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Ski
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PostWed Nov 28, 2018 9:05 am 
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Anne Elk wrote:
"...isn't necessarily going to stop these fires...."

Nothing is going to stop wildfires from occurring. Fires have been part of the ecosystem for millennia, and they will continue to be.
I have said many times on this site that it will get worse before it gets better, due to a number of different factors.

All we can do with our puny efforts is to try to minimize the severity of wildfire events, and pre-commercial and commercial thinning has inarguably proven to be one effective means of doing so.

Again, I'm not really concerned about Ryan Zinke or the nonsense he spews. He's a criminal, and as of January 21st he'll be under full-on Congressional investigations. Hopefully they'll have him tarred and feathered before they send him packing back to Montana.

As for Wuerthner's palaver, it's just more made-up nonsense to support an argument for doing nothing, which is the strategy of fools.

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PostWed Nov 28, 2018 9:13 am 
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RE: Anne Elk and jinx's boy's previous comments regarding idiotic remarks made by Zinke and Trump:

reality check

Fires in Southern California vs. fires in Eastern Washington = apples and kumquats.

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gb
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PostWed Nov 28, 2018 9:19 am 
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gb wrote:
the full quote:
gb wrote:
jinx'sboy wrote:
My comments about the quoted article would be lengthy.....I may post some later.  It is full of generalizations and inaccuracies.

And would lack any kind of significant knowledge or experience.

"It is full of generalizations and inaccuracies." What do you think the chances are that jinx's boy is more knowledgeable and better studied on the subject than Gabbert and the research paper he referenced in the article?

Answer "0"

I should apologize to jinx's boy. The comment above was kind of left hanging and hence appeared political rather than a genuine disagreement with Gabbert's article. But jinxs'boy has shown no such tendencies to display such behavior in the past and I have no quarrels with him as he has been helpful to me and genuine in other threads.

The Gabbert article referred to a 2010 paper that made an analysis of a good proportion of all papers and studies on related subjects. That is linked to in Gabbert's article.
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jinx'sboy
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PostWed Nov 28, 2018 10:20 am 
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gb ...Apology accepted.
I had been gone for a few days and just returned to this topic....and was a bit puzzled. Glad I didn’t post a snarky response.....

A couple brief observations/criticisms of Gabberts article.   In #3 he talks about how, in beetle killed stands, after needles fall, fire potential from crown fires is reduced.  I agree, however that is only part of the story.  As his own graphs show (or the ones he cites), both torching and surface fire potential continue to climb over time.  I think he is underestimating THAT threat and the resulting difficulty to control.

Secondly, the 2015 paper he cites further down, says that beetle killed stands are no more likely to burn.  I’ve not read that paper - although have read similar - and that conclusion may be true.  However, when those stands DO burn, they do so with increased intensity, which results in greater difficulty to control.  Fires of the last few years in the beetle killed stands in Colorado and Wyoming high country, which seldom burned in the past, are an example.

No disrespect to Gabbert.  I’ve followed him for a while.  His main topic is usually aviation related.  (my fire experience or qualification might not equal his, but it is pretty substantial, over 40 years in many different positions.)

I usually read papers on ‘fire’ with a grain of salt.  When the author is listed as a ‘fire scientist’ or ‘fire ecologist’, they may know little or nothing of firefighting.  They may be 100% correct in their assessment of fire effects etc, but that doesnt translate to a good working knowledge of fire behavior or fire control.  There are exceptions, of course....there are good firefighters who have gone on to fine academic and research careers.
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Anne Elk
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PostWed Nov 28, 2018 1:57 pm 
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From the article Ski posted as "Reality Check", author
Matthew Hurteau wrote:
Climate change is causing warmer temperatures, which dry out vegetation more. It is also causing winter precipitation to fall over a shorter period.

This is the pattern I've noticed developing here, too. We have our local micro-climates and the Olympic rainshadow of course, but for where I spend most of my time (King County), it's a pattern I've noticed: hotter and longer dry spells in the summer and in the winter, a few big gushers, then not much; instead of the steady. reliable "tinkling" that we could count on from mid/late October thru April.  We get too much rain at once, which just runs off in floods once the soil's saturated.  Our snow pack is consistently down.  You never saw the Olympics completely free of snow from the eastern view in Seattle during the summer until relatively recently. Summer weather didn't reliably arrive until after July 4th, or later.

I've gotten so curious about these impressions that I've begun pulling historical Sea-Tac weather data off a website to check. Anyone know a site that has a full year's data broken down onto one page? The site I'm using loads one month at a time (slowly).

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Ski
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PostWed Nov 28, 2018 2:34 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
You never saw the Olympics completely free of snow from the eastern view in Seattle during the summer until relatively recently.

And you never walked the short little stretch of trail up on that bench between (approx.) mile 4.5 and (approx.) mile 4.8 (just below Spruce Bottom) on the Queets without getting your shoes covered with mud - which was almost always ankle deep the entire breadth of the trail.
It's been all dry and hard-packed all season for well over a decade now.

But we're just two amateurs with only our little anecdotal real-life observations - the kind of stuff that's dismissed out of hand by so-called "experts" who have all the answers.

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gb
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PostWed Nov 28, 2018 7:01 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
From the article Ski posted as "Reality Check", author
Matthew Hurteau wrote:
Climate change is causing warmer temperatures, which dry out vegetation more. It is also causing winter precipitation to fall over a shorter period.

This is the pattern I've noticed developing here, too. We have our local micro-climates and the Olympic rainshadow of course, but for where I spend most of my time (King County), it's a pattern I've noticed: hotter and longer dry spells in the summer and in the winter, a few big gushers, then not much; instead of the steady. reliable "tinkling" that we could count on from mid/late October thru April.  We get too much rain at once, which just runs off in floods once the soil's saturated.  Our snow pack is consistently down.  You never saw the Olympics completely free of snow from the eastern view in Seattle during the summer until relatively recently. Summer weather didn't reliably arrive until after July 4th, or later.

I've gotten so curious about these impressions that I've begun pulling historical Sea-Tac weather data off a website to check. Anyone know a site that has a full year's data broken down onto one page? The site I'm using loads one month at a time (slowly).

Our snowpack in winter isn't consistently down particularly above 4000'. You can look at snowfall data for Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier and snowfall has been higher the last ten fifteen years than average but despite that the glaciers are suffering greatly, and increasingly, which points to the problem: the summers are warmer and drier and spring weather usually begins considerably sooner than it used to. I haven't seen any studies at this time but I suspect a bigger problem than warmer temperatures is the lack of cloud cover beginning as early as the 1st of May. That was never the case 30-40 years ago. Hence snowpack is subjected to sun which can melt as much as 8" of snow per day for a much longer period. The proof of the importance of increased sun readily shows up when one compares what is happening to the glaciers here versus the Canadian Rockies as a prime example. The Rockies have never gotten deep snowpacks but the summer weather used to be quite poor. Hence big glaciers that were at least reasonably stable. I used to prioritize trips to the Canadian Rockies in summer but most often could not find a viable weather window most years. Now one usually finds that the Rockies have stretches of several weeks with almost entirely sunny weather. And the Glaciers in the Rockies are retreating faster than those of the Cascades despite a more northern latitude and higher elevations.

Of course that sun tells the same story in forests. It melts snowpack and dries out vegetation. Further, when there are periods of fair weather in spring and summer, humidity is much lower under a ridge of high pressure and that essentially makes the forests kiln dried.
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Grannyhiker
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PostThu Nov 29, 2018 4:27 pm 
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Quote:
Again, I'm not really concerned about Ryan Zinke or the nonsense he spews. He's a criminal, and as of January 21st he'll be under full-on Congressional investigations.

Actually, the new Congress convenes January 3, giving us 18 days less to wait.    However, with the Senate more firmly in the President's party's hands, there's a limit to what the House can accomplish.   Given that, a Zinke replacement (in which the House has no say) may not be an improvement.

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treeswarper
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 8:31 am 
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What really riles me is someone will study the forest or brush in their backyard and "write a paper".  Somebody else, who is trying to learn about, say, fire behavior reads the paper and does not realize that the lands are diverse.  There are microsystems in those ecosystems.  Paradise is not similar to Packwood.  Head up into the forest and you'll find differences in species, moisture, wind, etc. on different slope aspects.  One Size Does Not Fit All.  Nor do two sizes.

And I'll say again, some thinning--mainly on the eastside and dry parts of the country is not meant to stop fires.  It is meant to make them more controllable and less destructive.

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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 11:06 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
And I'll say again, some thinning--mainly on the eastside and dry parts of the country is not meant to stop fires.  It is meant to make them more controllable and less destructive.

The real advantage of thinning is that at least in Washington (DNR) - but not British Columbia - is that thinning takes place mostly near roads and most fires are human caused. Provided that brush is also controlled that makes the chance of wildfire starts much lower. Example, the east side of the road along the Chiwawa River for several miles.
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Anne Elk
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 11:47 am 
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gb wrote:
I suspect a bigger problem than warmer temperatures is the lack of cloud cover beginning as early as the 1st of May.

That's a good point that I hadn't considered.  I wonder if there are weather stats for cloud cover?

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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 12:33 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
gb wrote:
I suspect a bigger problem than warmer temperatures is the lack of cloud cover beginning as early as the 1st of May.

That's a good point that I hadn't considered.  I wonder if there are weather stats for cloud cover?

There would be such weather stats, Ann, but very few would be relevant to mountain conditions, since west side lowland sites would often reflect onshore flow and low clouds and east side sites would be usually reflective of the fact that descending air in Eastern Washington eliminates much cloud cover. Aviation data (METARS) could be helpful. https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=sew&sid=kbli&num=60&banner=on

Thick onshore flow that can extend to 6000 or 8000' (and more) over the Cascades is relevant, but often onshore flow is just a relatively low level inversion.

So, you need to obtain mountain data on sky conditions and I'm sure that does not exist in most locations. There might be such data at Rogers Pass in Canada, from a long term study of the Peyto Glacier in the Canadian Rockies or perhaps from Glacier National Park. Otherwise, ski area and highway sites usually collect snowfall, precipitation, temperature, wind, and sometimes humidity. Humidity could be a crude approximation of sky cover in some situations, but not in others.
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PostSat Dec 01, 2018 6:31 pm 
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I’d go right to snow pack, and the Snotel site data. One I look at Pigtail Peak, a few miles S of White Pass, goes from losing a 1/2” of water equivalent up to 1” per day. The cause might be direct sunlight but snowmelt is a good indicator.
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PostSun Dec 02, 2018 6:59 am 
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Although I said that snowfall records at Mt. Baker and Paradise don't show a decrease in snowfall and that I believe that represents snowpack above 4000', that is really only true above 4000' or so. I know I have been unable to ski certain runs that end around 2500 to 2700' for perhaps the last decade although I used to ski them many years before that.

Additionally, thus far, I don't believe snowpack east of the Cascades has been as substantial compared to twenty or more years ago and I'd bet it melts off earlier which is more relevant for the wildfires we've been seeing along the Cascades east slopes.

This graph of Mission Ridge snowpack water content seems to support that conclusion. You especially see it in that since about 2000 there are more years that have less than 20" of water equivalent. The graph since the 1970's seems to show a slight downward trend in snowpack water.

https://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/snow/snowplot.cgi?MSRQ2

Edit: Wrong Mission Ridge, this in BC

Here is a list of all snotel sites which seem to show on many (most are above 5000') an increase in SWE but also more scatter - more high and low years away from the mean.

https://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/snow/snowlist.cgi
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PostSun Dec 02, 2018 12:58 pm 
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Global warming has increased the height of the rain/snow line by about 300 vertical feet(and increasing).  This isnt going to effect the snowpack much in areas that are often above the freezing level but at lower, more marginal elevations, snowmass is decreasing a bit as precip falls more often as rain vs snow AND it was already near the lower snow limit, now running off immediately instead of joining the snowpack.  Decreased skiiability in the 2000-3000 foot range here is consistent with this.
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