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treeswarper
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PostThu Dec 09, 2021 9:00 am 
I do like this idea.  Note that it does not do away with the goodness of fire, but the folks involved have stated the obvious, that with today's weather and fuel loading, using the Let It Burn policy so much is a bad idea.

A historical note, the act of hiking in to find the cause of a smoke was called Smoke Chasing.   During and right after a lightning bust, workers went out in pairs, hopefully with enough food and water to last overnight, and searched for the source of the smoke that was reported by the lookout.  When found, it was worked until out, and the pair hiked back out and returned to headquarters to be sent out on another smoke.  Sometimes the smoke was never found.  It could be an adventure in orienteering and navigation in some pretty rugged country.

Fires Suppression on the Rogue Siskiyou

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PostThu Dec 09, 2021 11:56 am 
This article (not Treeswarper!) lacks the sophistication of some of the previous discussions we have had.

"[...] given the longer fire seasons in the West, the massive forest fuel build-up due to less logging, and the critical low fuel moisture due to climate change, it痴 clear that, for the time being, we need to put out all fires during fire season as quickly as possible."

1.  The fire season is not longer, except when the weather makes it so.  The fire season is best defined by insolation.
2.  The "massive forest fuel build-up" has nothing to do with less logging, it has to do with clear-cut logging in the past and the same sort of fire suppression championed in this article.  dizzy.gif
3.  The "critical low fuel moisture" in certain regions that created large fires over the past few years had specific causes.  In northern California last year it was a 6% snowpack.  In Oregon the year before, it was because of the strongest easterlies ever recorded.  It's complicated.

I don't think it is at all obvious that we need to immediately suppress all summer fires.  The historic structures at Manzanita Lake in Lassen National Park were saved from the flames when the Dixie Fire stalled in the Reading burn.  The decision to let the Reading Fire go was extremely controversial at the time.

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treeswarper
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PostThu Dec 09, 2021 2:14 pm 
How long ago did the Reading fire burn?

After several lost summers due to smoke from local fires, I am all for going back to dousing them while small.  Then doing controlled burns and yes, logging, when and where conditions are ripe.

Now, your comment about clearcuts needs to be a little more localized because it is not a case where one size fits all.

In SW Warshington, it was common to burn the units after logging to make room for planting.  Planting in slash that is 4 to 6 feet deep is a bit difficult, so broadcast burning was done.  This was refined through the years as it was learned that burning done close to when the snow melted, was easiest on the soil.  There wasn't much left for a wildfire to get going in after the prepwork was completed.  Is this what you meant for an example?

Do you mean slash from precommercial thinning?  That can be mitigated by lopping up the downed trees, and probably is.  They rot pretty quickly.

Do you mean recently clearcut units?  Where whole tree skidding takes place leaving very little slash in the units and a big pile on the landing, unless hauled off for biomass?

Do you mean units where tops are left in the cutting area for soils?  Limbs are left on the logs and skidded up to the landing?

A fire hazard does exist immediately after the unit is logged, but every area I can think of has some kind of treatment done afterwards to reduce that hazard.  And, there are papers out there to contradict your papers when it comes to treated stands slowing down fire spread.

NoCal has a different problem.  They've had to quit using herbicides on NFs and have flammable brush that grows up with the seedlings.  They do try to kill the brush mechanically, but the funding is not sufficient to come back in again and again.  Plantations burn.  Again and again.  We don't have that problem in Warshington west side forests.  Brush is done away with, on private lands, to keep it from competing with seedlings in the plantations, and hasn't been a fire problem anyway.  A different forest than CA.

You can't just make a statement about all forests because all forests are not the same.

Specify please.

From what I'm seeing around here, it's going to take a long time, especially without planting, to get things healthy.  There used to be a joke amongst silviculturists that the best treatment in the Okanogan area would be to burn the forest up and then start over.   That's becoming reality.

  This is just a few miles from Conconully.


The bit about safety is not going to be overcome.  Not after the Thirtymile deaths and lawsuits.  So, don't worry, I doubt any of this will happen.  It never does and we will again have a smokeout.

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What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human末animals and aliens are great possibilities
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PostFri Dec 10, 2021 9:48 am 
treeswarper wrote:
How long ago did the Reading fire burn?

Ten years ago:

https://wildfiretoday.com/tag/reading-fire/

There was not much regrowth when I went through last year before the Dixie Fire.

Many of the fire ecology problems from logging are from past practices, like high-grading the Ponderosa pines and leaving the fir understory to form a doghair fir forest.  I definitely agree that the issues are different in different forests.

Remember the huge fire that burned up from Nespelem into the Aeneas Valley?  I forgot the name of the fire.  That fire was sustained by long crown runs that simply could not have happened before fire suppression.  Much of the forest that burned in that fire did not exist 100 years earlier because frequent fires maintained an open parkland/savannah.  In particular, subalpine fir (!) filled in the higher-elevation areas, allowing the fire to back down a north-facing slope into Aeneas Valley.  The fire ecology guy we talked to on Mt. Annie a few years earlier told us there would eventually be landscape-scale fires in those fir forests, and he was right.

The Rogue region has an analogous region in Washington.  The Rogue and Klamath drainages have the largest exposures of serpentine soils anywhere in North America.  The biomass produced by these soils is far lower than on other soils, so these areas form natural fire breaks.  Big burns are very rare in the upper Teanaway drainage for exactly the same reason.

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Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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PostThu Dec 23, 2021 6:57 am 
Immediate suppression is very much needed which is the thinking of the DNR to place helicopter in all the different regions. If they had jumped on the Carlton complex fire immediately it would have saved alot of time and money. They are still in ligation over that decision.

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PostThu Dec 23, 2021 9:27 pm 
timberghost wrote:
Immediate suppression is very much needed which is the thinking of the DNR to place helicopter in all the different regions. If they had jumped on the Carlton complex fire immediately it would have saved alot of time and money. They are still in ligation over that decision.

I am not sure what specific 電ecision you are referring to.


A year after the 2014 Carlton Complex, I sat down with one of the folks in charge of one of the four fires that became 奏he complex.  (I had not been in the Methow when the fires started, but did spend several weeks as part of a fire team managing the complex).  I asked this person, who I knew as a good, very experienced fireman, to tell me what happened on the fire he was on.  We were on a fire team together that following year.

His words:    糎e had about 500 acres on fire and had a line around about ス of it.  Of course, I could have used more people and equipment- but they were not available.  Still, I thought we would catch this fire.  (祖atch meaning they would stop forward progress on the fire and begin to corral it).  All of a sudden the smoke column collapsed, the fire spread on all sides, I had a couple thousand acres on fire spreading every which way - and I really thought I had killed a couple dozen firefighters. I spent the rest of the day making sure everyone was OK.

When you are on a large fire and a column collapsesall bets are off.  It doesn稚 matter if you have 50 firefighters or 500.  Or, if you have 2 helicopters or engines or 20.it isn稚 going to matter!  All you can do is get out of the way and focus 100% on saving lives of firefighters and residents.

I saw such fire behavior happen only a few times in my career and it is a frightful thing, indeed.  And all the 奏hey shoulda, 奏hey coulda, and 層hy didn稚 they from the sideline quarterbacks means exactly squat.

With 20/20 hindsight there are always things that could be different/better. And the DNR has made some positive changes.  That痴 how it worksyou learn, adapt and move on.

Litigation? AFAIK all the suits against the DNR were dropped or dismissed.  I do know the one suit most prominent in the media - from the large number of landowner/plaintiffs, represented by a Brewster attorney - was dismissed a couple years ago.

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timberghost
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PostTue Jan 04, 2022 8:23 am 
up.gif

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PostFri Apr 01, 2022 8:10 pm 
A discussion of fire focused on the dry forests of the West.

https://arcg.is/1baGjm

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