Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

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balzaccom
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by balzaccom » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:31 am

Good post, Dave. I remember years ago, a friend of mine who was a Catholic priest used to say: "There are no simple answers to complex questions!"


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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by dave54 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:52 pm

Here is one historic photo illustration of the problem.

https://www.firelab.org/project/century ... ine-forest

In numerous surveys, members of the lay public were shown photos like these undated and with no caption or information. Most people prefered the later pictures over the older, citing 'it looks more natural' or is 'more forest-like'.

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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by rlown » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:04 pm

Some locally believe it is secret lasers.. :derp: Umm, continue to a bad forestry mgmt discussion. :)

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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by mrphil » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:42 am

rlown wrote:Some locally believe it is secret lasers.. :derp: Umm, continue to a bad forestry mgmt discussion. :)
I'm up in Healdsburg. I watched about an hour of videos on that. It was ....interesting. High energy microwave bursts from drones or something like that. The other thing I heard was that the footprint of the globalist's planned Agenda 21 relocations of the 1% was a perfect overlay for Fountaingrove....and since there was no SMART station planned for Coffee Park...well, who knows????

But, back to relevant, is the idea of wildland-urban interface being a factor was very much at play up there. Perfect example. The thing that gets me is, the City of Santa Rosa was warned that that was a high risk area before they allowed it to be developed, and they still did. Greed! They had the 1964 Hanley Fire as their model, which originated in almost the same spot out in Calistoga, burned the exact same pattern, and actually moved even further down toward Chanate Rd. And Santa Rosa wants to sue PG&E, but thinks they should skate themselves?

The really weird thing to me was, my girlfriend lives down in Rincon Valley. I've been over that hill hundreds of times, but for some reason, the night before the fires started, I had this moment where I looked around and it hit me, these guys are really screwed if there's a fire. And I won't even go into my thoughts on a brand new $5 mil fire station being built at the top of a hill...in a high-risk fire area. Ah, politics.

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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by rightstar76 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:45 am

Dave, thanks for sharing that link. Professor Scott Stephens at UC Berkeley published an article about this problem at the beginning of the year:

https://nature.berkeley.edu/stephenslab ... fire-risk/

From the Conclusions section of the article:
Many of our FF forests have failed to receive the very management that could increase resilience to disturbances exacerbated by climate change, such as the application of prescribed fire and mechanical restoration treatments (Stephens et al. 2016).
In my opinion, prescription burns and logging/thinning need to be done like yesterday. However, with climate change being a political football, it's unlikely much of that will happen. The finger pointing will continue and the fires will keep burning.

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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by tarbuckle » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:29 am

These prints really illustrate the encroachment of our forest over the past 150 yrs. I'm sure this would apply to the Sierras also

https://www.paulhorsted.com/Prints/The- ... /i-XS3J6Xx

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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by dave54 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:30 am

rlown wrote:Some locally believe it is secret lasers.. :derp: Umm, continue to a bad forestry mgmt discussion. :)
I saw the video of the lasers and Agenda21/illuminati intentionally starting fires. It was good for laugh. So sloppily researched it wasn't even a good lunatic fringe conspiracy theory. I've seen better.
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by dave54 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:58 am

More on the same theme:

https://treesource.org/news/lands/fores ... ge-gruell/

George Gruell also did a photo book on the Sierra Nevada, with old photos from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and current photos from the same location. Most people are shocked to see how little old growth existed historically.

Tom Bonnicksen, an ecologist, used computer modeling to re-create historic forest structure and composition, Alan Taylor, a geographer, used age cohort data from existing stands, and Robert Olsen, a fire manager with the Forest Service, used diaries and journals from the first settlers and official government reports. Four different researchers from different backgrounds, working independently with four different methodologies, all reached the same conclusion. Pre-settlement Sierra forests had very little old growth (<25% of the total forest cover, in small non-contiguous stands), and most of the forest was large openings of grass and low brush (~50%).

Similar studies in other areas show the same results. In the early 1990s, the Flathead National Forest (Montana, west of Glacier NP) was remodeling their office when they found long-lost boxes of photographs. In the early 1900s, the Forest Service sent photographers to numerous mountain tops for 360 degree panoramic photos, to determine the best location for fire lookout towers. The area had not yet had much human use, logging or grazing had not occurred in much of it. Using computer software these photos were used to create a 3D digital forest of the time. Same results as the Sierra -- little old growth, large openings.

Compare to the current Lake Tahoe basin, where about 40% of the forest is now old growth. Lake Tahoe basin has more old growth now than ever existed historically!, Despite much of it being logged over in the Comstock era. It grew back! I have a similar situation near me. A stand was clearcut in 1920, and was replanted. The same stand is now classified as old growth and protected from harvest. This site is has near perfect soil and climate for growing trees (Site Class 1A in the jargon), so similar results cannot be expected elsewhere, but it shows how fast forests can regenerate.
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by SSSdave » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:18 pm

Article only gets to a key facet of the issue at the end:

snippet:

“Humans have vastly expanded the spatial and seasonal “fire niche” in the coterminous United States, accounting for 84% of all wildfires and 44% of total area burned. During the 21-y time period, the human-caused fire season was three times longer than the lightning-caused fire season and added an average of 40,000 wildfires per year across the United States. Human-started wildfires disproportionally occurred where fuel moisture was higher than lightning-started fires, thereby helping expand the geographic and seasonal niche of wildfire. Human-started wildfires were dominant (>80% of ignitions) in over 5.1 million km2 , the vast majority of the United States, whereas lightning-started fires were dominant in only 0.7 million km2 , primarily in sparsely populated areas of the mountainous western United States."


In other words, before Western civilization arrived, fires outside lightning storm regions were uncommon. Today major numbers are human caused fires in highly fire prone non lightning storm areas. I am much against the vast corporate, political, real estate, and financial powers of the world with their steering humanity into endless population growth and development versus a sustainable world with much lower population in harmony with life on our incredible blue water planet of life.

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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by Hobbes » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:06 am

SSSdave wrote: I am much against the vast corporate, political, real estate, and financial powers of the world with their steering humanity into endless population growth and development versus a sustainable world with much lower population in harmony with life on our incredible blue water planet of life.
Not sure anyone is doing any steering; Darwin (aka nature) is a cruel ****. A few million years of evolutionary selective pressures has produced a lean, mean re-productive machine. Tolstoy wrote a famous short-story (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kreutzer_Sonata) that addressed the paradox that the intellectual bald ape is also the most promiscuous of species.

Most social, religious and corporate power flows from leveraging some very basic human desires/impulses. Rather than driving or steering behavior, perhaps a more useful analogy is that those in (or seek to gain) power act as 'service stations' to satisfy inherent demand.

In terms of population growth, Calif's size doubled in the last 40+ years, and will do so again in another 40. When we were kids, there were still ranch lands, orchards and uncultivated regions between the Bay area and SoCal. Now, between Oregon and the Bay, LA and SJ, and many points east, there are (new) suburban communities covering these formerly empty areas.

Being a NorCal native, with family still living up there, I'm well aware of the tendency to fight growth. LA, on the other hand, figured out what was happening 150 years ago, and rather than try and stop the inevitable, everyone jumped on board in order to try and get rich. To this day, land use discussions, development plans and personal investment decisions are still dominated by real estate. The cliche that LA is more flash still holds true; it's easier to make RE bank as an ordinary tradesman than be smart and make money in high tech.

The fires are a result of a number of reasons, with the political and scientific drivers subject to much debate. As is usual with any complex problem, there are a multitude of varying inputs and casual factors. But the one thing I assume everyone can agree on is that residential development has moved into areas that have high fire dangers throughout the state. (And the PNW for that matter, including WA & OR.)

Since stopping, stalling and/or preventing this ongoing push is not an option, it leaves open other avenues in which to first enact & maintain preventative measures beforehand, and then have ready response mechanisms in place when they do occur.

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