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treeswarper
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 1:57 pm 
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I forgot my camera..

Yesterday, we were up riding bikes between Bonaparte and Lost Lakes.  That area has not burned since the Boy Scout Fire, which I think was in the 1960s.  It's been entered for timber harvest multiple times and what with the cows munching away, it looks pretty good.  A wind did come through in July so there is quite a bit of blowdown.  After the fire danger goes down, the firewooders will cut up the blowdown.

That area is one of the few that hasn't burned up yet.  Keep finger crossed, knock on wood, throw rocks at smoke...

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DigitalJanitor
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 1:58 pm 
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Ski wrote:
Practices today are nothing like they were in the 70s and 80s

Thank goodness. Some of it wasn't terrible, but surely enough was.

There's been some winter logging activity up in the north fork Teanaway and like you I've wondered where the heck they're hauling it to. It's an interesting twist to see them out there in the snow and ice working away on it, but I suppose it's easier on soils. And obviously no worries of catching everything on fire.

Really really REALLY hoping the initial planning for the Taneum results in some thinning and burning soon. Looks like budworms have been having a good time in there, and a lot of thick jackpot and doghair in some stands. If we don't sort it one lightning strike will.

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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 10:28 pm 
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DigitalJanitor wrote:
Ski wrote:
Practices today are nothing like they were in the 70s and 80s

Thank goodness. Some of it wasn't terrible, but surely enough was.

I keep thinking about this in reference to the fact that every logging access road around Boulder River and GP wilderness areas seems to be going back to nature. Having pushed my way through the alder jungle of the Sonny Boy road to to the namesake creek where a once-sturdy logging bridge crossed the creek, I found it engulfed by brush and trees and the rot of forty(?) years. My point being that they seem to have logged right to the creekside. Doesn't current NF logging require a setback from the creekside? What are other regulations? Are the size of clearcuts simply regulated by the size of the timber sale? I didn't find a condensed answer on the interweb.

Also, looking ahead to fire behavior, if there is a creekside setback, this would eventually create a visually interesting old growth band along the creeks (which is similar to the natural result in some forest regimes, I think) with strikingly smaller trees (or raw clear cuts) adjacent. This would likely have some impact on fire management of working forests, for example, perhaps accentuating the natural firebreak of a soggy draw.
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 11:24 pm 
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I have no idea where Boulder River and GP Wilderness are.

There are no simplistic answers to complex questions.

Yes, former forestry practices allowed them to cut right down to the water's edge.
Current forest management regulations do not allow cutting that close to water, and have not for some time. Riparian zone management practices vary depending upon type of stream (Class I, II, III, IV, etc.), slope gradient, and some other factors.

(That said, I've submitted comments to GPNF urging them to do commercial and pre-commercial thinning right down next to the water on a couple projects because the objective was to create "old growth" characteristics in over-crowded streamside units that had been replanted a few decades ago. I'm not sure whether they actually did that - the project involved some in-stream work involving placement of LWD (large woody debris) man-made structures in the stream channel, and logically removing entire trees from the riparian zone immediately adjacent to the channel would have been the most expedient and cost-effective means of doing so. Kevin (the silviculturalist) up at Randle might be able to tell you exactly what they ultimately did.)

There are a multitude of regulations regarding forest management and timber harvesting - it all has to go through the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process, and it's all subject to review and open for public comment.

The size of "clearcuts" (regeneration harvesting) are determined by the silviculturalist, who has to comply with "best management practices" and a plethora or rules and regulations, and one of many determining factors is "is it cost effective?"
The last project proposal I saw out of Randle involving any regen units was cut way back for a number of reasons - slope gradient being one, because the wood would have had to be extracted by helicopter, which made it a deal killer. As a result, the "clearcuts" that both treeswarper and I had hoped for (to restore huckleberry habitat) didn't happen.

There is no "condensed" answer to any of your questions, unfortunately. It's all actually quite complicated, and involves everything from soup to nuts - they have to go out and conduct "survey and manage" studies to make sure they don't kill any endangered snails or three-toed spotted salamanders. Sometimes it seems a bit nutty, but rules is rules.

Streams don't always provide fire breaks. There are variables involved. Some riparian areas will burn, others will remain undisturbed.
Virtually the entire Cispus watershed went up in flames in a succession of fire events over the course of the last few centuries, the last big events occurring shortly after the turn of the 20th century - one in 1902 and one (if I recall correctly) shortly after WWI (1919?)(treeswarper help me out here.)
The events were driven by winds coming over the mountains from the east, pushing the fires up and down the valleys and ridges in the Cispus watershed.
Interestingly, one drainage, Yellowjacket Creek, which has a north-south orientation, was spared the ravages of the fire. The lower end of the creek has small incontiguous patches of some fabulous ancient Noble Fir specimens. (I believe it's the #29 road, but I am not able to find it with Google maps right now.)

Another example of "streams don't always provide fire breaks" was a fire event that occurred on the lower Queets over a century ago, when to escape the firestorm one mother grabbed all of her children and took them all to an island in the middle of the river and waited out the fire. (see River by the Sea - an Ethnohistory of the Queets River Valley ゥ 2014 Jacilee Wray - NPS) (I think it was Mrs. Streater - it's late and my memory is fuzzy right now.)

Short version:
There's nothing simple about forest management and timber harvesting. It's complicated and confusing. I've spent about 30 years talking with the people who do it for a living and I'm still completely clueless. Sometimes I think  some of them are as well.

Again, it's important to remember not to confuse management practices used by different agencies and private land holders. As I mentioned above, they have different management objectives and in some cases somewhat different rules they have to follow. There's no "one size fits all" policy or objective.

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treeswarper
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 5:10 am 
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I cannot remember the years of Cispus Burns.  There are still a few old survivors on the hillsides here and there. 


Logging on edges of streams?  Nope.  Not going to happen.  There is a complicated formula just to get near a stream on NF land.  It has to do with the height of the healthiest site tree.

I'll see if I remember that now.  There are a couple of zones near streams.  Adjacent to the water, trees cannot be cut for some sort of distance and I seem to recall using 300 feet.  Then there is another zone where trees can be selectively cut, but no equipment is allowed in.  Loggers have to helicopter, use a yarder, or pull line to get trees out.  That makes it extremely important to have good timber fallers who will gun the trees to the edge of the NO equipment allowed zone.  Fewer trees are cut in that area and I'm thinking there are actually 3 zones along streams.  But no removal is allowed alongside creeks. 

Funny about streams as fire breaks, or not.  In the dryer forests in Northern CA, streams are almost like good chimneys as so much vegetation is left to burn (not thinned or treated) along streams.  Our Western Warshington creeks are a lot wetter so that is not a problem here. 


I'm also thinking the state has easier rules to follow for harvesting along streams, but they regulate that pretty well.  I've watched a friend make a harvest plan for their private property and they too, have to have specialists out on the ground to look at things. 

It takes at least a year to plan and get a timber sale going on FS land.   Most take longer due to all the analysis required by NEPA and the Northwest Forest Plan.  That's also if there are no legal challenges to the project. 

NPR ran a story on fire and logging last night.  It was based around Redding, CA and foresters for the FS and Sierra Pacific both agreed that the roadblock right now to do any fire mitigation work is........The Budget.  Meanwhile, the smoke is drifting back into the Okanogan Valley.  We're up to Moderate air quality, from the goodness of the last 4 days. 

NPR Story

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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 6:14 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
Malachai Constant wrote:
You have to be aspecial sort of stupid to deny the climate is changing and the fires are one result.

Nope, it is wrong to claim that climate change is THE cause of all forest fires.  It 'taint so.  Otherwise, we'd never have had fires in the past.  The fire dependent species would not exist.

This is a very dishonest post in an attempt to score points. No one said, nor did this original paper in any way say that Climate Change is the "cause of all forest fires". The data doesn't support that it supports fires being larger and possibly more intense during periods of drought, exacerbated at present by temperatures that are warmer than any during the length of the study.
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treeswarper
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 7:41 am 
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A Fire in 1910

I wonder what was going on across the border at this time?  I'm betting that just as much smoke was put out then as now, but they didn't have air quality monitors at that time.

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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 7:59 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
Logging on edges of streams?  Nope.  Not going to happen.  There is a complicated formula just to get near a stream on NF land.  It has to do with the height of the healthiest site tree.

I'll see if I remember that now.  There are a couple of zones near streams.  Adjacent to the water, trees cannot be cut for some sort of distance and I seem to recall using 300 feet.  Then there is another zone where trees can be selectively cut, but no equipment is allowed in.  Loggers have to helicopter, use a yarder, or pull line to get trees out.  That makes it extremely important to have good timber fallers who will gun the trees to the edge of the NO equipment allowed zone.  Fewer trees are cut in that area and I'm thinking there are actually 3 zones along streams.  But no removal is allowed alongside creeks.

^ This is one of those questions to which I'm not sure you're going to find a definitive answer unless you talk to the silviculturalist or project lead on a given project, and even then (unless I'm mistaken) it may vary from one project to another.
I remember quite a while back they were establishing as a buffer "two tree lengths", based on the height of the tallest specimen in that particular unit.

The project I was referring to above (where the proposal was to work within a few units that were immediately adjacent to water) was along the mainline Cispus, not tributaries, and as I recall treeswarper's correct there - they could have cut, but they couldn't work with heavy equipment that close to the stream.
One of the issues on that one was the cost involved removing entire trees with rootwads intact so they could be used as key pieces in man-made log structures for in-stream work. Apparently it's not something the loggers are fond of doing because it's time consuming, labor intensive, and hardly profitable.
The consequence of that is the large pieces have to be hauled in to the project site, sometimes from some distance away.
All that's somewhat tangential to FiresideChats' question above, of course.

If you work your way up and down the mainline Cispus you'll find units that were cut decades ago and replanted that would greatly benefit from being thinned, and that's especially true if the desired long-term objective is to re-create "old growth" characteristics.
The hurdle to overcome there is working within the parameters of the established regulations.

Pure speculation on my part, but I seriously doubt the Cispus is the only watershed where those types of conditions exist: old clearcuts that were replanted decades ago which are now over-crowded stands of puny specimens under which there's not a heck of a lot of "biological diversity".

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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 8:17 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
I'm betting that just as much smoke was put out then as now, but they didn't have air quality monitors at that time.

Wikipedia, in the entry for The Great Fire of 1910  wrote:

Smoke from the fire was said to have been seen as far east as Watertown, New York, and as far south as Denver, Colorado. It was reported that at night, five hundred miles (800 km) out into the Pacific Ocean, ships could not navigate by the stars because the sky was cloudy with smoke.

... and that's just one incident that happened to be recorded because there were white people on this continent. A century prior to that, the only white people who'd been on the west coast were Lewis and Clark.

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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 10:18 am 
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Ski wrote:
treeswarper wrote:
I'm betting that just as much smoke was put out then as now, but they didn't have air quality monitors at that time.

Wikipedia, in the entry for The Great Fire of 1910  wrote:

Smoke from the fire was said to have been seen as far east as Watertown, New York, and as far south as Denver, Colorado. It was reported that at night, five hundred miles (800 km) out into the Pacific Ocean, ships could not navigate by the stars because the sky was cloudy with smoke.

... and that's just one incident that happened to be recorded because there were white people on this continent. A century prior to that, the only white people who'd been on the west coast were Lewis and Clark.

Oh you mean similar to right now on the HRRR smoke forecast. https://rapidrefresh.noaa.gov/hrrr/HRRRsmoke/displayMapLocalDiskDateDomainZipTZA.cgi?keys=hrrr_smoke:&runtime=2018083012&plot_type=trc1_int&fcst=15&time_inc=60&num_times=37&model=hrrr&ptitle=HRRR-Smoke%20Model%20Fields%20-%20Experimental&maxFcstLen=36&fcstStrLen=-1&domain=full&adtfn=1

And this after the BC and Washington fires have slowed thanks to a decrease in temperatures and bits of rain, and the greater containment of the Northern California fires. It was far more widespread across much of the US and Canada 7-10 days ago.
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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 11:01 am 
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there's no shortage of "experimental models", is there?

http://firesmoke.ca/forecasts/BSC18CA12/current/

and just no substitute for eyewitness documentation, anecdotal or otherwise.

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PostThu Aug 30, 2018 1:10 pm 
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Ski wrote:
there's no shortage of "experimental models", is there?

http://firesmoke.ca/forecasts/BSC18CA12/current/

and just no substitute for eyewitness documentation, anecdotal or otherwise.

This has to be a really difficult model to create. First, you have to know how intense the fire is going to be at any point in time and then what particulates might be lifted to what elevation and then be able to accurately forecast the winds at relevant elevations.

Just started using Windy.com which is clearly interpolated for animation and have had very good results. I just need to know where the intense fires are, make a rough guess of smoke elevation, and then project the origin of the wind re:smoke. I would think ordinarily one would look at 5000 to 7000 foot elevation winds. For simplicity I just look at 5000' making the assumption that 7000' winds will be similar. Windy told me two days ago that the wind would shift onshore at 9pm Tuesday and would be onshore nicely by Wednesday. The fly in the ointment was how long it would take to move through smoke that had spread over the area to the west (which is a bit of an unknown with ridiculous calculations). I guessed I didn't need to hurry to get to Green Mountain but knew the front would pass, increasing southwest winds in the early/mid morning. I got there maybe around 9:30am and there was considerable smoky haze. Within two hours it was pretty clear except down in the valleys. This is pretty much what the models try to do and I look at the Canada smoke forecast to re-inforce my opinion.

Planning to deal with smoke is a brand new thing for me, but I find looking at Windy.com gives me pretty good accuracy. I knew four days ago that Tuesday would be smoky, I didn't know that Monday would be so good because, I guess, the smoke was diminished by Monday's rain.

Try it. Windy.com works up to the limit of the ability of forecast models to project forward - this accuracy varies with the meteorological situation.
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treeswarper
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PostFri Aug 31, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Ski, here's how they did the logs in river on private land.  I worked with this logger and he is a good 'un.  Does what you want, if possible and takes pride in his work.

Gene White

And yes, the formula for the distance from the high bank of a stream varies according to site (tree height in area) on FS land.

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PostFri Aug 31, 2018 6:43 pm 
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Fascinating. That's the Ellsworth Unit, managed by The Nature Conservancy, near Long Island.
Really quite a different approach insofar as management objectives; they will continue to do timber harvesting and at the same time preserve the small incontiguous patches of "old growth" while managing the remaining second-growth to ultimately achieve "old growth" characteristics, and they're doing it on their own dime.
I wasn't aware they were working on placement of man-made log structures or doing in-stream work down there.

Thanks for the link. up.gif

Was thinking about possibly going down there to Long Island again - not sure if my boat will still hold air after my last venture down there.

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treeswarper
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PostFri Aug 31, 2018 8:27 pm 
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GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Gene White's guys logging above the 23 road in a thinning.  2010?

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