Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ham Lake Fire Rapid Assessment Report Raises Questions

The USFS Gunflint Ranger District's Ham Lake Fire's Rapid Assessment has been drawn up.
The complete report can be viewed by clicking on RAT Report. Note- since it was copied in text such things as maps, graphs, images do not show up making it some what difficult to read. If you would like a PDF copy of the report email bct@boundarycountry.com or call 218-388-4487.

According to District Ranger Dennis Neitzke,
"OK, so this wasn't the quickest report we've ever done, but I did want to get this out to you folks. It was not prepared as a public document,
which means not all the acronyms are identified, not all jargon is explained, nor are all tables or information put in a context for public to understand. Some of this is in place so our folks can use it easily. The report is not completely edited either. You can find sentences that might make you scratch your head, but I decided to not wait longer for you to see it.

So, please use the information you can interpret, don't read it as a final product and if you have questions, we'll try to answer those."

After reading the report I have to agree with Dennis, I am glad he does not think it is a finish product. There were just to many glaring omissions and errors in the report. For example, in my reading, the report:

1. failed to taken into account the many prescribed burns that the District has conducted over the past few years within the Ham Lake Fire Area.
2. paid little attention to actual availability of seed source within each timber stand.
3. paid little attention to the timber burned within the BWCA and how this timber will be regenerated.
4. stated that (page 46) "within the 2005 Alpine fire and 2006 Cavity Lake fire moderate and severely burned areas are recovering well." Those that wrote the report have to be kidding when it come to the south shore of Seagull Lake burned in the Cavity Fire.
5. what studies were consulted to conclude in the report that, "Based on observations in the Alpine and Cavity Lake burned areas, it was determined that the Ham Lake Fire would have no long-term negative effects on fishery resources."

Just my two cents worth- Ted Young

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