But the kid gloves are coming off right now: Ranchers, shut the hell up already.
An eastern Arizona rancher blames the U.S. Forest Service and environmentalists for the Wallow fire that has burned more than 440,000 acres in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest and White Mountains....(Via KTAR.com) This barely literate explanation defies logic. For one, every time we've been over on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, we've been shocked by the levels of livestock grazing- not exactly a cow free zone. [Ed.: Also, if any special interest groups are handcuffing the Forest Service, we'd love to see the photos. That's sure juicy.]
Rancher Gary Khiene said he knows exactly what caused the disastrous fire: "The special interest groups that have stymied and handcuffed our national Forest Service and invaded the national Forest Service with their own personnel to keep them from allowing livestock to be raised on our national forests and the logging the same way."
In fact, actual experts had this to say about the fires:
Others, like William Wallace Covington, a forestry expert at Northern Arizona University, countered that the leading factor was the grazing of forest grass for generations. The government’s longstanding practice of quickly extinguishing forest fires was also seen as adding to the thick clusters of highly combustible trees.Via the NY Times. And, so, maybe, just maybe, enviros aren't to blame, though you can't blame the ranchers for giving it a good old non-college try. Especially in light of the evidence (PDF) that grazing has completely changed the ecology of the southwest pine forests. Wouldn't want anyone looking too closely at that, now would we, Cowboy?