You are correct on the initial FS response to wilderness area fires. The same response happens with other agencies, and not just with fire. I guess the idea is that since each wilderness area is a natural area, and fire also naturally existed here (which is very true) , then fire should be allowed to burn as it alsways has. However, the forests are getting drier most years than has been historically true and so there are now more and larger fires than is historically normal. If that fact was paid attention to, then the fires should be responded to more quickly.
There has been large fires over the last couple decades that destroyed both high and low-elevation forests that had not burned in centuries, judging from the size of the forest trees. Bull of the Woods Wilderness is a good example, where there were two large fires at 3500-4500 ft. in an area that had forests of large-for-the-elevation firs and hemlocks, and the two were in successive summers. It had been centuries since the last stand-replacing fires. There have been two low-elevation fires along the Clackamas recently too, the earlier Bowl Fire (AKA Toilet Bowl, the original name that was deep-sixed for reasons of propriety) and the 36 Pit Fire. I don't see signs of earlier ones, which means they were a long time ago.
What is it with the FS, they are slow to attack this fire and what happens it explodes. Surprise! I think it must be a FS policy to let fires in wilderness areas to have there way. Almost all of Oregon wilderness areas have been torched in the last decade. I know fire is natural, but what the FS is doing is putting the thumb on the scale. This fire was 30 acres last week, now raging past 4500 acres today, obviously seating back and watch it grow mentality! Ludicrous!
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