Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > A letter from my friend Ray Kresek about fires around Chelan. Your thoughts?
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Scaler
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PostSun Aug 28, 2022 8:03 am 
Another place Ponderosa Pine occurs naturally in on Fort Lewis the military base between Olympia and Tacoma. Here is a link to a paper on that stand.http://w.southsoundprairies.org/tech/Poderosa%20Pine%20Restoration.pdf

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timberghost
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PostSun Aug 28, 2022 8:46 am 
I have seen a few reforestation areas on the west side done by Weyco where they have planted pine. It wasn't recent plantings.

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PostSun Aug 28, 2022 11:54 am 
After the South Canyon Fire, the Forest Service in particular decided they weren’t going to lose large groups of FF’s to fires anymore. Being the dominant fire organization this ethos has affected other fire organizations. The head of Fire for Olympic National Park says he made a poor decision to jump that fire in the upper Queets a number years ago, and that large areas of mid-slope forested areas throughout the Park lack any Safety Zones (think North Fork Quinault). Every wildland FF hired in the last twenty years has heard LCES* since the first day on job. If you’re not willing to risk young men and women to being burned over in big groups when there are no civilian lives at peril this means less aggressive fire suppression. They don’t really want to say it publicly but this is the reality. In twenty-five years since South Canyon most of their staff has turned over and accept current practice as the norm. I think the BIA and BLM have followed. WA DNR has their own history of multi-fatality fires. *Lookouts, Communications, Escape routes, Safety Zones. Basically accepts that many places on fire line, or moving to fire line are inherently susceptible burn over. So have someone able to see the terrain, able to pass on current information quickly, have preplanned and flagged exit paths to spaces crews can survive a blow up. Communications are a little more complicated, but mostly means that it’s normal that staffing is often made up of sub-groups that have never met before, and who’s in charge of who needs to be explicit, discussed in clear language, and understood by everyone.

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!
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Pyrites
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PostSun Aug 28, 2022 11:55 am 
timberghost wrote:
I have seen a few reforestation areas on the west side done by Weyco where they have planted pine. It wasn't recent plantings.
Neat. Western white pine?

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!
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timberghost
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PostSun Aug 28, 2022 1:17 pm 
I am not sure but believe it is western white pine. Some is on Harlan Ridge.

Pyrites
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Eric Willhite
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PostSun Aug 28, 2022 5:27 pm 
Pyrites wrote:
Neat. Western white pine?
When I was doing timber sales for the DNR in the Elbe area, we often had planted a few bags of White Pine with most units after clearcutting.

Pyrites
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treeswarper
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PostSun Aug 28, 2022 8:35 pm 
Western White Pine is a species that is more resistant to laminated root rot. There is quite a bit of white pine that was planted on the GPNF, mostly in the higher elevations, along with silver and noble firs. The Willamette pine grows at a low elevation. And, I'm thinking up in the Midway Meadows area, there is, or was, a stand of Ponderosa Pine that was planted back when you either planted Doug fir or Ponderosa Pine. It was pretty sad looking and wasn't doing too well.

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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 2:00 am 
I’ve seen a very few on S Point trail, right about at the top of the slope that experienced stand replacing fire in one of the two Cispus fires of the last century. That line on trail, W aspect, side of the mountain is pretty distinct to even a non-forester. Again I’ve seen a very few again as far W as Strawberry Mtn trail above PB’s land. A little embarrassing, but I’ve haven’t ever noticed them before seeing cones, then looking around.

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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 6:52 am 
Pyrites wrote:
After the South Canyon………..Every wildland FF hired in the last twenty years has heard LCES* since the first day on job. If you’re not willing to risk young men and women to being burned over in big groups when there are no civilian lives at peril this means less aggressive fire suppression. They don’t really want to say it publicly but this is the reality. In twenty-five years since South Canyon most of their staff has turned over and accept current practice as the norm. I think the BIA and BLM have followed.
LCES has been around for more like 35+ years. All the federal land management agencies have been on the same page for that long and the various State fire agencies followed soon afterward. All those agencies have been responding to new fires at a level appropriate to resources at risk - and more importantly - consistent with land management plans, for nearly 50 years. I was on one of the earliest such fires in NM in 1976 or ‘77. That effort got set back, somewhat, after the Yellowstone fires of 1988, but hasn’t changed in its basic principle.

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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 8:12 am 
Scaler wrote:
Another place Ponderosa Pine occurs naturally in on Fort Lewis the military base between Olympia and Tacoma. Here is a link to a paper on that stand.http://w.southsoundprairies.org/tech/Poderosa%20Pine%20Restoration.pdf
Thanks for sharing that. The ecosystem around Fort Lewis is so fascinating to me. It's so different than what people normally think Western WA and the Puget Sound low lands look like. The area doesn't get less rain or more sun than the rest of the South Sound. So I suppose the reason why Ponderosa Pines, Oregon White Oaks, and native grasses were able to thrive there was the glacial moraine soil that drains well combined with Native Americans using fire to broaden the scope of natural prairie lands. Driving around Lakewood you see Oregon White Oaks everywhere where as just a few miles north where I live in Tacoma you almost never see them. Same climate more or less.

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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 10:14 am 
I do wonder if the White Pine is blister rust resistant. I can't recall if it is or not. Or maybe blister rust has never erupted on the west side of the state? Hmmmm. Something to research. There was an effort to eradicate White Pine on the east side of the state in the 60s and early 70s because "It's just going to get blister rust and die."

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––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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Pyrites
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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 3:00 pm 
In the mid-70’s on the N side of Avery R.D. you could see whole watersheds of white pine that had been hand planted by the CCC in the 1910 Fires scar, with every one of those pine dead. New trees and brush were growing up underneath the sea of snags.

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!
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tinman
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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 4:26 pm 
The DNR planted some white pine on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula and many of them have blister rust. I planted 3 of them in the 90's in my yard in Forks and all 3 got blister rust even though I pruned them to help prevent it.

Wherever you go, there you are.......
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John Morrow
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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 7:09 pm 
It sure seems to me after watching them for 35 years in the east cascades, if a western white pine is lucky enough to have avoided the fungus causing the "blister rust" and has achieved old growth maturity, then it is only a matter of short time before it is infected and killed. I've seen beautiful giants looking very healthy. Then a few years later its all red needles carpeting the ground and bark falling off and death. Some I never noticed while alive and then saw the needle kill and looked up. East slopes closer to the crest you'll notice 30"+ DBH beautiful snags that keep their tops to the leader and are 100+feet tall standing dead for years. Most likely a western white. Lots of good info being discussed on the wildfire situation. I'm refraining but I will say that climate is not considered as strong an influence as it is. Not all forests have low intensity fire interval frequencies of 5 to 30 years like open pine/Doug east Cascade slopes between 2000 and 4000 ft. Most of the Pasayten forests are above 5K feet and in a fire interval more of a stand replacing fire regime of 50 to 150 years (thin bark, keep their branches (ladder fuel), short lived species: spruce, lodgepole, sub alpine fir, mtn hemlock). I'll argue historical fire suppression has had less of an effect in those timber types. They consist of shade tolerant more tightly spaced species. Not adapted for low intensity ground fire. So it is complex. It is false to argue the whole east slope landscape was "open and parklike" until Smokey and out by noon. There has always been mesic closed canopy grandfir slopes on shaded aspects above 3K feet on the east side of the cascades. Same knoll on the south slope would have been more open until fire suppression. Dougs and P-Pines (shade intolerant) also happen to rarely grow much above 5K at all. A mosaic. Thus the fire intensity was also a mosaic. Now add suppression, fuel moistures we didn't commonly see, drought durations I never remember even as late as 1990, a few extra degrees F, lowest ever RHs recorded regularly now, throw in the bad timing of dry lightning and a frontal wind event and...crown conflagration through all stands. Fighting fire at night was fun. Against a lower intensity black (one foot in...), cooler air, colorful and interesting. But you also don't notice every cat face burning out the base of a tree in a tight headlamp beam. Then it scares the living daylights out of you when it falls and the ground shakes and you say to yourself, "glad it came down in that direction!" Until one night it doesn't... Many more play it safe decisions are made today regarding night shifts, steep inaccessible terrain, lack of safety zones. With good reason. It is not just the fire and/or burn over hazard, but more the ankle sprains, heat exhaustion/stroke, rolling rocks (dislodged by burning or stabilizing material) pegging someone below in the face or chest, etc. etc. What's at risk (meaning human values) is considered: houses, infrastructure, public recreating. Remote places w/o those: why risk it? Note: state trust lands the timber is a commodity value at risk. For info: 10 rappellers dropped on Wolverine, followed by the Mt Baker Hotshots. They couldn't fight the fire and terrain enough to button it up small and were pulled. Those are the elite firefighters, and they truly are. Then a few weeks later...we know the history. In the climate of the 1980's would it have behaved different? Hard to argue fire suppression as the culprit if you look at any 50 year historical large fire map of the slopes on both sides of Lake Chelan.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” ― MLK Jr.

Lindsay, Malachai Constant
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John Morrow
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PostMon Aug 29, 2022 7:48 pm 
treeswarper wrote:
The old Randle Ranger District could send out 3 full 20 person crews in the 1980s.  Multiply that by the other districts Packwood, Wind River, etc. plus engineer centers.  If you worked in the field, you were fire crew fodder , even if your specialty was wildlife or recreation.  That is no longer the case.  Budget cutting and consolidation massively reduced employees.  Add this to the other bits--like road decommissioning, hotter dryer temps, overstocked stands, bugs etc.
Pyrites wrote:
*Lookouts, Communications, Escape routes, Safety Zones. Basically accepts that many places on fire line, or moving to fire line are inherently susceptible burn over. So have someone able to see the terrain, able to pass on current information quickly, have preplanned and flagged exit paths to spaces crews can survive a blow up. Communications are a little more complicated, but mostly means that it’s normal that staffing is often made up of sub-groups that have never met before, and who’s in charge of who needs to be explicit, discussed in clear language, and understood by everyone.
2 great points, but you see the contradiction? The Fire Organization is getting more and more separated from the natural resource employees that used to support Fire as additional resources but were not, themselves, primary firefighters. Trust, familiarity, experience, and cohesion are much more emphasized than additional boots on the ground. That and there's not a ranger district with 60 employees total as Treeswarper points out!

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” ― MLK Jr.
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Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > A letter from my friend Ray Kresek about fires around Chelan. Your thoughts?
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