Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

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

Post by maverick » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:49 pm

Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires
Lightning mostly, and humans in some cases, especially hunters (Russ that is for you). :unibrow: :lol:


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

Post by rightstar76 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:49 pm

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Last edited by rightstar76 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:55 am, edited 3 times in total.

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

Post by rlown » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:15 pm

maverick wrote:
Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires
Lightning mostly, and humans in some cases, especially hunters (Russ that is for you). :unibrow: :lol:
Well, Archery hasn't opened yet and rifle season opens later so, not hunters this time around. The most common cause around here has been a hot lawnmower left on grass, or illegal grows. :whistle:

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

Post by zacjust32 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:13 pm

I think an atmosphere for the last 150 years that refused to let anything in the Sierra burn naturally is the cause. This has led to unnaturally large fuel buildup leading to more and more catastrophic fires. I hope that once we start control burning again this large tinderbox will start to regulate itself and lead to less catastrophic fires we see nowadays.
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by balzaccom » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:34 pm

We should point out that these fires are not just in the Sierra....in fact they are all over the world.
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Re: Everyone's thoughts on what's really causing fires

Post by paul » Thu Aug 02, 2018 11:11 pm

Of course we have a number of factors, but Hobbes nails it on the biggest one. More people, spreading out further into fireprone landscapes.
A couple more factors, at least in California, of lesser but not minor importance:
Drought conditions. This last winter was well below average precipitation. And though the one before was wet, it came after several dry years in a row.
Forest management - as has been mentioned, overprotection combined with no budget for fuel thinning has left the forest overburdened with fuel.

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

Post by rightstar76 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:19 am

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

Post by rightstar76 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:50 am

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

Post by tarbuckle » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:42 am

A century of fire suppression + an extended dry warm period = perfect storm.

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

Post by dave54 » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:47 am

It is a multi-factor problem that cannot be laid at one door.

Global warming is a contributor but not the sole cause. Unusually strong heat waves and wind events have happened before, some with catastrophic fires starting and some without. And in reality, air temperature is a minor factor in influencing fire behavior. Relative humidity and winds are more dominant than temperature alone. Fire researchers have coined the term 'epi-days' noting large catastrophic fires tend to start in clusters on a relative few days each year. Many factors for this, one being periods of extreme fire danger are usually a short sequence of days a few times per year, and secondly, once the first fire starts it diverts available resources away from the second (third, fourth...) fire start, enabling the subsequent fires to escape and become big.

Forest practices play a role, but also consider most of the fires are occurring in areas that are not commercial timberlands and are occurring on all land ownerships -- public and private. More prescribed burning in the off season is always preached by armchair quarterbacks. Air quality regulations and other environmental concerns limit how much prescribed fire can be accomplished. The land agencies are prescribed burning about as much as they legally can now. Exempting prescribed burning from environmental restrictions does not make the air cleaner or limit watershed/soil/wildlife impacts. It only makes it easier and legal to pollute.

Proliferation of building in the wildland interface is a big contributor. A fire starting anywhere near homes has different tactics applied at initial attack than a fire in remote areas.
60% of all new housing in the last ten years has been in high wildfire hazard areas. California also has a housing shortage which is pushing housing prices sky high. Banning construction in fire risk areas and tougher fire codes push housing prices higher. This puts pressure on planning commissions trying to control housing costs by waiving fire code regulations. It is a vicious spiral. On a semi-related note -- California already offer tax breaks and incentives to homeowners who energy retrofit, earthquake retrofit, disability improvements, et al. But no tax breaks for fire proofing. In fact, fire protection improvements could trigger a property value re-assessment under Prop 13, raising the property taxes. That definitely needs to be fixed.

Hiring more staff requires higher budgets. Agency budgets = your taxes. You cannot demand increasing agency budgets then with the next breath complain about high taxes. (Chanting "Tax the other guy but not me" is just as hypocritical.)

Any solutions, even partial ones, are going to cost. They will cost money and cost political capital among elected officials. The decisions to be made are tough no-win dilemmas. Any action will cost the taxpayer money, the homeowner money, the state money, local government money, and federal money. Then no matter what action taken, a well financed opposition will crank up a campaign to scuttle the efforts.
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