2013-09-12 / Outdoors

Fish Report

Well, are you ready? Because ready or not the fall hunting seasons for 2013 have now officially kicked off with the start of the bear season. The bear season is sure nothing like it used to be before the DNR went to the permit system. The kick off of the old type bear season was in some cases almost as big as the start of deer season.

I can recall checking openings back in the woods where there would be a dozen or more tents and trailers set up with a crew of 15 to 20 hunters’ camped there. Now you would be hard put to find a campsite with a good number of bear hunters in our area. Back then the fun and camaraderie that these hunters enjoyed is what hunting should be all about.

Personally I feel this is one of the main reasons we see a drop off in the number of hunting licenses and the number of young people getting involved in our sport. I can recall all the fun and enjoyment young people had when they got a chance to go out and spend time with the “crew” at their hunting site.

Now most people would not even know there was a hunting season going on if they did not hear or read about it in the news.

Fishing activity continues to be good down at the river. With our town set up the way it is the youth have a natural place to go and catch some fish. It sure beats sitting staring at a phone or computer for hours. I keep telling my grandkids if this keeps up they will become like Cyclops with just one eye in the middle of their forehead.

Maybe we really were better off growing up before TV and all the gadgets they have out there today. It is funny because even today I have no desire to sit and play games on the TV, computer or a phone. Give me a nice day to walk through the woods and enjoy the great outdoors.

I was sent a news release from the Wisconsin DNR that is one of the first cases where I heard of a logging company being fined like this one was.

After a nearly four-month Department of Natural Resources investigation into the cause of the Germann Road Fire, a commercial logging company will be billed for more than $600,000 after the investigation determined the company’s negligence caused the forest fire to start and spread.

The fire was the state’s largest in 33 years and burned 7,442 acres in Douglas County. The fire began about 2:45 p.m. May 14 and burned an area nearly 10 miles long and a mile and a half wide before it was contained about 9 p.m. on May 15. Forty-seven structures were destroyed, including 17 homes or cabins, in the Towns of Gordon and Highland.

A logging crew was harvesting timber on industrial timber lands when the fire began. At the time, the crew acknowledged the fire had started at the work site and that they had unsuccessfully attempted to contain it. However, the investigation found that the crew and company, Ray Duerr Logging, withheld information from department law enforcement officials.

The investigation determined the crew had attempted to contain the fire using a fire extinguisher and a pressurized water system installed on the harvesting equipment and called 911, but the company was negligent for failing to maintain equipment at the logging site that could have prevented, or contained the fire, which was started by the cutting head of a Timberjack 840.

The logging crew was interviewed numerous times by conservation wardens and forestry law enforcement specialists. The focus of the interviews was the operator and his actions that led up to the fire and his attempts to suppress the fire.

During interviews with the DNR officials, company officials and the crew failed to mention there was a pressurized water system on board the Timberjack 840. This manufacturer of the Timberjack 840 intends the water system to be used for extinguishing fires caused by the equipment. The presence of this system and the attempt to use it was basically concealed from investigators until June 27 when it was tested with the department, insurance investigators, attorneys, and engineers present. At that time it was discovered that the water tank was full and the hose and nozzle stretched approximately 9.5 feet in front of the cutting head. However when tested, the air pressure system was at 2 pounds per square inch. The owner’s manual indicated a pressure of 55 psi to operate properly. The machine was also mobile.

The investigation determined that the crew had attempted to use the water system to extinguish the fire and water “dribbled out” since it had not been pressurized. The logging company officials also said they didn’t know if the pressurized water system worked as they had never tested it.

On July 24, the equipment was tested again. The pressurized water system was charged to just over 50 psi. The system sprayed water for five minutes and 40 seconds. The maximum distance was 15-plus feet from the end of the nozzle, the system sprayed water at 10 feet for almost two-and-a-half minutes before it started to weaken.

The fire extinguisher on the Timberjack 840 was manufactured in 2001. It appears to have had its six year service done in 2007. The last recorded inspection was May 2010. It was supposed to be inspected annually. According to a fire extinguisher expert, it appears the fire extinguisher worked mechanically; however, it was not clear if it was used properly.

The investigation finally determined that while the cause of the forest fire was accidental and efforts were made to suppress the fire by the logging crew, steps should have been taken in the preparedness and maintenance of the equipment.

I found this interesting in for a number of reasons and I will let you figure out why.

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