Trial by Fire

Last evening I participated as one of five presenters in a live-audience,  multi-media discussion/presentation with a group of foresters, a smoke jumper and State of Montana’s tourism specialist in the Dept. of Commerce.  The topic was “Can we manage wildfire; Should we manage wildfire.”  As the lone “tree-hugger” on the stage, I tried to probe other panel members for the reasons for their beliefs – most believed in management as a “solution” to our wildfire “problem.”  Needless to say, the anthropocentric viewpoint predominated.

Soldiering on, I tried very hard to interject a few self-evident truths about nature and fire’s natural role in the continuous mystery of life in its many forms.  When cornered with truth, however, the other participants simply lied to escape reality.  I’m sure they believed their lies, but even to the live audience lying seemed obvious, but generally an acceptable answer to a confrontation with an inescapable truth. 

Lifelong experience, and faith in the newly emerging “science” of fire ecology provided the cover story “pro-management” advocates needed to reach a quick-and-dirty social consensus, which kept that proper distance between human intuition and generational, subconscious knowledge and modern myths that pass for “fact(s).”  Our faith in reason maintains a safe distance between our ego and any real contact with the unconscious part of our own psyche.  The pursuit of money and jobs, rote facts, repeated ad nauseum, are part of our conditioning since childhood.  Our conditioned response is firmly in charge of most opinions around society’s irrational fear of fire and forests.  These natural processes are now foreign to us, generally.  We are fully disassociated. Sad, I think.  Many of the ideas I  presented last night are summarized nicely in three (modified) excerpts from a recent op ed by George Wuerthner:

“When the climate is dry, hot, and windy, Nature defeats our best efforts to control blazes. Major factors in large fires include major drought, high temperatures, low humidity and high winds. Not fuels.  The same factors are also responsible for the beetle kill and other natural agents of change. Science says a healthy forest ecosystem is one dominated by occasional large high severity fires, major beetle outbreaks and high mortality from occasional severe drought.”

“Furthermore, dead trees are less flammable than live trees. Most of the acreage burned annually occurs in green forests with resin-soaked fine burnable materials like needles and cones. The bole of trees does not readily burn which is why you have snags left after a fire.  So, a forest of dead snags is less combustible than a green, drought-stressed forest.”

“Finally, logging the forests does not restore our forest ecosystems. Forest ecosystems depend on episodic and periodic high mortality from wildfire, bugs, drought and other factors. Many plants and animals depend on the dead logs and down wood for their survival and live in mortal fear of “green” forests.”

I have changed my views on science lately after years relying on peer-reviewed science to win lawsuits against various federal agencies causing great harm to our forests, waterways and public health.  That does not mean I will not continue to use science in the courtroom.  I will, however, adjust my perspective as more knowledge pushes me further away from overconfidence in what we think we know.  We do not need to know everything.  I’m really enjoying that thought right now.  I’ll close with a quote from Clint Richardson’s (free, online) book:  Strawman: The Real Story of Our Artificial Person.  p. 77. (unpublished, 2017)

“Science, since people must do it, IS A SOCIALLY EMBEDDED ACTIVITY. It progresses by hunch, vision, and intuition. Much of its change through time DOES NOT RECORD A CLOSER APPROACH TO ABSOLUTE TRUTH, BUT THE ALTERATION OF CULTURAL CONTEXTS THAT INFLUENCE IT SO STRONGLY. Facts are not pure and unsullied bits of information; culture also influences what we see and how we see it. THEORIES, MOREOVER, ARE NOT INEXORABLE INDUCTIONS FROM FACTS. THE MOST CREATIVE THEORIES ARE OFTEN IMAGINATIVE VISIONS IMPOSED UPON FACTS; the source of imagination is also strongly cultural.”  —Stephen Jay Gould, introduction to “The Mismeasure of Man” (1981)


And so, when our ego might be subdued enough in order that our spiritual Being is emergent without such constrictions of language and other art forms, we may finally acquire the most important knowledge of all, which is that we know almost nothing of what is Real in the eternity of all Creation as one Unending Being (verb). And while an actor may pretend to know his character and an observer may pretend to know empathetically his subject, this pretended knowledge is of course always false, no matter how experimentally predictable it may be. Scientific knowledge is never a True knowledge of Source, only a mutual acknowledgement (theory) of description and reaction. But a theory is also never the Source, only the best guess as to the Nature of things. The religious belief (love) in, forced syndicalist acceptance of, and subsequent application of this false or theoretical knowledge as legally sanctioned “fact” or “truth” is the cause of virtually all of our collective problems. But what is True Knowledge? Look around… With clear eyes and a Pure heart see what around you is artificial and what is of the Nature and Design of Reality, of that which man has not touched and repurposed to his own desires and imaginations. Are you still able to recognize and distinguish that legal, commercially driven matrix from the Reality it re-presents? Can you still feel what is Real? Can you see the difference between the fictional realm of the nations and God’s Creation of Nature, or do you cling to your nationality (ethnicity) insisting you are some person, some thing you are not in some place that doesn’t actually Exist?”

Go, get outside, wander in the forest before it’s all cut down for money and jobs.

15 thoughts on “Trial by Fire

  1. Excellent quote from Clint’s book, Steve. Excellent final sentence too.

    Clint’s words also put the recent brouhaha about the various alleged spooks into good context too. His book and website are full of such gems.


      1. It is no surprise to me that someone who knows Clint calls him genuine as they come, Ann. His integrity shines through in his work.

        Clint deals in foundational knowledge. His Strawman and CAFR work has been a revelation to me. It is not easily accessible, you need to concentrate hard and think about the real meaning of the words that he uses. Which is further complicated by the deliberate changes in the words meaning that the PTB use, particularly in the legal world.

        Sadly, this means that many people will not be able to take enough of it in, attention spans often being so short nowadays. But it is certainly well worth the effort for those that can concentrate enough to understand the complex subjects that he tackles.

        I was one of his sponsors when he took the time out to write Strawman. Please send him my best wishes.


        1. I have read many of his articles on
          He no longer blogs, but occasionally adds a new article. I signed up years ago and received notification of each new article. I discovered his CAFR video later and didn’t know he had a podcast on RBN until a year before he ended that portion of his work to concentrate on writing “Strawman”. All the old RBN shows are archived (by a great guy named Drew from Canada) and can be found here –
          I also have a searchable spreadsheet with all the original shows…also provided by Drew. Tons of interesting podcasts to be found… a lot of them are on YT too, you can search “corporation nation radio shows” but he did close to 500 shows so I don’t think they are all available. I’ll send him your regards!


          1. BTW, he is from the Sacramento area close to where I live. A few years ago, I asked if he had any talks scheduled for Sacramento because I wanted to hear him in person. He didn’t have anything scheduled, but he visits his mom every Christmas (an other times when possible) and invited me to meet up with him for coffee. A friendship formed and we meet for lunch or coffee on a yearly basis.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Please do Ann. Please send Clint my greetings from Yorkshire, which the locals call “God’s own country”. This alludes to the beauty of this green and pleasant land, rather than any religious meaning.

            I know Clint’s work from the “realityblog” that you linked to. And some of his films like “Corporation Nation”. Plus of course his book “Strawman”. The deceptions that he reveals are almost mind numbing in their breadth and depth.

            Money and Legalisms being the 2 core issues. Both are cloaked with layer after layer of deception. And both are central to the PTB system of human control


          3. Seems most of these threads somehow change the topic of the discussion midway thru,lol But that is good for future articles. I would like to get POM’s scoop on the “strawman” issue, as even though it makes some points about our reality. It doesn’t matter and can’t be applied by us average joes in a court room or anywhere even though it says we can.


  2. Excellent article, Steve. Thanks for your reference to Clint Richardson and thank you Annette for the links. I am only a few paragraphs into his blog and he has already clearly outlined the endgame.

    I followed his link to the International Social Security Association website. After clicking the “News” tab at that site it didn’t take long to find phrases like, “Smart use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain technologies can improve any aspect of social security administration.” And, “The ISSA and the World Bank join forces on strengthening social security delivery.”

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know that the Social Security Association is active in over 140 countries. It’s painfully obvious why the PTB didn’t squash Bitcoin. (Blockchain) is going to be the Global Currency.

    It reminds me of what I still consider to be the most chilling five minutes of Hollywood cinema ever filmed. And that is “The World is a Business” God speech scene in the film “Network.” It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today. And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. The other insane part is the push for IDs based on individual biometric markers. Global, or course.


  3. Years ago I read Wuerthner’s testmony before Congress that dead trees are not a fire hazard, especially once the needles fall off. It is counterintuitive, so most people assume beetle-killed forests are such a hazard, and no one save GW attempts to set them straight.

    Wuerthner’s message contradicts the Timber Lobby’s official PR-soaked message that logging was to be done for “forest health”, nonsensical as it removes the biomass from the forest that will regenerate the new forest. Anyone witness to a forest fire will see “crowning” where green and healthy trees (even if parched) don’t burn, but rather explode into flames. That is a gaseous event, not normal burning. It does not happen in a beetle-killed or previously burned forest, so that fires are naturally limited.

    And anyway, as Steve testified before glazed over eyes, forests need to burn now and then. People develop an emotional attachment to certain areas, and it hurts to see them go. Our own was a trail near Livingston,Montana called Pine Creek Lake. That area burned, and we were sad, but hiked it again a couple of years later and noticed very little different, some dead trees, of course, but lush undergrowth and surprisingly little area actually burned. The photos of forest fires and the smoke they give off yields the impression of a massive conflagration. Usually it is not so, though Yellowstone in 1988 was massive. That park is now mostly spawning new and healthy-looking lodgepole, a species well adapted to regular fires.


    1. Before reading this article, I had never considered that “Many plants and animals depend on the dead logs and down wood for their survival.” But it makes perfect sense. That’s basically a beaver’s lumberyard.


      1. I was reading about this last night in Ch 3 of “A Bitter Fog” The use of herbicides ruins this delicate balance by killing off undesirable weeds, trees and other forest vegetation that is needed to sustain the ecosystem.


  4. In response to Greg, this veered off because Steve quoted Clint in the middle of the article and several commenters that know of Clint’s work chimed in and I responded to them. Clint has added a last ditch effort to his blog to help people understand what he is trying to say in his “Strawman” book. You might find it of interest. Here is the link:


  5. Greg,
    May I suggest before you make judgments, you first read the book. If you have read it, and still feel that way, I look forward to reading your enlightening contributions in the future.


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