Smoked Bear educates as he visits the Bear Wallow Fire in Arizona
Smoked Bear visited the Bear Wallow fire in Springerville, Arizona. The fire burned through 40 miles of mountains and over 500,000 acres, the largest fire in Arizona history. It burned all the small animals and only the elk and some birds survived. Some elk had their feet burned so badly that they died after the fire.
The Forest Service had allowed the forest to become overcrowded with about 1600 trees per acre and would not allow any logging. An Apache Indian Reservation in the reservation logged their forest and it did not burn. The Forest Service’s anti-logging policy was predicated on protecting the Mexican spotted owl which resided in the forest, but ironically the owl and its habitat were burned up in the fire.
Interestingly, all the insects in the forest were gone. We were there all day driving around to different spots and there was not so much as a fly. Because there were no insects, the fish were dying for lack of food. It was a turning point for me to see the senseless waste and devastation. The Forest Service is now spending millions to spread straw, reseed to prevent erosion, and clear the burned timber along the roadways.