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PostWed Aug 22, 2018 10:30 am 
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This is a very involved study of Wildfire in the Western United States from a multitude of inputs and references and including studies of the age of charcoals.

The analysis shows a strong relationship to both temperature and drought as well as the effects of humans, both Native Americans and modern Americans. It warns of the obvious effects of climate change that should push climate and fire activity well out of the range of the evidence of activity in the last 3000 years.

Long Term Perspective of Wildfires in the Western USA.
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PostWed Aug 22, 2018 11:53 am 
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sounds joyous:

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Consequently, there is now a forest “fire deficit” in the western United States attributable to the combined effects of human activities, ecological, and climate changes. Large fires in the late 20th and 21st century fires have begun to address the fire deficit, but it is continuing to grow.


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PostWed Aug 22, 2018 12:04 pm 
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The data in that paper clearly show a massive decrease in fire activity starting around 1900...  despite rising temperatures.

The obvious conclusion is that an industrialized society decreases fires when it chooses to do so.
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PostWed Aug 22, 2018 1:50 pm 
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So, what else is new?

Forests in our area burn and always have.

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PostWed Aug 22, 2018 2:27 pm 
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thunderhead wrote:
The data in that paper clearly show a massive decrease in fire activity starting around 1900...  despite rising temperatures.

The obvious conclusion is that an industrialized society decreases fires when it chooses to do so.

I, honestly, have no idea what you are trying to say here.

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PostWed Aug 22, 2018 2:51 pm 
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thunderhead wrote:
The data in that paper clearly show a massive decrease in fire activity starting around 1900...  despite rising temperatures.

The obvious conclusion is that an industrialized society decreases fires when it chooses to do so.

I thought the paper addressed the whole ball of wax with great detail including, climate, fuel loads, and human caused and human intervention.
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PostWed Aug 22, 2018 2:53 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
So, what else is new?

Forests in our area burn and always have.

You obviously didn't read or didn't understand the paper. The paper did not address your political concerns, just data, and correlations.
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 7:23 am 
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Fire deficit?  Here’s my perspective.  I was on an Intial Attack crew for 4 summers.  Heppner Ranger district, very dry in summer. Probably assigned to about 60 fires total, including a dozen in 1 weekend.  Very few human caused, only remember one being so. None of these fires got big, none turned into project fires.  In fact most were held to less than an 1/8 of an acre.  Now imagine if just these 60 fires over 4 years had been allowed to burn.  Expand that out to 100 years worth of suppression.
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 8:20 am 
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The author clearly states the correlation between wildfire and drought and temperature. A 40,000 acre fire is not going to help habitat restoration to a mosaic landscape. The forest will return to a monoculture and will be at risk once again in the future. There should be a big difference in fire management in drought and heat conditions versus more normal (historically) conditions.

Take the Cougar Fire as an example https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6053/

The current fighting force is 1008 persons. Sure glad the government has the money to employ 1008 persons instead of the few you suggest could have stopped the fire when it was small. But I don't mind the smoke, it is good for you. There surely won't be any health costs long term for breathing smoke year after year.

But your argument and mine are beside the point. This is about the paper; it should be informative. It is worth an open-eyed honest read.
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 10:57 am 
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Quote:
The author clearly states the correlation between wildfire and drought and temperature.

The data presented does not support such a correlation once an industrial civ shows up and starts changing forest management.
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 12:45 pm 
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I not suggesting fires can be stopped when small.  I'm trying to say the impact made by suppression is enormous, and not in a good way.  I don't think the authors of the paper disagree.
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 1:20 pm 
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Fire suppression became common after the 1910 big fires, if you want to get specific. 

I will not blame global warming, nor climate change as in my mind, we haven't had enough years to decide that for sure.  (now don't get unhinged)  We are having warmer seasons.  Instead I will point out that:

A very burnable species of trees has a short life of about 80 years.  Then it weakens and beetles attack, killing or weakening the trees and they burn up.  That would be Lodgepole Pine.  That species has adapted to that condition, and needs heat to open cones for seeding.


Forest management, which was financed by timber sale receipts is seldom possible on PNW forests.  This began in the 1990s.  Meantime we've got unhealthy, overstocked stands which burn easily.  Trees compete for water and sunlight.   Weak trees attract insects.  Spruce budworm go after true firs and Douglas-fir.  Bark beetles like many species. 


Roads have been decommissioned or simply not maintained so access takes time. This might even affect spotting smokes before they grow.


The People Thing:  Crews are more cautious, which is a good thing, afraid of being sued should anyone be killed, which is a bad thing, and there are fewer trained and qualified employees out there.  I have pointed out that while at one time, 60 crewmembers could be sent from one ranger district.  Now, even with combined districts maybe 20 people can be rounded up?  I'm using the Gifford Pinchot NF for that example.  There are fewer fire savvy folk out in the woods, both FS employees and loggers.  The latter are required to carry fire tools and even have a cache of tools + fire wagon/truck on their job site.  Meanwhile, the population of our state has grown and we have more brainless idiots out there starting fires.


It is normal for August to be hot and dry.  It is normal to have forest fires in July, August, September and even in October.  I will admit to not remembering smoke like this although I bet it was bad in the past.  The Blue Mountains are an example.  The  name came from the blue smoke haze that settlers saw during the summer which hung over the mountains.  I imagine our eastside Cascades were similar. 


There are a lot of trees out there waiting to burn.  We can either cut them or let them go up in smoke.  Pretty simple.  We have the science and the knowledge to calculate optimum spacing for healthy trees and be site specific as one size does not fit all when it comes to forestry.  As far as wilderness goes, let it burn.  Sounds like the Pasayton is getting to the point of regenerating itself. 


Instead of "praying" for our firefighters, I would encourage people to educate themselves about forest health and lobby their Congressional folks to actually fund forest management and change rules to allow more of it. 


That's not what you want to hear, but it is from what I've seen and experienced on the ground in quite a few different locations in the west.

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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 1:45 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
It is normal for August to be hot and dry.  It is normal to have forest fires in July, August, September and even in October.  I will admit to not remembering smoke like this

It certainly hasn't been smoky like this in the Pacific Northwest in the last 70 years.

As to "normal", that is BS founded on ignorance or intentional distortion:

Quote:
NOTES:
# LAST OF SEVERAL OCCURRENCES

COLUMN 17 PEAK WIND IN M.P.H.

PRELIMINARY LOCAL CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA (WS FORM: F-6) , PAGE 2

                                          STATION:  SEATTLE-TACOMA WA AIRPORT
                                          MONTH:    MAY
                                          YEAR:     2018
                                          LATITUDE:   47 27 N
                                          LONGITUDE: 122 18 W

[TEMPERATURE DATA]      [PRECIPITATION DATA]       SYMBOLS USED IN COLUMN 16

AVERAGE MONTHLY: 61.0   TOTAL FOR MONTH:   0.12    1 = FOG OR MIST
DPTR FM NORMAL:   5.0   DPTR FM NORMAL:   -1.82    2 = FOG REDUCING VISIBILITY
HIGHEST:    88 ON 14    GRTST 24HR  0.04 ON 19-19      TO 1/4 MILE OR LESS
LOWEST:     45 ON 19, 2                           

COLUMN 17 PEAK WIND IN M.P.H.

PRELIMINARY LOCAL CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA (WS FORM: F-6) , PAGE 2

                                          STATION:  SEATTLE-TACOMA WA AIRPORT
                                          MONTH:    JUNE
                                          YEAR:     2018
                                          LATITUDE:   47 27 N
                                          LONGITUDE: 122 18 W

[TEMPERATURE DATA]      [PRECIPITATION DATA]       SYMBOLS USED IN COLUMN 16

AVERAGE MONTHLY: 62.6   TOTAL FOR MONTH:   0.63    1 = FOG OR MIST
DPTR FM NORMAL:   1.7   DPTR FM NORMAL:   -0.94    2 = FOG REDUCING VISIBILITY
HIGHEST:    88 ON 20,17 GRTST 24HR  0.25 ON  8- 8      TO 1/4 MILE OR LESS
LOWEST:     48 ON 12,11                         
NOTES:
# LAST OF SEVERAL OCCURRENCES

COLUMN 17 PEAK WIND IN M.P.H.

PRELIMINARY LOCAL CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA (WS FORM: F-6) , PAGE 2

                                          STATION:  SEATTLE-TACOMA WA AIRPORT
                                          MONTH:    JULY
                                          YEAR:     2018
                                          LATITUDE:   47 27 N
                                          LONGITUDE: 122 18 W

[TEMPERATURE DATA]      [PRECIPITATION DATA]       SYMBOLS USED IN COLUMN 16

AVERAGE MONTHLY: 70.7   TOTAL FOR MONTH:   0.05    1 = FOG OR MIST
DPTR FM NORMAL:   5.0   DPTR FM NORMAL:   -0.65    2 = FOG REDUCING VISIBILITY
HIGHEST:    94 ON 29    GRTST 24HR  0.04 ON  1- 1      TO 1/4 MILE OR LESS
LOWEST:     50 ON  3
NOTES:
# LAST OF SEVERAL OCCURRENCES

COLUMN 17 PEAK WIND IN M.P.H.

PRELIMINARY LOCAL CLIMATOLOGICAL DATA (WS FORM: F-6) , PAGE 2

                                          STATION:  SEATTLE-TACOMA WA AIRPORT
                                          MONTH:    AUGUST
                                          YEAR:     2018
                                          LATITUDE:   47 27 N
                                          LONGITUDE: 122 18 W

[TEMPERATURE DATA]      [PRECIPITATION DATA]       SYMBOLS USED IN COLUMN 16

AVERAGE MONTHLY: 70.6   TOTAL FOR MONTH:   0.08    1 = FOG OR MIST
DPTR FM NORMAL:   4.1   DPTR FM NORMAL:   -0.47    2 = FOG REDUCING VISIBILITY
HIGHEST:    94 ON  8    GRTST 24HR  0.05 ON 11-11      TO 1/4 MILE OR LESS
LOWEST:     54 ON 17                                                           

It is the same throughout the west and to at least 500 miles north of the BC border. The drought index reflects this as do fires. Note the temperature data also.

Edited: There is now an outbreak of fires on the Cassiar Highway in Northern BC and the Alcan Highway is closed down. from BC Wildfire Service

BC fires 2018 Wikipedia (August 20): A total of 1,925 wildfires have burned 612,124 hectares (1,512,590 acres) of land in 2018 as of August 20.[7]
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 1:53 pm 
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BC’s extreme wildfire season of 2017 is not an isolated event. It is part of a global trend of increasing area burned and extreme fire behaviour resulting in megafires with tremendous social, ecological and economic costs – as witnessed in recent years in western Canada, the USA, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, India, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, France… Over the past decade, record-breaking heat waves in spring and early summer meant fire seasons started earlier with longer, more pronounced, summer droughts – BC’s new normal due to climate change. Rather than a once in a lifetime event, 2017 is the pinnacle of several “exceptional” fire years, with tremendous costs to citizens, communities, the province, and forest management companies. Evidently, forests and communities in BC are not resilient to wildfire and adaptation is urgently needed.

http://www.forestry.ubc.ca/2017/10/wildfire-2017/

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/wildfire-situation/fire-danger

Quote:
This wasn’t supposed to be a bad year for Western wildfires.
Last winter, a weak La Niña bloomed across the Pacific. It sent flume after flume of rain to North America and irrigated half the continent. Water penetrated deep into the soil of Western forests, and mammoth snowdrifts stacked up across the Sierra Nevadas. California’s drought ended in the washout.Yet fires are now raging across the West. More than two dozen named fires currently burn across Washington and Oregon. More than one million acres have burned in Montana, an area larger than Rhode Island, in the Treasure State’s third-worst fire season on record. And the largest brushfire in the history of Los Angeles currently threatens hundreds of homes in Burbank.

Canada may be experiencing an even worse year for wildfires: 2.86 million acres have burned in British Columbia, the largest area ever recorded in the province.
So what happened? How did a wet Western winter lead to a sky-choking summer?
The answer lies in the summer’s record-breaking heat, say wildfire experts. Days of near-100-degree-Fahrenheit temperatures cooked the Mountain West in early July, and a scorching heat wave lingered over the Pacific Northwest in early August.

“This will become an important year for [anecdotes about] the importance of temperature. Despite the fact that these forests were really soaked down this winter and spring, these heat waves have dried things out enough to promote really large fires,” says Park Williams, a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.
In other words, the weeks of heat that baked the West in July and August were enough to wipe away some of the fire-dampening effect of the winter storms.
“The last 60 to 90 days have been exceptionally warm and dry, the perfect recipe for drying out fuels (the one ingredient besides ignitions you need for fire in these systems),” said John Abatzoglou, a professor of geography at the University of Idaho, in an email. “I was running a few numbers this morning, and the last 60 days have been record warm from Spokane, Washington, to Medford, Oregon; both Seattle and Missoula earlier this summer set records for the longest number of days without measurable rain.”

This excessive heat can have an outsize effect on the size of forest fires. For more than three decades, wildfire researchers have known that fire and aridity, which is controlled by heat, exist in an exponential relationship. Every degree of warming does more to promote fire than the previous degree of warming, Williams said.
“Now, thinking about temperature trends due to human-caused climate change, we think that the western United States is 1.5 [degrees] Celsius, or 3 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than it would be in absence of climate change. And there’s a heat wave on top of that,” said Williams. “Because of the exponential influence of temperature, that means that this heat wave is having a way worse influence on fire than it would in absence of human-caused warming.”
In the runaway consequences of each additional degree of warming, wildfires are a “canary in the coal mine” for the effects of climate change, Williams said.
And global warming is already having an effect on wildfire. In a paper published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Williams and Abatzoglou http://www.pnas.org/content/113/42/11770 found that the total area burned in the western United States over the past 33 years was double the size it would have been without any human-caused warming.

“The added forest fire area—due to just the degree and a half Celsius of warming—equaled the area of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined,” Williams told me.
Other researchers have arrived at similar conclusions. A paper published in Science last year found that “large wildfire activity increased suddenly and markedly in the mid-1980s, with higher large-wildfire frequency, longer wildfire durations, and longer wildfire seasons.” The mid-1980s is also when most scientists argue that the effects of global warming began to be broadly felt.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/09/why-is-2017-so-bad-for-wildfires-climate-change/539130/

But these are just experts speaking. You may have your own opinion, it just doesn't carry any weight.
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PostThu Aug 23, 2018 5:43 pm 
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It is still not odd to be this smoky when we have so many fires going.  I consider the fires to be normal due to the condition of the forests.  That's it, that's my conclusion.  Take it or leave it.

Plus, there are a heck of a lot of experts around who do not write papers, who have observed the conditions, some for generations.  But you've been told that before.  Not gonna argue with you on this topic. You seem to have no respect for anybody who has not written a paper for a PHD.

Drabble on....

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