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

Meetups, joint projects, classifieds, dating, exchanges, buying, selling, etc.
enigmaT120
Posts: 1205
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

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

Post by enigmaT120 »

Riggerjack, your last two posts made a lot of sense to me as a private timberland owner. As do most of yours. Please don't stop.

Campitor
Posts: 1031
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 11:49 am

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

Post by Campitor »

@Rigger

I understand what you're saying. As a small government advocate, I'm in total agreement that bureaucracy, that's divorced from the negative impacts of its decisions, makes bad choices. I completely understand the chasm between finding a solution and implementing it is huge. However there are solutions that are working and they are working at scale. It's up to the states getting barbecued to do something about it. If they don't then they will suffer the consequences of those poor decisions and inaction.

But there is hope: https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/23/ ... f-forests/

California has been increasing its efforts. Last week, in a little-noticed milestone, state officials signed a major agreement with the federal government that aims to reshape how forests are managed for years to come.

Under the plan, California agencies and the U.S. Forest Service will use brush clearing, logging and prescribed fires to thin out 1 million acres a year by 2025 — an area larger than Yosemite National Park every 12 months, and roughly double the current rate of thinning, which already is double rates from a few years ago.

The Forest Service and the state Natural Resources Agency also committed to drawing up a 20-year plan by next year to identify which areas of the state will get priority for thinning projects. They will update it every five years and share it with the public.

User avatar
Jean
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:49 am
Location: Switzterland

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

Post by Jean »

In switzerland, forest ownership is limited to the product of the forest.
It means that you cannot block access, but it also means that a forest officer(garde forestier) decides which trees you cut.
We are not prone to forest fire, but it allows coordinate effort against pest (like bostrich).
This could work against fire too.
It is of course an infringment on private property, but seeing all the externalities that are linked to forest, I consider it acceptable(i'm talking as a forest owner).
As a forest user, it is also very nice to know that common rules apply in every forests.

ffj
Posts: 2234
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

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

Post by ffj »

I don't know how things work out West, but sometimes local volunteer fire departments will help with small controlled burns. It gives them the training they need and helps the landowner out at the same time. It might be worth asking about.

Also, it seems to me if your area has experienced a wildfire already, that it would be fairly simple to monitor the undergrowth and fuel build-up going forward. I know it seems California burns to the ground each year but if an area suffers a severe wildfire surely it takes several years for the fuel to build up enough again for a devastating fire? My point is that there could be optimism for these areas in the future if order is maintained.

AxelHeyst
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:55 pm
Location: The Mountains, USA

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

Post by AxelHeyst »

I don't think there is very much forest privately owned in the West. It's mostly National or State Forest. A lot of homes and towns are built snuggled right up/surrounded by NF. Various agencies (CalFire) have a mandate to do controlled burns, but the incentive system is broken wrt doing *enough* burning to get things under control.

I think you're right ffj that recently-burned areas are less prone to severe wilfire for many years, but while it might seem like all of CA burns every year, but the backlog of forest that is way, way overdue for a fire is enormous. We need to control burn something like 1-4million acres a year for a decade (quoting from memory here) just to get things under control, but we're currently burning 40k acres/year. It seems that this year might kick the control burn initiatives up a notch based on skimming fire reportage (e.g. the article Campitor linked), but time will tell if there's enough will yet to follow through.

An article I read quoted [some fire old-timer Who Knows Stuff] as predicting they won't actually get their act together until a major fire catastrophe, like a firestorm taking out San Diego. :shock:

IlliniDave
Posts: 3035
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:46 pm

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

Post by IlliniDave »

A Portland-centric view of the fires. Some interesting satellite imagery from ~13:30 to 16:00.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGC5N15khX4

enigmaT120
Posts: 1205
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

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

Post by enigmaT120 »

I thought that cat on their table was dead at first.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

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

Post by Western Red Cedar »

It can be really challenging to understand the scale of the western landscape for those who don't live here or study it. As @AH mentioned, most of the land that regularly burns is under public control - typically federal in WA, ID, and OR. I'm not as familiar with CA or other western states, but I'd guess it is similar. Federal priorities for budget expenditures start with the suppression of fires, particularly if there is any risk to habitable structures. As development in the west increases, more and more individuals or communities are building in the Wildland Urban Interface. I've seen relatively little consideration of wildfire danger when local governments make land use and zoning decisions (as opposed to other environmental risks such as flood zones, landslide hazards, wetlands, or riparian corridors).

In some cases, when the fire season isn't bad, incident response teams will allow fires to burn based on recommendations from fire ecologists. This mimics the natural process fire historically played, and certain mature species such as Douglas Fir even thrive after a fire due to the fire resistant nature of their bark. One of the challenges with limited federal and state forest service budgets is that increasing funds are allocated to fire suppression and emergency management, which takes away the ability to do things like prescribed burns, or set up landowner management programs and grants. As the fires are getting worse, competitive grants from the federal government are getting tighter.

Campitor wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:14 pm

The Forest Service and the state Natural Resources Agency also committed to drawing up a 20-year plan by next year to identify which areas of the state will get priority for thinning projects. They will update it every five years and share it with the public.
I've actually been quite impressed with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approach to long-term management and planning. It sounds like they may be a couple years ahead of California. I saw a couple presentations from foresters and policy leads at DNR and they've done some detailed geospatial analysis and mapping work to identify the most vulnerable portions of the state. This is where WA is spending its limited resources (in central and eastern WA) - the most bang for its buck. It was a bit frightening this year to see the extent of the fires west of the Cascade Mountain range as it doesn't typically support large fires and has a much wetter climate.

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/rp_ ... pdf?17mc7a

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/ForestHealthPlan#read-the-plan

Most scientists studying climate change and wildfires say the fire season is expanding because it is getting warmer and drier earlier in the year. This also affects snowpack and runoff, which further dries out vegetation at lower elevations. (The temperature and streamflow of rivers has detrimental impacts on salmonid populations in WA, which has further ecological impacts throughout the Puget Sound. The ecological balance travels in a further downward spiral.) I think the dynamic is similar in Australia in terms of the extension of the fire season, but there are obvious differences with snowpack and snowmelt.

I was actually quite hopeful about fire season this year because we had a relatively wet spring in the PNW (at least east of the cascades) and high levels of precipitation through July. Unfortunately, even when we have wet springs with above average snowpack, it fosters more dynamic vegetation growth which then dries out and provide additional fuels for wildfire. The snowpack also melts more quickly when we have unusually high temperatures later in the summer.

I've been to some of the most polluted cities in the world and never experienced toxic air quality like I have in the northwest over the last five years. Unfortunately I think this is the new normal.

Western Red Cedar
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:15 pm

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

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Still a noob trying to figure out the edit and quote functions. :oops:

Post Reply