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Author Topic: North American Fires 2020  (Read 1895 times)

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Offline BradMarks

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2020, 01:27:58 PM »
No.  It is not that simple.  Were people talking climate change in1910 (thereabouts) when Northern Idaho burned up, and hillsides still today with no trees to speak of?  How about the Tillamook Burn (1933), again in the 40's?  The Oxbow burn, while I was in high school (I'm 66)?.  And the answer of "we didn't know about climate change then" falls on deaf ears.  Weather patterns, long term, decades long, change, back and forth. When was the last ice age?  Not that long ago in terms of the earths existence. The end.

Offline quilbilly

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2020, 02:01:49 PM »
It is not the lack of forest management that is causing this.  There were more trees 200 years ago weren't there.  

I agree that fire suppression has led to too much fuel, making the fires more devastating, where old growth could handle it.  
If there is mismanagement of the land to blame, it is not the wooded land that was mismanaged in the last 50 years, more like the last 50-150; and building homes and towns deeper into the forests brings more attention for sure.  

It is climate change, plain and simple.  Don't let your politics get in the way of reason and facts.  
The cases of arson are unfortunate, but you can't scapegoat this to a few bad acts.

Science denial and politically pointing the blame definitely wont help anything.  
Our education systems have failed us.  

We all know that logging is appropriate, and it is best done along with a scientific planning for the immediate and long term future of the land.  
I seriously doubt that an increase in cutting in the last 20 years would have had any deterrent to what we are seeing now.    
Maybe that's true where you are, it simply isn't true in the PNW. Forest management is non-existent. From decommissioning hundreds of miles of road, to not even having salvage sales it's ridiculous. There is literally millions of BF of blow down in the ONF that is being left to rot that would've been salvaged pre 1990. 
Climate change is neither pure nor simple and is an easy scapegoat for anyone who likes to point fingers. Perhaps you should keep your politics out of it? 
Maybe you could enlighten us on how not cutting more in the last 20 years wouldn't have helped. Or how logging 50-150 years ago made today's problems worse. Please tell me how my local branch of the forest service is managing correctly. 
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Offline clearcut

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2020, 02:12:14 PM »
The situation, in California at least, is all that, and more it's complicated. We are here now - how do salvage this relationship?

First consider the scale 33 million forested acres in a state of 105 million acres, most of which are fire adapted vegetation. Many of those acres have people living in close proximity. In a Mediterranean climate where it essentially does not rain between April and October. 

Nearly all of the non forested acres are infected with non-native annuals that go dormant by June, providing nearly unlimited fine fuel, everywhere. These engulf the native fire adapted species. This is the ecosystem that will respond to most disturbance - grazing, light fire, or heavy fire. 

The forested acres are in annual drought stress that starts dormancy. Evergreens are shedding less productive needles heavily, draping them over the understory. More fine fuels, vertically spaced.

High pressure holds over much of the state all summer, heating and drying the vegetation. By September or October the early storms start breaking through with high wind, lightening rich, moisture deficient storms. 

Current prediction is that these conditions are likely to worsen.

So you have a constant flow, of fine fuels, well distributed across much of the state. At this time, there is no ready market for all of this annual biomass. The cost of treating this biomass is enormous and ongoing. 

A very long history of fire suppression has increased fuels in many areas that they are difficult to treat by prescribed burning. In addition, California is a strict liability state - you start it - you pay to put it out plus all the damage in between - oh and by the way, if you are rural your fire insurance is cancelled. If you do mange to get a few acres in prescription, air quality is more than willing to shut you down until you can no longer hope to meet a prescription, wasting hours of time and thousands of dollars.

And welcome to California - here are the rules: no you don't won't to go there. California has incredibly detailed environmental laws, regulations, rules, and agencies, boards, and certifications to guide you on your management journey. The politics involved to change these rules are incomprehensible to me at least. 

And people are stupid, see above. But not only the arsonists, consider the campers who have to have s'mores on the hottest Labor Day recorded, and the BLM crew mowing with a relative humidity of about 14%...

Progress is being made. People are aware. There appears to be action on encouraging more prescribed burning. Fire Safe Councils and Fire Wise communities are gaining traction getting local communities to improve defensible space. 

The feds have established and maintain defensible fuel profile zones - fuel breaks - and work closely with industry to extend continuous protection across ownerships. Industry is also motivated to establish and maintain these.

I don't enjoy it, but the power company cuts the power on its aging equipment for a few days when fire conditions warrant - Public Safety Power Shutoff PSPS. Prefer running the generator for a couple of days, to burning up. Last year they were ridiculous - too often, too long, but this year they have improved their weather prediction and system isolation so it is better. PSPSs cost them a lot of money, so hopefully they will be motivated to improve the infrastructure. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2020, 02:48:53 PM »
How does a power plant shutdown help reduce fires?




Seems to me if you dont want one huge, unmanagable fire, youd better be having lots of routine small ones.  
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Online Ianab

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2020, 03:35:06 PM »
How does a power plant shutdown help reduce fires?

Seems to me if you dont want one huge, unmanagable fire, youd better be having lots of routine small ones.  
In the conditions described it's impossible to have a small managed fire, ANY fire that starts for ANY reason becomes unmanageable if it's not caught in the first few minutes. 
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Offline BradMarks

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2020, 04:21:37 PM »
Mike:  The power companies, in California it is mainly PG&E that is affected, shut down power in the transmission LINES, not the entire plant. This is done in anticipation of high winds, winds strong enough to sway lines (arcing) and knock down tree branches and entire trees across the lines. Those are the events that trigger powerline fires.  Unfortunately, that did not happen here locally and we have a 160,000+ acre fire at our backdoor, so to speak.

Offline Claybraker

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2020, 05:37:10 PM »
I'm about as far diagonally in the US from the current crisis but hope everyone involved stays safe. The Okefenokee has burned down clear to the waterline twice in my memory. Fire happens. Figure we about due for the marsh to catch fire again.

Offline Rhodemont

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #27 on: September 17, 2020, 10:52:15 AM »
There is a big concern along the Rhode Island / Ct border where thousands of acres are dead oak from gypsy moth kill.  The RI DEM brought in a logger (from VT) and cleared large parcels and miles of fire break pathways (they look to be a good 200 ft wide or more) through many others.  Lots of people complaining about the cutting but think they would be complaining a lot more if that all caught and we had a fire like you out west. 
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Offline Riwaka

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2020, 07:23:01 PM »
Road closures due to West Coast fires

 

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Offline nativewolf

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2020, 05:54:49 AM »
Have the recent rains helped out at all?
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Offline quilbilly

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #30 on: September 19, 2020, 09:29:46 AM »
Not sure yet, you can check on inciweb. I know they did where we were logging which is about an hour north of portland. Could almost make out the sun for the first time in weeks. The big hollow fire which is closest to the job was 24k acres last I checked. The rain should help but isn't putting out a fire that big. 

Due to the geography of WA and OR the cascades form a rain shadow and the eastern side gets less than half of the rain the western side does. So not sure if fires over there got any. 
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #31 on: September 19, 2020, 09:45:51 AM »
Have the recent rains helped out at all?
The recent storms that came through were thunderstorms so they helped but also light a few more fires off.

Offline BAN

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2020, 12:19:08 AM »
Just got home after ten days out. Fires in eastern WA are mostly contained now. Rained some on way home but possibly got lightning as well. 

Offline Riwaka

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2020, 05:12:31 PM »
Underground fires in Oregon


Offline BAN

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2020, 08:38:06 PM »
Underground fires in Oregon


Those roots burning underground are why I try to only burn slash in fall. Spring burning can pop back up mid summer and start fires.

Offline BAN

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2020, 08:40:48 PM »
Headed down to Lionshead fire in Central Oregon. Guess we aren't done with black wood quite yet. 

Offline quilbilly

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2020, 08:46:50 AM »
With the rain this week the NW should be ok. Idk about southern oregon or california
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Offline Skeans1

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2020, 09:30:41 AM »
With the rain this week the NW should be ok. Idk about southern oregon or california
The problem is the wind again on something like the Lions head or the Beachie Creek fires 

Offline quilbilly

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2020, 11:56:26 PM »
We didn't cut today, blowing 15+. 
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Offline BAN

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Re: North American Fires 2020
« Reply #39 on: Yesterday at 03:18:28 PM »
Lionshead is creeping along but rains have slowed it way down. Our camp is at Timothy lake just off highway 26. The other guys are down at Sisters and have the bigger wood.


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