The intense wildfires currently burning in Northern California and elsewhere in the West remind everyone of both the immediate and long-term impacts of said events to people, private property, wildlife, and access to public land recreation.
Post Fire View from Multi-Use Trail - 2013 Rim Fire
QWR believes the recreation community has a responsibility to do their part in helping prevent the accidental start of a wildfire.
As you know, extreme wildfires can have an immediate impact on OHV recreation with implementation of public access bans in the burn area for periods of one year or longer. They also destroy management tools such as trail delineators, signs, kiosks, and campground facilities. Costly soil erosion and water quality trail structures can often be obliterated in the initial attack by dozers blading fire lines around the blaze.
Post Fire Closure to All User Groups - 2012 Mill Fire
In the link below, the U.S. Forest Service has some excellent advice on how the recreation community can follow simple steps to help reduce the accidental start of a wildfire.
LINK TO FS FIRE PREVENTION
QWR is also engaged with the FireScape Mendocino (part of the Fire Learning Network) which supports managed or prescribed fire as an important tool to reduce the potential for larger more intense wildfires and/or to improve forest health.
LINK TO PRESCRIBED FIRE
LINK TO FIRESCAPE MENDOCINO
SPECIFIC TIPS FOR OHV RECREATIONISTS
QWR wants to remind OHV enthusiasts to follow the recommendations from the BLM and other land management agencies to… “Never park a vehicle over dead grass; the catalytic converter can ignite the vegetation…”
QWR also strongly supports the proper use of a well-maintained USDA Forest Service Approved spark arrestor when operating an OHV on public lands.
Link to Forest Service Spark Arrestor Guide
Another suggestion for operating an OHV during the fire season is for the operator to remove any vegetation that has gotten trapped in the vehicle frame or body. Our land management friends in Canada produced a short and informative video about the need to rid our vehicles from any buildup of dead grass or other vegetative debris when out on the trail.
ESRD Alberta Canada PSA
QWR believes that OHVs can be operated safely during the summer months if riders and operators follow many of the common sense regulations and guidelines that will help prevent wildfires and allow us to continue our recreational activities on public lands.
Again, QWR believes that trail enthusiasts have an increasingly important role in regards to prevention of large/intense wildfires and support for increased fuel reduction/forest health programs and projects on private and public lands.