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

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

Post by ZAFCorrection »

I'm just outside of Portland. Pretty sure we will be fine fire-wise, but damn has it been smoky!

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

Post by unemployable »

We've had it in Colorado on and off for the past month. Kinda smells like a big barbecue.

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

Post by tsch »

It's exhausting. This is year...three? Four? of the new normal in this area. The anxiety level it causes isn't to be underestimated, even if you aren't in a mandatory evacuation zone or directly threatened. And who knows about the health toll due to air quality. I am really hoping it works out for me to move closer to the coast. That won't solve everything, to be sure, but it will help.

I've been wondering about the Oregon forum folks.

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

Post by mooretrees »

I'm sad about it and my throat hurts. I've seen this fire season change since I moved out West over twenty years ago. Portland never had to deal with fires until a few years ago. Now it's more every year. Makes me think about where to head to that isn't as affected. We're heading East to a fire free area. We'd planned a vacation and were going to explore SE OR, but now it feels like no place in the West is free of terrible air.

We're out in Eastern OR and we can't see the hills that are normally visible. No fires close to us, just the wind bringing us the smoke.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

I feel bad for you guys, and I wonder to what extent this trend will be impacting even the Northern Midwest forests in another 20 years?

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

Post by RooBadley »

Very mild nausea and annoying nasal irritation.
It's bug-out preparedness that's on my mind.

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

Post by jacob »

@7wb5 - Here's where having most states square and similarly tall helps. Figure that climate+whatever grows in nature will change to what it currently is half a state down(*) during the next twenty years. If there are currently no trees there, the current trees here will eventually burn. For example, the forests in NorCal are burning because there are none in SoCal. The ones in Oregon are starting to burn because the ones in NorCal have burned for a while.

All these forest fires will stop once all the trees in an area or state have burned away and the ability to grow new ones in the area no longer exists because it has become too hot/dry. During this transition housing stock in wooded areas will be lost to fires.

(*) That's a crude rule of thumb. Having the vector of change point towards Mexico rather than straight South is a better model. This accounts for the fact that the center of the continent will heat faster.

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

Post by Riggerjack »

The smoke rolled over yesterday. We just closed up the house.

It was still a bit smokey inside, so DW and I are having a competition to DIY a smoke filter.

Hers is up and working, as she just opened up a vacuum bag, and taped it over a box fan. Works pretty good.

Mine is a converted tote. I cut two openings in the top, attached a fan to one opening. Then I cut an old sheet into strips that I hot glued to the underside of the top, creating a maze within the tote for the air to travel. The plan is to half fill it with water. The strips of cloth will wick up the water. Woodsmoke is largely particulates, which should stick to the wet surfaces and sink into the water. And my fan is quiet, because I am using an old bathroom fart fan. But DW's filter is up and running, and mine isn't working yet.

This is what ERE is all about for me. Having the time, energy, and resources to prototype up an improvised, low cost solution, rather than get Amazon to send me an air filter. When the smoke is gone, the fan disconnects (for other future projects), the tote gets used for storage, and the lid goes in a bag and into storage, for the next fire. I'm using materials on site, and when I am done, only the lid with the holes and cloth maze is changed. And storing something flat, light, and thin is easier than storing some air filter.

And it's easier to clean this tote with a hose, than find and change replacement filters. That's my real motivation.

Now, if only it works... :?

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

Post by IlliniDave »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:37 am
I feel bad for you guys, and I wonder to what extent this trend will be impacting even the Northern Midwest forests in another 20 years?
They are fairly common already. There were some massive and deadly ones the same day as the infamous Chicago fire. I drive through a large burned out area on the last leg of my trip to the hideout. When they occur in the wilderness areas around my place they let them burn.

Some major differences between Minnesota, at least, and many of the west coast populous areas experiencing bad fires in recent years (primarily thinking California), are they still harvest timber, they do planned/controlled burns annually, and they maintain a lot of burn piles where property owners can haul brush, deadfalls, etc., and people use them. The planned burns are for both brush removal and environmental rejuvenation.

There's a whole litany of western native plants (including giant sequoia) those seeds require exposure to fire in order to germinate. That implies fires out west are dependable occurrences, and have been for quite a long time. Unmanaged forests are built to burn, and when the practice of fire suppression persists, they become more built to burn.

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

Post by Western Red Cedar »

I was hoping we might avoid the smoke and wildfires in WA/OR this year as there weren't many fires in August. Unfortunately this seems to be the new normal. My only hope is that as the situation reaches a crisis level it will compel us to take climate change more seriously and consider how much of the forestry budget is focused on reactive rather than proactive management.
Last edited by Western Red Cedar on Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

Some interesting data for historical context. Beware there's a discontinuity in reporting methods starting in 1983 so taken 'at a glance' might be misleading.

https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_ ... Fires.html

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

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@ IlliniDave

Really interesting data - thanks for posting.

I'm guessing that some of the dynamic going on is that population has dramatically increased in the West since the 50's. Communities are being developed in the Wildland Urban Interface so the impact on humans is much more prevalent. Wildfire is a normal part of the ecosystem, but decades of poor forest management policy have made for much more explosive fires.

I'd recommend Tim Egan's the Big Burn for those interested in the origins of the USFS or the Roosevelt years. I read it fairly recently and really enjoyed it.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

Western Red Cedar wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:28 pm
but decades of poor forest management policy have made for much more explosive fires.
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.

The raging fires are also bad in that in some cases they burn so hot they defeat the regeneration mechanisms of the ecosystem, and kill off species that can survive "normal" forest fires.

Sounds like a good book.

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

Post by enigmaT120 »

Don't worry looks like we'll be sharing our smoke with half the country.

WRC where were you that the air was good enough to go for a long bike ride? I'm overdue for another ride. I'm glad I got a run in Monday before the smoke got bad.

My air was better than it has been this week so I took a short slow (no deep breathing) walk up in the woods this morning, that was it. And some pull ups in my garage. At least my house seems to be keeping the smoke out. It got bad again later on, so I'm staying inside.

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C40
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Re: How do you all like that campfire smell in CA/OR?

Post by C40 »

Riggerjack wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:53 am
so DW and I are having a competition to DIY a smoke filter.
See here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH5APw_ ... anMedicine

I made one to filter out pollution in SE Asia. Works great, and I don't have as good of sizes of fan or filter.

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

Post by Riggerjack »

@c40, we both were going to go that route, to begin with, but we didn't have any paper filters on site, and no purchases was part of the fun.

I'd been kicking this water/cloth filter around in the back of my head for a while. It's a design for fine partical removal in a woodshop I haven't built yet. After the main dust filter. So this was a chance to try it out.

On the first test, the wet fabric maze needs some weights, to keep the air moving through from just blowing wet fabric against the exit hole... It's currently running, but not as efficiently as I had hoped.

DW wins, again... :lol:

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

Post by ertyu »

vacuums have a hepa filter. so a very inefficient way to filter air could be to clean your vacuum, change its filter, and leave it running :lol:

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

Post by Riggerjack »

Yeah, but vacuums also produce a LOT of heat. Thus the vacuum bag over a box fan. The fan pulls far less power and is far quieter than the vacuum.

Using a bright flashlight to judge air quality, air quality inside is great. Outside looks like a sci-fi movie set. It never got bright enough yesterday to get past the orange twilight stage. Smoke as thick as fog but dirty.

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

Post by tsch »

Jacob wrote above:
All these forest fires will stop once all the trees in an area or state have burned away and the ability to grow new ones in the area no longer exists because it has become too hot/dry.
This is the kind of systems-level factor that is missing in a lot of the discussion I see about fires and the ecosystem. Yes, many of the plants are fire-adapted. BUT they are also adapted to conditions of precipitation, humidity, temperature, etc. that are no longer present.

The other thing that happens in these fires is that sometimes the canopy and underbrush burns, but the trees do regenerate. And it's not always a case of everything just burning down to ash; it can be spotty. I believe that parts of Lake County, CA, have burned twice in the last decade.

It's surprising to me that I never hear a call to accept the current worst-case scenarios with respect to climate change and actively start "moving" plants (and animals?) north on a massive scale. Then again, I don't trust any of the world's bureaucracies at the moment to do that in an intelligent way, and there's a lot that can go wrong.

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

Post by IlliniDave »

The good news is the western ecology is adapted to mega-droughts.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/envi ... estern-us/

And in recent years (up through 2000) there's been more precipitation than in the past

https://wrcc.dri.edu/Climate/comp_table ... pe=ppt_avg

Other sources imply that trend continued into the 00's. Could find much versus-time data for the recent decade which would presumably show the start of a drought.

But another mega-drought cycle coupled with dense human population out there is likely an epic disaster. And it seems like a distinct possibility. Was thinking out loud about this with a friend and maybe constructing massive firebreaks around population zones and telling people, "Live outside the firebreaks at your own peril." It seems the best short-term bet if we want the various ecosystems to survive might be to acknowledge their complexity is beyond our ability to manage/control. I get that there are long-term issues too, but letting that get in the way of pragmatic short-term behavior is not a good idea.

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