Fire in wild horse country sparked by chopping down juniper trees

Saw Spark Identified as Cause of Dodge Fire in the Twin Peaks HMA

SUSANVILLE, Calif. -Investigators have determined that a spark from a tree harvesting saw was the cause of the Dodge Fire that has burned about 11,000 acres of sagebrush, grass and juniper trees in a remote part of Lassen County, Calif.

The Bureau of Land Management determined that the spinning blade in a “feller-buncher” machine caused a spark, setting fire to dry grass. Workers were unable to quell the flames with available tools and equipment, and the fire spread quickly into tall sagebrush and junipers.

“We are examining all the evidence and information we have to determine whether there was any negligence,” said BLM Northern California District Manager Nancy Haug. “The contractor has been very cooperative in this investigation, and was a big help during the initial stages of the fire.” The BLM will issue a final report in the next several weeks.

The contractor was removing juniper trees as part of project to reduce the density of the tree stand, improving sage-steppe habitat important for wildlife, including the greater sage-grouse.

The fire started Monday, Aug. 3. Driven by wind and drought stressed fuels, it spread quickly. The blaze was 20 percent contained today, with full containment estimated for Aug. 11.

From a BLM press release

6 thoughts on “Fire in wild horse country sparked by chopping down juniper trees

  1. Why do they destroy EVERYTHING??? This is criminal and they should be held accountable! so much destroyed in a moment of carelessness. Disgusting…

  2. There is no good reason for removing the juniper trees, other than to make the property more usable for a welfare rancher. Again, the BLM bends over backward to promote cattle and sheep ranching, at the expense of wildlife, and paid for by the taxpayers. Note that BLM personnel do not remove junipers, but hire a contractor to do the work. This is how government gets things done, hire and pay a contractor to get rid of the pesky junipers, and if a pesky fire gets out of control, the government PR person explains it to everyone’s satisfaction.

  3. The disappearance of grazing herds of sheep and goats transformed large areas of the Mediterranean mountain landscape into forest with dense undergrowth and scrub. These landscapes are particularly susceptible to large fires and extremely dry summers due to climate change increase the chances of this. But with the return of native herbivores such as deer, ibex, wild horses, semi-natural landscapes, which are much less vulnerable to fires, are once again formed.

  4. The BLM is again helping the welfare ranchers by removing the juniper trees. The BLM has an ask and you shall receive mentality. The BLM does not listen to the public. They are rouge and do as they please it is called the buddy system. The buddy system has ranchers on the board so why would they listen to us, the public. They are run by what the ranchers want, which is more welfare land. Our horses are chased off their land and placed in substandard housing. They are exposed to extreme heat and frozen to the ground. Is this better than their land? NO!

  5. This is such a big farce, the major reduction of the junipers which provide much needed shelter and habitat for so many species and whose presences is a reponse to Global Warming. And now the big fire caused by spark from chainsaw. This is utterly stupid and insensitive! So wrong-headed!

  6. How can it help the wild life by cutting down the junipers? This is their refuge. Protects them from the harshness of the seasons. Also a place
    To hideout from man. Our birds need them for nesting.
    I think they had to know as hot as it has been that this could happen. This is a sin to ruin God/creators earth.
    11,000 acres gone because of
    Stupidity of the BLM and these so called professionals who should know better than to use chain saws in such extreme heat.
    I raised goats for Dairy.
    They are great for weeds ect. However
    I would not recommend 100s and 1000’s in an area where there are trees snd brush for wildlife. To much has been blamed on wild horses. They sre not the problem. Man is. The BLM is a cruel bunch of tophy hunters. Their trophy is monry for acts of madness. Y

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