How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

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Campitor
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Campitor »

IlliniDave wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 3:07 pm
That definitely is a factor, and sadly the result of well-intended environmental policies gone wrong. The situation appears mired down in bureaucracy without much visible initiative to mitigate the risk. I suppose if we are going to suppress fire we should also perform some of its ecological function.
You hit the nail on the head.

Smoke jumpers contain fires by digging trenches deep enough to get past the burn zone in the soil, chopping down trees to create fire gaps, and clearing out the underbrush that has accumulated. If fire suppression is going to be a strategy, it has to include some logging and fire debris clearing to mimic what occurs naturally.

enigmaT120
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by enigmaT120 »

But clear cuts burn too, just that nobody cares except the owner who paid to have all those baby trees planted. We need deliberate controlled burns. But the NIMBY people always complain about smoke. Ironic considering how many of them have lost their homes now and how much smoke everybody else is breathing.

I want to do a bunch of controlled burning on my place but don't know how to do it safely. I can't afford a chipper big enough to chew up all the tops I generate with my precommercial thinning. I can't even afford to rent one.

Riggerjack
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Riggerjack »

Here on the island, a controlled burn permit is issued by the fire marshal. $10 for a burn pile up to 10x10, $20 for bigger. Really, just enough to pay for the gas for the fire marshal to come out and inspect. He's looking for a fire break around the pile, and the means to control your fire (water buffalo, charged hose, excavator or backhoe).

Burn permits aren't issued when it's dry out. So we have a local burn ban from mid spring until late fall.

I've pulled two over the years, each was a bit of a hassle, had to apply in person, and deliver the check, during office hours, up in coupeville, nearly an hour away. But really no big deal.

Mainly, I prefer to compost tree waste. Though composting may be a fancy term for piling branches and logs among all the other biowaste and topsoil from any dirtwork I do with my backhoe. My compost heap is about ten cubic yards, about now. Easier than burning, and smells better. Why put that carbon in the air when I can put it in the soil? Start a huglekulture bed, or for extra ERE points, inoculate some with rhizomes, and turn your waste wood into gourmet mushrooms.

Clarice
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Clarice »

Don't like the campfire smell at all! :evil: My eyes and throat are itchy. My extroverted 15-year-old daughter is going crazy - she can not meet with friends inside because of COVID and can not meet outside because of the horrible air quality... quite a quandary... Everybody is constantly looking at their air quality apps. The stores are cleaned of air purifiers. It's a bit better right now - not hot. A week ago we had a heatwave and a warning for electricity blackouts. I bought a solar panel and a lithium battery to charge an air purifier in case of blackouts. It's quite an expense. I don't think of wealth in terms of money for now. :idea: Union Square in San Francisco with its high-end stores has been looted and boarded up. There are no schools. Doctors tell you not to come unless you have an emergency. Some of the people I know have left the area. Rents in the area look like they fell off the bed... and this smokey air everywhere... :roll:
Last edited by Clarice on Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by jacob »

Does anyone own/use one of those portable/home-owner air quality monitors? They usually cost $75-300 and measure things like CO2, formaldehyde, PM2.5--10? Any big differences detected compared to websites like e.g. wunderground?

Clarice
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Clarice »

@jacob: My friend and neighbor is using one of those. It is consistent with what you see on Purple Air in our neighborhood.

Campitor
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Campitor »

Riggerjack wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:19 pm
Mainly, I prefer to compost tree waste...
Certainly an option but it has to be done at scale to cover all those millions of acres.

I'm saddened by all the suffering, loss of homes, and deaths caused by these wildfires. I wish anyone going through it the best.

Riggerjack
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Riggerjack »

Oh, sorry. I meant composting as a personal option, in reply to enigmaT120.

Our forestry practices are in need of a redesign, but I don't think the current woodlot owners or regulators are interested in addressing it.

If we, the lung owners of the PNW, don't want to spend the money, and put in the thought to address this situation, we can always buy more filters and vote for people who feel the same way...

enigmaT120
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by enigmaT120 »

Composting is my choice too Riggerjack. But it takes time. In the meanwhile there are brush piles around. Hazards. Kindling. I wish I knew more about controlled burns but so far I haven't seen any classes about that from my extension service. And like I said, there is the smoke problem. People will complain about smoke if I do a controlled burn but they don't when the whole west coast seems to be on fire.

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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by jacob »

Fiddling with vegetation is treating symptoms in the short-term while ignoring the long-term issue. (The red talking point.) The disease is that the wood (standing or otherwise) increasingly no longer belongs where it's at. (The blue talking point.) Turning it into biochar and burying it is a productive solution that's individually actionable. Moving away is also individually actionable. I'm sure most will learn this lesson the hard way. It'll remain an ideological issue until it hits the personal bottom line after which it becomes "nobody saw this, lets get through this together".

The problem is that people built/bought residential properties all along the forest/urban edge interface all over the west coast. That was monumentally dumb. Like buying property in the east coast beach counties was dumb. Like ditto in the Midwest where doesn't rain enough and water comes from rivers and aquifers was dumb.

Riggerjack
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Riggerjack »

Burning when it is cold and wet outside has a few benefits.

First, fire danger. It hard to start a fire in the Pacific Northwet, when it's cold and wet. You aren't going to burn things you don't want to burn. I recommend a fan or a leaf blower for stoking your fire.

Second, smoke. When people are inside, they are less concerned about smoke. Often when they smell winter smoke, people think wood heat, not wildfire. Also, when it's cold outside, smoke rises faster. It's easier to get a hot fire to send that smoke plume upwards, rather than clinging at ground level, as is more common in the summer.

I wouldn't be comfortable with a burn until at least November. Then, start with a campfire, and keep building. Once you have a good coal bed, a fan or blower will get the fire hotter, so less smoke, cleaner burn, and faster burning.

As for brush piles, I just move them to the same place, and throw dirt on top. The dirt will hold water in place, and rot will do the rest. Keep it damp in the summer, composting can start spontaneous fires, if a big enough pile. If you want to avoid the watering, use more dirt than brush.

Campitor
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Campitor »

jacob wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:00 pm
Fiddling with vegetation is treating symptoms in the short-term while ignoring the long-term issue. (The red talking point.) The disease is that the wood (standing or otherwise) increasingly no longer belongs where it's at. (The blue talking point.) Turning it into biochar and burying it is a productive solution that's individually actionable.
@jacob

I understand what you're saying and I'm in agreement. However farmers and scientist are returning water/moisture to areas that have undergone desertification (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI). The video in the aforementioned link shows how mobile herds of animals can fertilize land with their feces and urine which helps grow vegetation which keeps the land wet and the rivers flowing. And farmers are also successfully reversing desertification by working with the land instead of against it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4OBcRHX1Bc.

And while climate change will eventually force human habitat changes , I don't think the present situation is hopeless if the correct systems are put into place. Yes the trees will disappear someday but that's no reason to give climate change an additional push. And letting billions of acres go up in smoke won't help to reduce C02 either. Short and long term solutions can be of value if done correctly and in a coordinated manner.

I do agree that building in tidal zones, flood plains, and arid countries at scale is unwise.

Riggerjack
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Riggerjack »

Short and long term solutions can be of value if done correctly and in a coordinated manner.
That's quite a statement.

How do you see that happening? Do you have any examples, perhaps?

We started this year off with a small problem that could have been easily dealt with in a coordinated manner, and historical successes to work from.

And yet... :?

I'm beginning to believe good policy is as legendary as Sasquatch. And equally rare.

IlliniDave
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by IlliniDave »

jacob wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:00 pm
Fiddling with vegetation is treating symptoms in the short-term while ignoring the long-term issue.
It is only if done from an either/or perspective. Holistically it's the same problem as medical people face in triage where short-term life threatening situations are prioritized in the treatment timeline over the longer-term life threatening situations.

I'm not sure that I agree with the assertion that forests don't belong on the west coast. I linked data above that implies that precipitation in all the western states except Hawaii has increased from the 1930s until 2000ish, and I believe that continued for the at least the next decade except for a moderate patch in the southwest centered on N. New Mexico. I would hazard a guess that nearly every species of plant and animal native to the western US has survived at least one mega-drought. The largest giant sequoias still standing were alive for the duration of the last one.

So I guess that makes me purple. :)

I'm aware that there are new predictions from a model that suggests rising temperature might be a minority contributor to mega droughts and maybe we are indeed at the dawn of a new one. I have no opinion in that realm.

I do agree there is a exploding hazard inherent to the population surge in the western US over the last 70 years. Droughts and fires are part of that landscape (and humans tend to start fires even when nature does not), something that's well-know to have been the case for a long time (long enough it's referred to as the "paleo" record). For folks insistent on living there, I don't think they can afford to wait until someone invents a thermostat for the planet. They need to modify their immediate environs even if it goes against progressive environmental dictates.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

The smoke has made it to the Midwest. The sky was hazy last two nights. Apparently the air quality is bad too but I haven't noticed anything different.

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Sclass
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Sclass »

Huh. The Bobcat Fire is getting awfully close to my house in Altadena. Yawn. Like it has every ten years like a clock. Same fire, different name.

Campitor
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Campitor »

Riggerjack wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:03 pm
That's quite a statement.

How do you see that happening? Do you have any examples, perhaps?
I suspect it will happen in the manner described in the videos I linked previously - examples are contained therein. I've pasted the links below for convenience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4OBcRHX1Bc.

ffj
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by ffj »

@Campitor

Just finished watching the two videos. Enjoyed both quite a bit.

It really makes you think about what is possible.

Riggerjack
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Riggerjack »

@campitor,
Yeah, I'm familiar with the concept. And not an unreasonable way to go about reducing the impact of CC.

My question was how you see this happening?

Often, we talk about policy, as though if we could just figure out how to solve the problem with some idealized policy, the problem could go away.

In our specialist economy, we tend to focus on individual actions, and allow government to pick up the larger responsibilities. This idealized policy discussion, is part of that letting go.

But it is very common to leave it there.

This ignores the perverse incentives of our legislative, regulatory, and capital investment systems. It encourages us to abandon responsibility to the very same societal structures that create and maintain these issues.

In your videos, manual labor is used to move the surface of a desert into configurations that slow surface water flow.

This is entirely different than modifying a surface that can support trees. Roots will lock soils and rocks into place. Even if all the work was done after a clear cut, that then burnt, this is a much bigger job than stacking free stone in a wasteland. Plus, many of our timberlands are far steeper than anything in the videos.

Leaving aside the work, the real perversion kicks in when someone has to pay for all that work. Timberland belongs to the Feds. And some belongs to the state, county, even cities have timberland. Also, timberland is owned privately, both at the individual and corporate level.

I predict that if one were to track the $$$ in this sector, it will move around a lot. It will be the engine that drives an enormous load of paper, and it will leak out at every node, but very little will make it to a person with a pickaxe who can see a tree.

Only because that is how the system works currently, and I don't see any changes coming.

A policy won't fix this. Not that a fix isn't possible, but that talking about policy is how we resign ourselves to consigning problems too big to solve ourselves, to larger organizations that will also, not solve them. At best, these organizations will maintain them.

I understand this is outside the scope of your post, and I am not trying to call you out here. I don't have the answer to this conundrum, but it is what I am thinking about, lately. It seems relevant, so I am asking everyone:

Given where we are (lots of timber, some currently burning, in the hands of many, varied interests) and where we would like to be (timberland that burns less and is better adapted to a wider variety of climatic conditions) and the regulations we currently have; is there a better way to get from where we are, to where we want to be, than we are currently using?

Because this path doesn't seem to lead from here to there.

Riggerjack
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by Riggerjack »

I guess I should apologize for dragging another thread into my own private madness.

I keep trying to explain my thoughts, and never seem to spread my madness. So either it's only fascinating to me (probable), or I'm truly mad, and wasting everyone's time and attention (also probable). :?

But I have been driving deep into the Game B rabbit hole, and while I enjoy the mental exercise, everyone seems to be on unproductive paths, whether from unlikely design parameters (Hall) or a fascination with how deeply, utterly, unknowable and indefinable it would have to be (Eric).

My own thoughts are along the lines of incentive alignment, and I have tried to bring it up here, (rambling about corporate/nonprofit incentives, etc.) but communication is not my strength.

This post and the previous are just more of the same. If this also seems like gibberish, my apologies, and please enjoy the next post, it's bound to be better grounded than anything I write, or think about.

Peace.

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