© a Quinn Martin production
Lots of you have been asking what you can do to help. This year's resolution is to affect change on The Angeles and take back OUR forest. I will have an online petition circulating soon. Thanks everybody.

I originally wanted to blog about my adventures in the San Gabriel Mountains. I have some good stories, like the time I took a donkey to Ralph's Supermarket. But then the Station Fire started. I realized that there is much that needs to be brought to the attention of the mountain going public. Most folks are kept in the dark about how the Angeles National Forest operates. I will raise issues that are important to me, which are hopefully important to all citizens, but if you have any suggestions for discussion here, I am willing.

Here's the big agenda: Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron. I've made a few smart remarks and cryptic comments about her. But now, with the backing of some knowledgeable and trusted friends, it is time for a concerted effort to have her removed from her post. Stay tuned for details. And if you have any information you would like to contribute, anonymously or not, email me at gregsweet4@yahoo.com

I will get to some of the stories, sooner or later. Also, I want to make it clear that I no longer work at Adams' Pack Station, that these words are my own, and that the pack station is not the source of my information - they don't want trouble.

Mt. Wilson Backfires Failed

One of the factors in how Jody Noiron and others decide how to approach a fire in The Angeles is how the efforts will look on TV. When the Station Fire got into the West Fork of the San Gabriel River, the canyon behind Mt Wilson, there was, naturally, great media pressure to protect the summit.

But one of the few places on the forest that received fire clearance in recent years was Mt Wilson. And they kept telling us that this was a terrain-driven fire, not a wind-driven fire. Keep in mind that both sides of Wilson Ridge are extremely steep, and that terrain (i.e. steep slopes) can also act as a natural barrier to fire.

The fire never got onto the front (south) face of the ridge that is covered in Chaparral. The north side is a very different community, with Big-Cone Douglas Fir, Pines, Incense Cedar and Oaks, which burn differently and much more slowly without wind. In fact, the fire didn't attempt to burn there on its own.

However, it makes television reporters nervous - especially when they have a personal interest in the matter - to watch firefighters let a fire take its natural course in open space. Now, because the slope was too steep to cut a fire break, somebody decided to drop incendiary potassium permanganate pellets from aircraft to start backfires that would burn away from Mt Wilson.

Well, because the area didn't want to burn in the first place, all they succeeded in doing was to start hundreds of little spot fires that smoldered for weeks, and are still contributing to Jody's excuse to keep the forest closed. Eventually all the imported hot shot crews that were monitoring the situation went home because it was clear that the slopes behind Mt Wilson were just not going to burn.

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