© 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.

You Can't Do That On Television!

I am really nervous about posting this. I decided five days ago that I had to tell what I heard, but I have cogitated about how to say it since. It will probably cause grief for at least two honest, hard-working and well-intentioned forest lovers. No matter how I dance around the details, the pieces are easily put together from previous posts. I am not going to delete those otherwise innocent posts, and, besides, Forest Service personnel have already read them.

Forest Service management would tell you that they do not read this blog, but I know that they do. In fact, they have made some sarcastic remarks about it. One of them I found quite funny - it was something to the effect of "If a blog falls in the woods, and no one is there to read it..." - I don't remember the end, but I had to laugh. I have no misconceptions about this blog, but those that need to be aware of it are aware of it.

So, I've decided to tell exactly what happened, and if there are any negative consequences for innocent people, it will only demonstrate the toxicity of Jody's venom; and prove me right in wanting to remove her.

One month ago the Pasadena Weekly published an article entitled 'Smoldering Blame' in which was described the lack of controlled burns on The Angeles as a method to prevent larger fires. Jody used to excuse this by saying that they would have to first get permission from the AQMD, as if to say that it was automatically out of the question. But that is not the case. The AQMD just wants input into when the burns will take place, and they want to be able to warn citizens of possible smoke. In fact, according to the article by Jake Armstrong, the AQMD approved six permits to burn a total of 1,700 acres. Of that the Forest Service only burned 13 acres. THIRTEEN ACRES! Out of 1,700 possible!

Well, they are always full of excuses. They say that the weather was inappropriate at the scheduled times for the burns. I used to think that this was a case of dragging their feet and that it was always too hot by the time they got around to it. But this is calculated procrastination.

The LA Times published an article exposing a memo from the Regional Forester to Forest Supervisors (which includes Jody Noiron) requesting a frugality in the fire suppression arena. This seems to let Jody off the hook - she can't just go starting fires when she is told she can't afford to put them out, right? However, Jody has been notoriously cheap for ten years now, since long before Regional Forester Randy Moore was in office. Anyway, this is not the cause of my angst in writing this...

On Saturday, October 4th, one week ago, I went on a field trip with my Natural History class at Citrus College. I mentioned it in this blog. One of our stops was Rincon Station in the West Fork, specifically Engine 22. We received a demonstration of firefighting equipment by a graduate of the same Citrus forestry program. It was innocently educational, and so far the class and instructor have no idea what I am up to on this blog. I kept my mouth shut the whole time I was there.

Now, this person conducted a very comprehensive discussion of fire, fire suppression, and fire prevention, and it was wholly appropriate for the occasion. One of the students brought up the subject of controlled burns. We were correctly told that the Forest Service has learned a lot about the positive role that fire has on forest ecology. At first we got the canned excuse that blames the AQMD for not conducting necessary burns. But then the truth came out... "We can't do it for publicity reasons."

There you have it. Again, it doesn't look good on TV. Some of you may be thinking that the general public is not as naive as they used to be, and most understand that a certain amount of fire is necessary for many reasons. Others are willing to trust the Forest Service to do what is best. So, what's with the negative publicity angle?

As you are learning here, you cannot trust the Forest Service, not the staff of The Angeles, but most people don't know that. However, The Angeles knows that it can't trust itself. They don't have qualified fire management, thanks to Jody, and they don't have enough firefighters to control the burns. So what they are really afraid of is that a controlled burn will get away from them, starting a much bigger fire, and that they will be blamed for it. Instead they let the growth get thicker and thicker until an arsonist comes along, and hopefully he will get all the blame for a big fire. In the process, the heavy fuel loads are removed, and Jody will be retired by the time the forest needs to burn again.

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