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2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Discussion related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby maverick » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:10 am

SEKI dropped down to Stage 1 fire restrictions Sept 9.
http://www.nps.gov/seki/naturescience/f ... ctions.htm
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org



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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:29 pm

It has been two days since I poured over the fire maps, and it is just more of the same. There is a slow but steady creep forward in many areas frequented by backpackers in NW Yosemite.

1. KIBBIE RIDGE. This does not seem to have advanced much more than last report. The fire on the west side of Cherry Lake, however, has just about joined up with this northern tongue, stopped only by the granite of Cherry Creek canyon. Cherry Lake will likely be 100% burned to the waterline before this is done.

2. KIBBIE SOUTH. The fire still doesn't seem to be coming downhill to the waterline of Kibbie, but it keeps expanding to the east and south. It is in the process of merging with the Eleanor tongue to leave a solid burn zone across the whole region more than five miles square. My guess is that it will burn as far as the pond SW of Flora, where it will hit granite and stop.

3. ELEANOR/KENDRICK. Seems to be spreading east about 1/3 a mile a day, staying north of the Eleanor canyon and merging with the Kibbie South tongue. It is a little more than half a mile from Bartlett Creek now, but may run out of fuel.

4. LAUREL LAKE/BEEHIVE. The fire crossed Frog Creek over a wide swatch but stalled south of Laurel Lake and south of Beehive when it hit a grassy burn zone. However, it kept expanding east towards Falls Creek and now has reached areas with plenty of fuel that could lead it north again.

5. HH This is terribly depressing. The fire perimeter shows that the fire finished off the switchbacks and burned through the delightful mixed oak forest all the way to the waterline at Hetch Hetchy. It looks like it will burn to the northern end of the tunnel now.
IMGP1212.jpg
Mixed forest near the Hetchy Hetchy switchbacks now inside the burn zone

IMGP1210.jpg
Forest just north of the Hetch Hetchy tunnel that may burn tomorrow.

6. HARDAN LAKE/WHITE WOLF/TIOGA ROAD. It looks like the stopped it with no new expansion here.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby markskor » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:16 am

Tioga Pass Road (Hwy 120 east) across Yosemite National Park to Tuolumne Meadows and Lee Vining (Hwy 395) opened at noon today. For safety visitors are not permitted to stop along the road adjacent to the fire perimeter....9/14
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:26 am

Why do I keep staring at the fire map? Long after the media has completely given up on reporting this fire one might think that the thing is nearly out. But the fire just keeps creeping along and burning up more and more trails.

After weeks of burning on top of the ridge S of Kibbie, the fire has finally started to descend towards Kibbie. It reminds me of John Kerry's line "who wants to be the last man to die in Vietnam?" How ironic if the last thing this fire does is to completely wreck a favorite backpacking destination. In any case, it has burned down about 500 feet in elevation but would have another 1000 to go to get to shoreline. What worries me is that it sat on top of that ridge without moving for weeks, but something seems to have changed.

All the various tongues are now burning together and backfilling what little they left behind. The fire has gotten as far north as Flora Lake now but is due west of it. It has burned to Bartlett Creek.

On the north shore of Hetchy Hetchy things are getting ugly. The fire has now nearly completely descended the canyon to the trail as far as Tueeulala Falls and has burned all the way to Falls Creek and Wapama Falls on the rim. Still no sign of it moving north to Laurel or Beehive.

Basically, when this fire is done, we will be lucky if most of our destinations are intact, but ALL hikes in NW Yosemite will have much longer, more boring, ugly treks through burn zones on pretty much every approach. I already hated the burn zones that were left from previous fires. Now the approaches will be uniformly hate worthy.
Last edited by kpeter on Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby wildhiker » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:45 am

To everyone bemoaning the scenic loss from the Rim Fire, here is a very interesting article about the long-term beneficial ecological effects - the silver lining, so to speak.
-Phil

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 0330396668
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:07 pm

wildhiker wrote:To everyone bemoaning the scenic loss from the Rim Fire, here is a very interesting article about the long-term beneficial ecological effects - the silver lining, so to speak.
-Phil

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 0330396668

Thank you for that, it is an interesting article, and well worth reading. My brother's work is in the Pacific Northwest, not the SIerra, so it is nice to hear from someone with a similar background but who does research here. I am particularly interested in the low incidence of snag forests, although my guess is that is about to dramatically change.

I guess if I could ask Chad Hanson a question, I would want to know whether the fire regimes he discusses are prior to human habitation--and if they are, how the data was collected.

And yet, in my heart I think I have always known that some of my reaction to fires like this is personal and selfish. The chief problem is that the cycle of fire ecology operates on a much different time frame than human life. Even if I am persuaded that the Rim Fire is beneficial when considered in the time span of centuries, that doesn't mean it is beneficial in my personal time span of a few more short years.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby Sebastian_A_K » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:11 am

Has anyone been to the dusy basin/palisades area and/or knows if there's smoke from the fire in Simpson meadow? Thx.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby caddis » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:27 am

wildhiker wrote:To everyone bemoaning the scenic loss from the Rim Fire, here is a very interesting article about the long-term beneficial ecological effects - the silver lining, so to speak.
-Phil

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... 0330396668

from the article: :Contrary to common myths, even when forest fires burn hottest, only a tiny proportion of the aboveground biomass is actually consumed (typically less than 3 percent")

From the Bee this morning: "The fire has consumed about 400 square miles, and within that footprint are a solid 60 square miles that burned so intensely that everything is dead, researchers said.

In total, Miller estimates that almost 40 percent of the area inside the fire's boundary is nothing but charred land


Biologists who have mapped and studied the ages and scarring of trees throughout the mountain range have been able to determine the severity and size of fires that occurred historically.

Miller says a fire has not left such a contiguous moonscape since before the Little Ice Age, which began in 1350.


Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/09/18/350 ... rylink=cpy
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby rlown » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:23 am

well. even Mt. St Helens recovered quickly by some standards; there is hope.

This kind of reminds me of seeing gill nets in my favorite lakes. Both caused by man, but some of us will never see the areas we like restored in our lifetime.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby zorobabel » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:52 pm

The rim fire is no longer on the firedetect map, hopefully it's out.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:42 pm

zorobabel wrote:The rim fire is no longer on the firedetect map, hopefully it's out.

Sadly the fire is not out, and continues to burn, especially in the Kibbie/Flora/Eleanor axis. They are just going to let it burn itself out in the wilderness, so I imagine it will continue to spread very slowly until the first rains/snow. I hope the rain comes early this year.

You can still track the perimeter and the hot spots here:

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/fires/2 ... e_map.html

The fire is very gradually consuming all the forest SE of Kibbie and W of Flora and is now beginning to burn downhill through treeless brush toward Flora. The large pond 1/3 mile WSW of Flora, which was a landmark on the Flora/Kibbie route, is just today in flames. THere are several brand new hotspots in this region of the fire.

As far as Kibbie is concerned, the tops of all the ridges E and SE of Kibbie are in flames--you could certainly see the fire if you were at the customary camp sites on the W shore. The only question now is whether flaming debris will fall down those hillsides and ignite fires that burn to the waterline, or whether the immediate E shore of Kibbie escapes.

Further south, the fire has burned all the way to the NW shore of Eleanor Creek from the reservoir several miles up to the Kendrick Creek branch. It has also burned all the way to the Bartlett Creek branch. The question is now whether it will cross Bartlett Creek and go up the drainage that leads to Spotted Fawn, and whether it will cross Eleanor and go up Kendrick Creek toward Kendrick Lakes and Edyth. It is going very, very slowly, but it does not matter how slowly it is spreading if it has forever.

In the Hetch Hetchy area the fire actually crossed Falls Creek right above Wapama Falls, and continues to creep along in vicinity of Falls Creek. I don't see new hot spots today, though, so perhaps that area is slowing down.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:56 pm

The most encouraging part of the story Caddis pointed to is this:

The Rim Fire has burned 77,000 acres in wilderness areas in the northeast corner of Yosemite, but only 7 percent of that area was considered high intensity that would result in tree mortality, said Chris Holbeck, a resource biologist for the National Park Service.

"It really burned here much like a prescribed fire would to a large degree because of land management practices," Holbeck said.

Hopefully, much of the damage in the Kibbie/Flora/Eleanor region will not be severe, and perhaps many of the trees will survive. It might be worth a pack trip next June to see!
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