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

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:23 pm
by longri
After staying out of the Sierra for most of the summer due to the smoke, as well as enduring a prolonged period of smoke in San Francisco, I looked forward to a planned extended trip to Tasmania. I've been coming here for about ten years. When friends ask me what I like about it I tell them it's the mud. There are boggy areas that turn quite muddy, usually ankle to shin deep, but sometimes deeper. I once went in hip deep.

The thing is, each time I've visited in the last decade it has seemed drier. This year there is no mud. Areas typically soggy or half submerged are bone dry. And the weather has been continuously warmer than usual. It's very disturbing. While some species here depend on fire to reproduce there are rare types of trees that rely upon a wet, cool environment to not burn. When they do burn they are lost, replaced by other types of vegetation that are more likely to burn. So each fire whittles away irreversibly at the limited stands of these trees.

I just finished a 2 1/2 week bushwalk and had plans for more. But while I was out dry lightning essentially set fire to the whole island. Smoke is everywhere, stove use is banned, and all remote walks are closed until further notice. I will be ending my trip prematurely.

It's a very sad thing to witness.

It's odd to see large water bombing planes flying overhead. I rarely see any jet or small plane in the skies here. One interesting firefighting technique tried here this year with success is the deployment of sprinklers in the wilderness, pump fed from a nearby lake or stream. I've never heard of that tactic before.

Unfortunately nothing short of real rain will be entirely effective. And the forecast at present is for continued dry and hot.

What will this place look like in fifty years?
What will the Sierra look like in fifty years?

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

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:37 am
by rightstar76
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:28 pm
by rightstar76
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:31 pm
by rlown
Might be more appropriate to find stories about the Sierra instead of focusing on the Southern hemisphere.

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

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:14 pm
by longri
rlown wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:31 pm
Might be more appropriate to find stories about the Sierra instead of focusing on the Southern hemisphere.
Sorry if it was inappropriate.
I removed my post.

EDIT:
I forgot that this is The Campfire, "an anything goes forum". So even if it's off-topic it's not inappropriate. And rlown doesn't show up anywhere that I looked as a moderator. I guess he's a self-appointed one. So I reinstated my little post and couldn't help but wonder why it bothered him.

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

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:36 am
by balzaccom
The world of climate is connected. What we are experiencing in the Sierra is absolutely connected to extreme weather patterns in other parts of the world.

We can learn from them as they learn to cope with these extreme patterns, and we can use their experiences to help us enjoy the Sierra ..as long as it is still enjoyable.

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

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:58 pm
by rightstar76
balzaccom wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:36 am
The world of climate is connected. What we are experiencing in the Sierra is absolutely connected to extreme weather patterns in other parts of the world.

We can learn from them as they learn to cope with these extreme patterns, and we can use their experiences to help us enjoy the Sierra ..as long as it is still enjoyable.
Very true. :thumbsup:

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

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:28 pm
by rightstar76
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:34 pm
by rlown
Back on track. Nice. Wish I could find a tree study, because there were more small trees in 2018 up Rafferty Cr, but a LOT of dead trees as well.
The small trees threw me off a bit as I am a frequent flyer to the area.
Guess we have a LOT of snow right now.

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

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:08 am
by Wandering Daisy
For wilderness fires, I would think the bark beetle also plays a part. It certainly has in the Rocky Mountains. Warmer temperatures do not kill off beetles, dry conditions weaken trees, bark beetles invade and multiply and kill trees, warm dry summers lasting until late fall, dead trees easily catch on fire, whole forest burns, taking down even trees in good health, new growth now is subject to the new warmer, dry conditions, brush such as manzanita takes over what once was a forest, more prone to fire. Weak trees now are more susceptible to human stupidity of not putting out campfires. But I think there are fewer campfires built nowadays than in the past. But it only takes one. And there always has been and always will be sick arsonists.

But I think on a whole, the really big fires seem to start lower down at the forest-urban interface and then spread into the wilderness. Highways through the forests are also an "urban" interface. I am not sure that housing on 10-acre plots in the forest is a good idea, although that is a lot of people's dream.

Increased winds are also an effect of climate change, and probably do more damage then temperatures alone. I have noticed a lot more wind in the last few years than say 20 years ago. But that is just one person's observation. Not sure if this is a generalized fact.