"Homes Replaceable, Steelhead Not"

December 17, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

Non-profit group Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics is suing the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, along with the U.S. Department of Commerce, for allowing endangered steelhead to be killed by fire retardant chemicals during the May 2009 Jesusita fire in southern California. At issue: there are thought to be fewer than 500 adult steelhead in the four key local waterways.
“Between 40 and 50 dead trout were observed in a 1.5-mile stretch of the Maria Ygnacio Creek near where fire retardant known as Phos-Chek had been dropped on a spot fire a week earlier, according to a report by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employee.” Eric Lindberg in the Daily Sound.
In Time magazine Randy James points out that the cost of chemical retardants itself is eyebrow-raising: “The Phos-Chek slurry used by Cal Fire costs about $2 per gallon, Upton says. Tankers can dump 1,200 gallons during each pass.”

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