West Coast Fires

DLJeffs

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That's a big deal here where I live. They call it defensible space. We aren't even allowed to have bark mulch within 18 inches of our house, deck, etc.

The weather folks got it wrong. The smoke was supposed to go away today. It started to clear up a little this morning but came back with a vengeance this afternoon. It's as bad as it ever was. Now they're saying Thursday, with maybe some rain late this week. Man we need water bad.
 

eaglea1

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Prayers for everyone affected by the fires and smoke. We're always thinking about all. Stay safe everyone!
 

Nubsnstubs

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We had a little wind yesterday evening, and when the Moon appeared, the Crescent was crystal clear for the first time this week. I even saw stars, which is usually a nightly thing, but absent with all this smoke. .................. Jerry, 1500 miles from the fires, (in Tucson)
 

DLJeffs

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Keep coastal Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in your thoughts too. That hurricane Sally appeared out of no where.
 

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Re Colorado fires. Our freak snow storm did help the Cameron Pass fire west of Ft Collins. But our forecast is dry again for the next week or so; nothing off the west coast to help them. The now biggest fire in state history mentioned before is pretty well contained; but this Cameron Pass fire has me a bit worried. There is so much beetle kill up in the area; also with the Williams Fork fire, that if we get the winds again Rocky Mtn National Park is in real danger from 2 sides.

Just hard to believe/see towns totally gone; just like Paradise. Just very difficult and emotional and I don't even live there. The growth in the fires are just unimaginable; a 100,000 acres in 24 hours; when the largest Colorado fire now is just over 135,000. How can those fire fighters maintain this effort.

Prayers for all!!!! Oh, and the weather is such that we are now getting smoke; have had about 4 clear days that were perfect fall weather; but smoke is back from both the west coast and Colorado fires.
 

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Being from middle Earth, this kind of fire is foreign to me. From what I’ve seen, beetle kill and arson seem to be behind some of this, but that’s just based on what I’ve heard locally.

For those of you in the know, how do these kinds of fires happen? Is there something that could be done to lessen the risks of this kind of thing?
 

DLJeffs

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David,
Most things I've read (that aren't politically or emotionally biased) indicate the majority of forest fires are lightning caused, with human caused a close second. The first week in Sept was a sort of perfect storm out here. Extremely dry conditions, lots of fuel (forest management was not well done, no recent burns, lack of smaller fires to remove fuel, and some beetle kill). Combine with high winds and any small spark grows exponentially. I haven't seen yet what the investigators conclude as the cause of these big fires out here. As far as I know, we didn't have any lightning at the time.

Garry,
I agree with you about the effect of beetle kill out your way. I've been saying that for years, if they ever get one started in those areas it's going to be a big one. The last time I drove out to Colorado I remember coming out the west side of Eisenhower Tunnel and seeing nothing but rusty brown trees and thinking how nasty that was going to get.
 

Gdurfey

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David,
Most things I've read (that aren't politically or emotionally biased) indicate the majority of forest fires are lightning caused, with human caused a close second. The first week in Sept was a sort of perfect storm out here. Extremely dry conditions, lots of fuel (forest management was not well done, no recent burns, lack of smaller fires to remove fuel, and some beetle kill). Combine with high winds and any small spark grows exponentially. I haven't seen yet what the investigators conclude as the cause of these big fires out here. As far as I know, we didn't have any lightning at the time.

Garry,
I agree with you about the effect of beetle kill out your way. I've been saying that for years, if they ever get one started in those areas it's going to be a big one. The last time I drove out to Colorado I remember coming out the west side of Eisenhower Tunnel and seeing nothing but rusty brown trees and thinking how nasty that was going to get.
yes, I believe all 4 of our large ones right now were lightning caused. Dry, fuel, wind, and one thunderstorm and everything changes.

now, the threat of erosion, just adds insult to injury.
 

Wildthings

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Keep coastal Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in your thoughts too. That hurricane Sally appeared out of no where.
Yes and no! I've been watching her since she was out in the Atlantic!! She's not moving much. Wish it would send some of that rain y'all's way but but alas!!
 

Mike1950

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Being from middle Earth, this kind of fire is foreign to me. From what I’ve seen, beetle kill and arson seem to be behind some of this, but that’s just based on what I’ve heard locally.

For those of you in the know, how do these kinds of fires happen? Is there something that could be done to lessen the risks of this kind of thing?
We saved the spotted owl. But abandoned forest management. Thus turned it over to mother nature. This is result.
 

DLJeffs

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Yes and no! I've been watching her since she was out in the Atlantic!! She's not moving much. Wish it would send some of that rain y'all's way but but alas!!
That's weird. I check the NOAA hurricane tracking site once in awhile because I have friend in the Bahamas and places on the coast. I never saw "Sally" until two days ago and it was already in the Gulf approaching the Louisiana / Mississippi coast. Right now there's three more hurricanes in the Atlantic and couple of low pressure depressions. Fortunately, it looks like they'll all track north, away from the islands and the mainland.
 

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Being from middle Earth, this kind of fire is foreign to me. From what I’ve seen, beetle kill and arson seem to be behind some of this, but that’s just based on what I’ve heard locally.

For those of you in the know, how do these kinds of fires happen? Is there something that could be done to lessen the risks of this kind of thing?
California had 1200 plus lightning strikes. They were the big fire starter and environmental conditions helped fuel the "perfect storm". Sadly, politics play in with many layers. As Mike mentioned Spotted helper...owl being one. Smokey Bear is likely the worst influence over the last 55 years. As a former USDA Forest Service forester in the FIA division, I saw first hand many forest management plans based on the most recent science altered to appease the public. Bus loads of protesters would flow from the city and overwhelm pubic meetings, picket harvest sites, and some vandalized equipment. The last 3 decades of heartfelt action in treehugger like ways have helped set up many of these not horrific fires.

Luckily, most of the fires have been up-played as being far worse than they are environmentally. There are many areas of truly "scorched earth" that will take a long time to re-establish, but most areas will bounce back quickly. Now remember, quickly is a loose term and what is quick in some forest types is slow in others. "Quickly" in a grassland, within 1-3 years, a birch type, 1-5 years, oak type, 3-10 years, maple type, 1-3 years, ponderosa pine type, 3-15 years. Some pine forests, 50 years could be quick, just depends on the scale you compare and human lifespans do not compare to nature's time lines. These are response ranges, growth as you know could as little a single year, to decades, to centuries to even millennia.

There are books written on these issues...

To reduce fire storms, and truly scorched earth, fire has to be a regular part of the natural cycle has it was before the white man came here. The Australian Aborigines have been repeatedly reminding the mainstream that it is a natural part of nature, and after years of being hushed, Australia burned, a lot of it burned. Had the small fires been allowed to burn, much of the fuel load would have been reduced. With reduced loads, smaller fires.

In the NE USA, fall and spring have fire seasons. The Smokey attitude is to prevent (now the word suppress is being used at times) forest fires, something that has been recorded in the soil for the last 10,000 years. If conditions are right, primary and secondary fuels will burn cleanly and not intense enough to dry and kindle tertiary and quad fuels. The primary and secondary fuels are the smaller thickness classes, that are usually blanketed across the forest floor. With these burned and transformed to soil benefiting ash, the larger fuels are often in isolated pockets with no blanket to link them. When the larger fuel classes are ignited, that is when damages can happen. Green ladders (trees with live branches to the ground) rapidly dry, foliage can ignite and fire chases up the tree into the crown. If conditions are right, crown fires can spread and you see these fires on the TV. They are serious. I could go on but think I answered your questions...
 

DLJeffs

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Mark,
Remember the big debates after the large fires in Yellowstone NP? When was that, 2003 or something. I thought after that people in charge finally understood that you have to allow the routine, natural fires to reduce the fuel loads but it seems they worry only about the short term future.
 

Mr. Peet

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Mark,
Remember the big debates after the large fires in Yellowstone NP? When was that, 2003 or something. I thought after that people in charge finally understood that you have to allow the routine, natural fires to reduce the fuel loads but it seems they worry only about the short term future.
Yellowstone, I think it was in 1988. That was what really started the reintroduction of fire to forest management. However, even at that time we had 50 or more years of fuel loads. In 2003&4 another round in Yellowstone, a few of those were scorched earth. My brother was there 8 weeks ago, still very evident.

Yes, most people in charge understand but the general public do not and they sadly still have huge influences when they create false propaganda, picket, threaten lives and vandalize. There have also been a few times when the weather changed during a controlled burn, and it got out of hand. Those fires have also created a more timid approach in fear of retaliation. Its an egg shell balancing act for sure.
 

Mike1950

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California had 1200 plus lightning strikes. They were the big fire starter and environmental conditions helped fuel the "perfect storm". Sadly, politics play in with many layers. As Mike mentioned Spotted helper...owl being one. Smokey Bear is likely the worst influence over the last 55 years. As a former USDA Forest Service forester in the FIA division, I saw first hand many forest management plans based on the most recent science altered to appease the public. Bus loads of protesters would flow from the city and overwhelm pubic meetings, picket harvest sites, and some vandalized equipment. The last 3 decades of heartfelt action in treehugger like ways have helped set up many of these not horrific fires.

Luckily, most of the fires have been up-played as being far worse than they are environmentally. There are many areas of truly "scorched earth" that will take a long time to re-establish, but most areas will bounce back quickly. Now remember, quickly is a loose term and what is quick in some forest types is slow in others. "Quickly" in a grassland, within 1-3 years, a birch type, 1-5 years, oak type, 3-10 years, maple type, 1-3 years, ponderosa pine type, 3-15 years. Some pine forests, 50 years could be quick, just depends on the scale you compare and human lifespans do not compare to nature's time lines. These are response ranges, growth as you know could as little a single year, to decades, to centuries to even millennia.

There are books written on these issues...

To reduce fire storms, and truly scorched earth, fire has to be a regular part of the natural cycle has it was before the white man came here. The Australian Aborigines have been repeatedly reminding the mainstream that it is a natural part of nature, and after years of being hushed, Australia burned, a lot of it burned. Had the small fires been allowed to burn, much of the fuel load would have been reduced. With reduced loads, smaller fires.

In the NE USA, fall and spring have fire seasons. The Smokey attitude is to prevent (now the word suppress is being used at times) forest fires, something that has been recorded in the soil for the last 10,000 years. If conditions are right, primary and secondary fuels will burn cleanly and not intense enough to dry and kindle tertiary and quad fuels. The primary and secondary fuels are the smaller thickness classes, that are usually blanketed across the forest floor. With these burned and transformed to soil benefiting ash, the larger fuels are often in isolated pockets with no blanket to link them. When the larger fuel classes are ignited, that is when damages can happen. Green ladders (trees with live branches to the ground) rapidly dry, foliage can ignite and fire chases up the tree into the crown. If conditions are right, crown fires can spread and you see these fires on the TV. They are serious. I could go on but think I answered your questions...
Very well said. A couple things to add. Lodgepole pine one of the main trees in yellowstone need fire. Seeds need fire temps to germinate.
Largest fire in written US history was in 1910 1 million + acres in 3 days. N.idaho. it came after a record snow year. In fact worst avalanche disaster in US happened that January. Fire is a natural thinning process. We need to use to our advantage.
None of this timber that is burnt will get to market. They will hang it up in court for 2 years. Timber is useless then and will drop suit. Thus dead timber will become fuel for next fire.
 

Mike1950

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Monday it was very smokey in spokane. We rang bell at 500. Smoke continued to be problem 300+ miles east to continental divide. Got a lot clearer on east side. But billings mt. Was quite smokey. South through wy. Was not bad. Pretty smokey north of Denver. My guess is plenty of particulates in air. Great sunsets and we will get more snow and cooler temps....
 

Nubsnstubs

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We've had several fires in the Catalina mountains bordering Tucson within the last 10 years. Two weeks after the fires, a reporter went up to the burn area, and was amazed at how much new grass and seedlings they saw. The only issue I see with burnt ground in mountainous terrain is the erosion that occurs later when it rains if vegetation doesn't get established. It's all Mom doing her thing, trying to make this place livable for all the creatures on the planet. Problem is, some humans think they are smarter and enforce restrictions on nature that just doesn't make any sense.

There was a spot up in the hunt unit I hunted Elk in a place just about 3 miles north of the Mogollon Rim road that had an underground fire for at least the 10 years that I hunted the area. You could walk over the forest litter that was above the smoldering type fire that was about 3 feet down. Smoke was always seeping out of the ground. The area never burned to my knowledge. A few years that area did burn, but don't know if that particular spot burned. ............... Jerry (in Tucson)
 

Mike Hill

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Wow, I swore off watching or reading the talking heads years ago. I knew there were fires, had heard some rumors, largely dismissed them from my mind. Did not know the fires had gotten as big and serious as they have. Prayers for all in danger and have faced and are facing losses. I'll even volunteer to do a naked rain dance it you'd think it would do any good for an old codger to do a naked rain dance! A former boss of mine had a daughter and a son who were parachuting wildfire fighters - wonder if they have been activated.
 
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