Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

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kepPNW
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by kepPNW » September 14th, 2020, 11:07 am

justpeachy wrote:
September 13th, 2020, 4:51 pm
retired jerry wrote:
September 13th, 2020, 3:33 pm
When I'm in wild areas away from trailhead I see very little trash, people are mostly pretty well behaved.
Interesting; that hasn't been my experience at all. I find just as much bad behavior in the backcountry as I do along roads, campgrounds, etc. It's just a different kind of bad behavior. (Except for the having-a-fire-when-they're-not-allowed thing. That is a universal bad behavior that I find everywhere.)
Anecdotal concurrence with Jerry. At least 95% of the problems I see (probably 99% of the trash) are within a mile, maybe two, of a trailhead. The firerings are, by far, the most disconcerting, yeah. :(
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retired jerry
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by retired jerry » September 14th, 2020, 12:00 pm

I do a lot of camping in the wilderness. When I get to a campsite I always pick up any trash I see.

Usually I'll find a couple bits, like the corner of a wrapper or a rubber band.

Occasionally, I'll see some broken glass or rusty metal in a fire pit. I usually just ignore those, too much of a hassle and I don't want broken glass in my pack. Sometimes I'll toss rusty metal into the bushes - it'll rust after a while and as long as no one sees it, it doesn't matter. I would never bring anything in and leave it though.

On the beach of the Olympic Peninsula - huge amount of trash. I don't even try to do anything about it. Partly, people less familiar with LNT go there? A lot of stuff washes in in the tide.

I don't take data and calculate statistical measures, so it's anecdotal :)

Next to the road? - people are not familiar with LNT. They can bring in lots of trash. I just ignore it. A lot of time I'll drive to a trailhead and camp out somewhere nearby the first night.

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Greendrake
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by Greendrake » September 15th, 2020, 6:49 pm

Yeah the weather event was unusual and
similar to the weather behind The Great Fire of 1910 in Idaho and Montana which burned 3 million acres.

Here’s a excellent thread on Forest Management:

https://twitter.com/erineaross/status/1 ... 44770?s=21

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retired jerry
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by retired jerry » September 16th, 2020, 6:02 am

I've read about that 1910 Idaho fire. That was so bad that it influenced fire fighting since then - immediately put out all fires.

In this recent example, I can see why there's an overwhelming urge to put out all fires. You can't just let fires go because it's natural.

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kepPNW
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by kepPNW » September 16th, 2020, 9:39 am

retired jerry wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 6:02 am
In this recent example, I can see why there's an overwhelming urge to put out all fires.
You can't just let fires go because it's natural.
You must see the lack of any connection between these two statements, no?

The events of the last week+ are decidedly unnatural.

People need to understand that what happened was entirely foreseeable as a direct result of human actions that set the stage so perfectly for "nature" to take the blame.
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rubiks
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by rubiks » September 16th, 2020, 10:52 am

kepPNW wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 9:39 am
People need to understand that what happened was entirely foreseeable as a direct result of human actions that set the stage so perfectly for "nature" to take the blame.
The million dollar question is how do we propagate that understanding to a critical mass of citizens and policymakers? I wish I knew the answer.
You know exactly what to do.
There's no need to be afraid.
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Charley
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by Charley » September 16th, 2020, 11:21 am

I've been reading excerpts from a book titled Forest Dreams, Forest Nightmares, by Nancy Langston https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/522 ... Nightmares

This may or may not be thread drift, but since much of western Oregon is living in a forest nightmare, I thought it might be of interest.

She writes about the complexity of wildfire's effect on the Blue Mountain forests in such a way that one can get a sense that this is an almost unmanageably complex, inter-related system. As in, to some degree, we're not going to be able to predict and manage the forests in terms of fuel load, preferred species of trees and other plants, and wildfire. There are almost too many variables to control in making a management plan.

For example, if there are regular light fires (not the truly devastating fires), there is more sunlight hitting the forest floor, and plant roots dig deeper in the soil, because the forest floor is warmer and dryer. If fire is suppressed for a period of time, litter on the forest floor builds up, which cools the soil and allows it to retain moisture. Given that new source of easy water, the plants grow more roots closer to the surface. Then, when a fire eventually does come, even a light fire, their roots are damaged by the fire. She explains that big old ponderosas can die in this circumstance, even though those trees are supposed to be quite fire resistant.

In another example, the Douglas Firs in the western Cascades behaved very differently from those in the Blues- they're a different subspecies, and while the coastal trees benefited from fire because it helped their seeds germinate and it cleared out densely shading coastal tree competitors, the inland trees' seeds didn't need the fire-cleared soil and had no trouble growing up in the partial shade of spaced out ponderosa trees. So when it came to managing the Blues, many wrong assumptions held about the very species in question.

Also, though it has become common place to talk about the "natural" nature of fire in the Northwest, she points out that the fire regime witnessed by early European colonizers was a product of First Peoples' long and active tradition of setting fires to clear land and improve hunting and gathering conditions. Lots of those fires were light and contained, but sometimes those fires got completely out of control and destroyed large areas of forest.

Finally, she points out that the amazing forests Europeans witnessed (parklike stands of huge ponderosa in particular) only grew in the last several thousand years. In evolutionary terms, these forest were brand new, and the plants there had not co-evolved. Because western science first observed these forests in what was possibly a transitional moment, trying to revert back to some historical example might not even be a sensible goal.

Given the complexity of the fire ecology, it's no wonder the Forest Service (which actually did a lot of serious, well-intentioned research on the subject) just decided not to allow fires at all.

Which unfortunately leaves us here. Whether or not fire is good for the USDA's management goals for that forest, or "good" for the forests ecologically, where we are now is that there are a lot of dense forests out there with lots of fuel, in an age of warmer average temperatures. The forests are beautiful and dangerous.

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BurnsideBob
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by BurnsideBob » September 16th, 2020, 11:43 am

A most excellent post, Charley. Thanks for introducing us to Nancy Langston.


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retired jerry
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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by retired jerry » September 16th, 2020, 12:30 pm

Maybe I didn't say that clearly Kep :)

It's natural to have fires. The trees burn, but then the forest recovers. The forest is more healthy for it.

But when a fire comes, people are not able to just say it's natural, just let it burn. There is an overwhelming urge to put out fires. The fires are burning our houses.

It's going to be difficult to recover from the overgrown forest condition.

It's not just stupid forest managers that could easily fix this.

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Re: Leaders Failing to Prevent/Mitigate Fires

Post by Aimless » September 16th, 2020, 12:34 pm

I am convinced that forest ecology is unmanageably complex, especially if the purpose of that management is to allow humans to derive a steady flow of maximum human benefit every year, while maintaining wildlife diversity, watershed health, recreational opportunities, and the myriad of other goals that our land management agencies are asked to pursue. It seems possible to do more good by managing human behavior, addressing the wastefulness of our consumer economy, and reducing the vastly increased demands we have placed on forests in the past 120 years.

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