The U.S. Forest Service is planning to intentionally burn sections of the Linville Gorge Wilderness to reduce fuel loads and prevent more catastrophic fires in the future. If allowed, the burns would occur in four or more separate areas at different times and be repeated every three to five years.Should prescribed burns be conducted in the Linville Gorge Wilderness?YESThe Linville Gorge Wilderness is a unique and magnificent landscape. The fact that it is designated as wilderness means that we are obligated to do what we can to protect its natural character and preserve its unique plant and animal communities. One of the ways we can do that is by reintroducing fire to the Gorge.Linville Gorge is a fire-adapted ecosystem, unique to our region, with several fire-dependent species and plant communities. These plant communities are in decline and two species are federally listed as “threatened”. This means that fire has played a natural role and has shaped the Gorge throughout its history.For the last half century, fire has been kept out of the Gorge and every fire that ignites, whether by careless people or lighting strike, has been put out. Not allowing fires to burn has caused significant damage to the wilderness character and the ecology of the area. Without fire, the gorge has unnaturally built up heavy fuel loads of underbrush, and species that inhabit wetter areas have moved in, outcompeting the more native vegetation characterized by mixed hardwood and pine forests.These fuel loads of underbrush have also left the gorge susceptible to catastrophic wildfires which could devastate human settlements. The intensity of these fires would likely be outside of the natural range causing negative impacts to the forest communities. And, with a changing climate, we are likely to experience extended droughts and warmer temperatures, increasing the risk of catastrophic fire.Prescribed fires are those set intentionally by professionals under strict conditions that allow fire to burn under control. This approach is necessary to reduce heavy fuel loads of underbrush, thereby reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. By reducing fuel loads, we will be able to allow wild fires to burn naturally without human intervention. This is the best thing for the ecosystem and for wilderness.If we want to protect wilderness character, maintain the integrity of ecosystems, restore threatened species, prevent catastrophic wildfires, and protect local communities, we need to reintroduce and allow fire to once again play its important role in the Linville Gorge.Ben Prater is associate executive director for Wild South.NOThe proposed burning of the Linville Gorge Wilderness is not in the name of preservation. What is going to happen to our aquatic wildlife in the Linville River and its feeder creeks when the loose soil and soot erodes into it? As the Forest Service’s own manual on fire states, “On steep terrain, if post-fire storms deliver large amounts of precipitation, accelerated erosion and runoff can occur, even after a carefully planned prescribed fire.” With the Linville Gorge Wilderness receiving an annual rainfall of 67 inches or more, heavy erosion is sure to happen.What about our hemlock population? It takes hemlocks 450 years to completely mature to good cone production. With most of the old growth already decimated by adelgid infestation, prescribed burns will kill the hemlocks trying to make a recovery—the same trees that the Forest Service spent thousands in taxpayer dollars to protect less than 10 years ago.Exposure to relatively low smoke concentrations over many years can contribute to respiratory problems and cancer. In the name of profit, they are going to endanger our health.Linville Gorge’s rugged terrain – the toughest terrain east of the Rockies – will make it extremely difficult to control fires and will put more firefighters’ lives in jeopardy. Our local businesses stand to lose much needed tourist income. And they are violating the spirit and the letter of the Wilderness Act by manipulating the wilderness with prescribed burns.At the very least, the Forest Service should conduct an environmental impact study, as required by law, before proceeding. The Linville Gorge Wilderness is a world-class gem. There is no bringing it back once destroyed. As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.”Phil Phelan recently hiked 160 miles through the Linville Gorge in five days to raise awareness about the proposed prescribed burns.
Mr. Ramiro Lorenzo Victor Gomez, age 42, of near Moorefield, Indiana, entered this life on May 27, 1977, in Lexington, Kentucky. He was the son of, Ramiro Gomez, Sr. and Mary Francis Stewart. He was raised in Owenton, Kentucky and attended Carroll County High School. He attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma for anthropology. Ramiro was united in marriage to the love of his life, Helen Olivia Ann Higgerson. This happy union was blessed with five children, Carlotta, Zaria, Raymond, Brent and Caleb. Ramiro and Olivia shared 20 loving years of marriage together until his sudden death. Ramiro was employed as an engineer 3 for Belterra Casino & Resort in Florence, Indiana, for 11 years. He was formerly employed in construction for George Altepeter in Vevay, Indiana for several years and for Meritor near Ghent, Kentucky. Ramiro will be lovingly remembered for his love of fishing, gardening, camping, hiking and playing video games. Ramiro will be deeply missed by his heartbroken family and friends. Ramiro passed away at 7:00 a.m., Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Belterra Casino & Resort in Florence, Indiana.Ramiro will be missed by his loving wife of 20 years, Helen Olivia Ann (Higgerson) Gomez of near Moorefield, IN; his children, Helen Carlotta Hamilton of Rexville, IN, Zaria Renee Gomez of Madison, IN, Raymond Lawrence Victor Gomez and his fiancée, Diana Wieczorek of Lexington, KY, Brent Mikael Gomez of near Moorefield, IN and Caleb Mathiew Gomez of near Moorefield, IN; his grandchildren, Greyson Scott, Raven Gomez, Penelope Scott, Garrett Scott, Lylith Gomez and Eleanor Scott; his father, Ramiro Gomez, Sr. of Shawnee, OK; his mother, Mary Francis Stewart of Carrollton, KY; his brother, Billy White of Bedford, KY; his sisters, Maria Gomez of Carrollton, KY, Yolanda Cullison of Shawnee, OK and Julia Horn of Shawnee, OK; his nephew, Gabriel Gomez of Carrollton, KY and his nieces, Jessika Higgerson of Carrollton, KY and Miranda Frazier of Warsaw, KY.He was preceded in death by his grandchild, baby Hamilton, died January 1, 2016 and his sister, Melissa White, died August 30, 2011.Celebration of Ramiro’s Life and Remembrances will be conducted Thursday, August 1, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street Vevay, Indiana 47043.Friends may call 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Thursday, August 1, 2019, at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street Vevay, Indiana 47043.Memorial contributions may be made to Mr. Ramiro Lorenzo Victor Gomez Memorial Fund % Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home. Cards are available at the funeral home or online at www.haskellandmorrison.com
Kevin Long Burnley centre-back Kevin Long has joined Barnsley on loan for a month.The 25-year-old has not made an appearance for Burnley yet this season so had moved to Oakwell in search of first-team football.The Irishman has previously spent time on loan at Accrington, Rochdale and Portsmouth and is looking forward to testing himself for Barnsley, where he will stay until December 19.He told the club’s official website: “I’m itching to play. I jumped at the opportunity to come out and play.“The gaffer here is a genuine guy and I know one or two of the lads here. It’s a good fit for me.” 1