Save Arizona's Forest Environment (SAFE)
Andy Groseta written testimony 4-11-13
H.R. 1345 Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2013
Major fires in 2011 impacted 100 ranching families and displaced approximately 10,000 head of cows and 8,000 head of calves. Thus, ACGA developed the “Save Arizona’s Forest Environment (SAFE) Plan. Our ACGA leaders and staff have initiated a “Full Court” press to request emergency regulatory NEPA/ESA relief (exemption and/or waiver) to get cattle back on the Forests and timber harvesting underway as soon as possible. It will immediately require consultation on risk of catastrophic wild fires in critical habitat determinations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The goal of “SAFE” is to reduce fuel loads so that the risk of catastrophic wildfires are reduced. Read the plan here. Or see the action items excerpted from the plan below:
- Suspend NEPA and other pre-decisional requirements for fuel/fiber reduction activities on Arizona forests (forage and timber management) for 5 years.
- Immediately require consultation on risk of catastrophic wild fire in critical habitat determinations with US Fish and Wildlife Service to attain intended goal of conserving species, not allowing their habitat to be destroyed by fire.
- Begin restoration of burned forest immediately working in consultation and conjunction with local authority and community to restore ranching infrastructure, wildlife habitat and recreational areas destroyed by fires.
- Authorize and effectuate immediate harvest of salvage timber burned in the National Forest and utilize intensive livestock management to recover burned areas.
- Streamline US Forest Service decision process for reduction of fuel and fiber reduction activities including the harvest of timber and forage.
- Allow logging operations of both saw timber and pre-commercial timber on a scale and for a term which will permit private sector infrastructure investment in areas surrounding Arizona’s forests.
- Require the US Forest Service to harvest an amount of timber each year approximating annual growth and increase in forage harvest with livestock of up to 60% utilization of annual growth.
- Review Wild Fire Fighting techniques which are now biased towards “re-introducing” fire into landscapes where intense fire suppression has been utilized for one hundred years. This should include forest closure to all non-authorized forest actions. Meteorological conditions need to be considered along with overgrowth of forest in restricted areas.
- Institute budget reforms where Congress and the Administration dedicate 25% of its resources which are normally appropriated for fighting wildfire in Arizona, to direct these monies to the “Save Arizona’s Forest Environment (SAFE)” account which will be housed in the Arizona State Land Department. Rural communities, homeowners, businesses and healthy forests entrepreneurs would be able to present plans applying for grants that provide for the protection of their locales by implementing their “SAFE” plans. This proposal will assist in creating safe forests, jobs and economic activity in these threatened areas.
- Designate an office within the Department of Agriculture that would work with rural communities and individuals to assist them in addressing any grievances or issues related to forest planning or to resolve other Arizona State agency issues surrounding forest management.
- Convene a “Save Arizona’s Forest Environment (SAFE)” Summit at which we will issue a request to all interested individuals and advocate or activist groups to sign a pledge to refrain from utilizing the Courts or Administrative processes for a period of five years while we consider and implement adaptive management measures to enhance the health of Arizona’s forest lands and the protection of forested communities.
Arizona Bale-Out Fund 6/21/11
A Bomb in our Forest 6/30/11 read the entire testimony from Bas Aja at the Wallow Fire Hearing
Too Much Fuel in the Forests 7/5/11
Letter to Regional Forester Corbin Newman 7/7/11
National Cattlemen's Beef Association - 9/1/11
Yavapai County BOS - 9/6/11
National Public Lands Council - 9/7/11
Town of Prescott Valley - 9/8/11
Mohave County BOS - 9/12/11
Town of Chino Valley - 9/27/11
Sedona-Verde Valley Association of Realtors - August 2011
City of Cottonwood - 10/4/11
City of Kingman - 10/4/11
Town of Camp Verde - 10/5/11
Town of Miami - 10/10/11
Town of Globe - 10/17/11
Town of Eagar - 11/1/11
Town of Springerville - 11/2/11
Lake Havasu City - 11/22/11
City of St. Johns - 12/8/11
Town of Pima - 1/3/12
Catron County NM - 1/4/12
City of Safford - 1/9/12
Greer Fire District - 1/19/12
Tri City Councils (Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu) - 1/30/12
Arizona Senate Committee on Water, Land Use and Rural Development - 2/1/12
Town of Thatcher - 2/7/12
Arizona House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Natural Resources - 2/27/12
Town of Duncan - 3/15/12
Hidalgo County, New Mexico - 4/11/12
City of Prescott - 6/26/12