
Which brings us to another reason for planting natives: we do not want species to go extinct, and that has been happening with alarming speed. As for as plant species, urban gardens can threaten native species, because exotics are planted where natives once grew. As James Roof the horticulturist pointed out, with regard to San Francisco, this area and Marin share a unique ecological area we call the Franciscan, where most of the plants inhabited the SF part –“And they planted a city in the midst of it”, he said. So some of us plant m natives in our gardens to preserve them and the animals which they foster.

>>while native plant restoration may be something some folks feel very passionate about, it has nothing to do with fire risk mitigation....and that's the problem here. But more importantly, if you could achieve a higher level of fire risk mitigation at far lower cost, without the herbicide issues, and without destroying raptor habitat, and without creating erosion issues, why wouldn't you do it? That's the question here. If UC were to simply manage the understory fuels on its properties, we wouldn't be having this discussion. The problem here isn't FEMA and it isn't even EBRPD...it's UC and its insistence on using public funds to clear land, avoid spending money on maintenance, and fostering native plant restoration that's holding progress back.

This is the reality. Let's not mix up native plant restoration with fire risk mitigation as they are not the same. We expect UC and the other project proponents to implement programs that actually reduce the risk of fire in the hills, not take federal funds to advance other agendas.
by Mary McAllister
Monday Jun 3rd, 2013 8:26 PM
I have read the original article from “environmental activist” and all of the comments on that article. I see no relationship between those comments and this hysterical reply from “environmental activist.” Here are just a few minimalist responses to the hyperbole in which “environmental activist” engages:

EA says, “stop demonizing those who have considered the widespread experience and preponderance of data that eucalyptus trees are prone to fire and its explosive spread, and that they spread as invasives, crowding out native plants (and the native animals which depend on them). “

*Who is demonizing whom? I see nothing in the comments on her original article that can accurately be described as “demonizing.” Yes, they disagree, but is that a crime in a civil society? What I see here is demonizing of non-native plants which are not “spreading explosively.” According to a study of aerial photographs over a 60-year period of 6 Bay Area open spaces, Monterey pine and eucalyptus forests have not spread at all, let alone “explosively.” Even the California Invasive Plant Council says that eucalyptus is “moderately” invasive and the US Forest service database of trees says they “rarely spread into wildlands.” Even one of the strongest supporters of invasion biology, Professor Daniel Simberloff, says in his Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions that eucalyptus is not very invasive and explains why.

Animals have long ago adapted to the existing vegetation. They wouldn’t still be alive if they hadn’t. Studies of species diversity in eucalyptus forest all over the world report that after only 5 years, the eucalyptus forest has just as many animals living in it as in native forests. Animals are smarter than we are. They couldn’t care less if a plant is native.

“It is a turnoff to see attacks on those familiar with prior research and long hands-on experience in restoration, on the basis of theoretical speculations and skewed research which some use to support their views that forests should be everywhere and trees placed anywhere regardless of their interactions with the environment That no tree should be cut. That more carbon is released in cutting trees than in catastrophic firestorms.”

*That you are “turned off” by opposition to these destructive projects is really too bad. We are just as turned off by the destructive projects.

“Skewed research?” We cite the research of mainstream scientists whose publications have been peer reviewed.

I know of no one who says “forests should be everywhere and trees placed anywhere.” What we object to is the DESTRUCTION of existing forests. No one is attempting to expand them beyond where they have been for over 100 years. No one objects to the destruction of hazardous trees. The eucalyptus forest is healthy and not hazardous. It is not necessary to destroy the forest to prevent a wildfire. You set up a false dichotomy to suggest that the only way to prevent a wildfire is to destroy the forest.

“The monarchs have moved on, and a 3 year study done in the Monterey area showed that they lost 20% of their population in storms when in eucalypti, and moved to native evergreens for the rest of the winter.”

*Yes, monarch butterflies can over-winter in both eucalyptus and pine forests. Unfortunately Monterey pines are being eradicated by these projects along with the eucalyptus. So, your suggestion that the monarchs can “just move on” is not an option for them.

“As for cleaning the air, catastrophic fires do not clean the air!”

*Another false choice. Fire hazards can be mitigated without destroying tens of thousands of trees. We do not have to choose between clean air and wildfires.

“Some short billed bird species have suffocated from eucalyptus resin on their bills and were found dead below the trees. Many nest building native birds can’t and don’t use them; those who need holes for their nests can’t make them.”

*This is one of the favorite myths of native plant advocates with absolutely no evidence to support it. Rich Stallcup found one dead bird in the eucalyptus forest 15 years ago, and that one bird has been parlayed into a nativist myth which is entirely bogus. Native plant advocates can’t even stick to one version of this myth. Some say the birds starve to death. Some say they suffocate. Some say it’s the nectar that kills them. Some say the “gum” though one wonders why the birds are poking around in the bark. Ask yourself this question, if you were a bird and you had something stuck in your mouth or your nose, wouldn’t you lift your foot and scrape it off? Give the bird a little credit for some basic grooming maintenance.

“It’s not true that “millions of gallons are to be poured/sprayed” on the area.”

*No one has claimed that “millions of gallons” of pesticides will be used. But thousands of gallons will be used and that is said explicitly in the EIS for these projects. Every tree that is destroyed will be sprayed with 1 to 2 ounces of pesticides and 5% of the trees will require retreatment to kill the roots. Tens of thousands of trees will be destroyed. There are 128 ounces in a gallon. Every 128 to 64 trees will require one gallon of pesticide. That doesn’t count the pesticides that will be foliar sprayed on non-native shrubs such as broom.

“We should be prepared to defend our natural areas with our very lives if necessary.”

*That’s the kind of hyperbole that has earned the native plant movement its reputation as a cult.

“we do not want species to go extinct, and that has been happening with alarming speed”

*In fact, science tells us that there has not been a single extinction of a plant in the continental United States that has been attributed to competition from non-native plants. In a study of extinctions in major cities all over the world, we were informed that 97% of plants that existed in San Francisco when the city was incorporated in 1850 still exist in San Francisco. Only 3% are no longer found there.

For an article that seems to plead for reasoned debate, this article engages in hysterical rhetoric that inflames rather than promotes mutual understanding.

by Herbicides too dangerous
Tuesday Jun 4th, 2013 12:57 AM
I can't agree with the 2 prior comments. They continue to ignore information we already have.
But I do want to add something about the toxicity of herbicides, which must not be ignored, either.

The main thing wrong with the plan is the use of herbicides. Information
about the toxicity of herbicides is readily available on the internet, for example
http://earthopensource.org/index.php/4-health-hazards-of-roundup-and-glyphosate/4-1-myth-roundup-is-a-safe-herbicide-with-low-toxicity
This article also has links and a summary, and it's not the only one.

But few people have this information, rather they have misinformation.

by environmental activist
Thursday Jun 13th, 2013 12:50 PM
http://ccfirestorm.blogspot.com/2013/06/there-is-firestorm-building-in.html
Has photos of restored sites, also intereseting videos.
by repost
Thursday Jun 13th, 2013 9:32 PM
A video, Part 2 of 4 of the 2008 Australian fire.
10 minutes, the initial part is about the forward spotting of eucalyptus bark.
In this case, embers from the burning eucalypt bark were shooting
20 kilometers ahead of the firestorm.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VPyflU08hLg

Another figure given for flame length in a crown fire is twice the height of the tree,
also making the height of the eucs more of a hazard.