California Rim Fire is getting BIG!
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Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
California Rim Fire is getting BIG! on 08/23/2013 18:42:32 MDT Print View

105,000 acres bured already.

Just wanted to start the topic to what everyone thinks.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Rim Fire on 08/23/2013 19:59:07 MDT Print View

We were up at our cabin near Twain Harte this week, and came down early today because the smoke was so bad. This is a huge fire, and it has already burned through some lovely country. We've hiked/backpacked Cherry Lake, Miguel Meadows, Lake Eleanor...and it looks like that has all burned. And I don't see them stopping this fire until it gets into the solid granite of Cherry Canyon, Emigrant WIlderness, etc.

Very sad. And on the way home today, the smoke extended almost to Oakdale in the west...and we could see the Pyro-culums cloud easily from Fairfield...about 100 miles away.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
how did this happen? on 08/24/2013 16:56:45 MDT Print View

I thought the forest service encouraged fires to burn often to prevent these mega fires from happening.

Is this normal or caused the by the forest service putting out too many fires and not lighting enough control fires to prevent tinder buildup?

Sharon J.
(squark) - F

Locale: SF Bay area
dry out there on 08/24/2013 17:04:44 MDT Print View

perhaps having had drought conditions for something like 5 of the past 7 years contributed.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
So sad on 08/24/2013 17:05:56 MDT Print View

I used to live in the area and still visit friends up there. Very familiar with Groveland and the vicinity; I am currently looking at buying a few acres right by Buck Meadows :(

I hope they get this under control soon.

Edited by Kat_P on 08/24/2013 17:06:29 MDT.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: how did this happen? on 08/24/2013 17:21:46 MDT Print View

" Is this normal or caused the by the forest service putting out too many fires and not lighting enough control fires to prevent tinder buildup? "

the acerage is ok, it's the intensity that is the result of fire suppression.
and ya, it's been hella dry here for years now. drought is the new normal (unless you own a golf course near LA).

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: how did this happen? on 08/24/2013 17:23:22 MDT Print View

I thought the forest service encouraged fires to burn often to prevent these mega fires from happening.

After out by the next 10 AM, for awhile they were generally letting them burn but pressure mounted to start fighting them again. Regardless there's too much dry fuel for the dry conditions or these western US fires wouldn't be so huge.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Hot fire on 08/24/2013 17:28:03 MDT Print View

Also, lots of Manzanita and Madrone, which burns really hot.

Desert Dweller
(Drusilla)

Locale: Wild Wild West
Fires on 08/24/2013 18:53:17 MDT Print View

Also the government has been in the process of eradicating the American rancher and the cattle allotments. Cattle, used to keep the understories of our forests grazed down and thier paths provided fire lanes and acess to forests that fire fighters used. Now, since there are less cattle, sheep and goats grazing on public land the forest under stories have grown unimpeded for about a decade or more, and that along with the drought has caused these huge fires. And our forest service has been cut back to minimal bodies to maintain the acreage. Less and less fire lookouts, and when old lookouts are damaged or burned, they don't replace them due to government budget cuts.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Tough terrain on 08/24/2013 19:07:26 MDT Print View

For those of you who don't know this area, this area is incredibly steep---no cattle run this range--and covered with scrub oak, manzanita, and conifers. As many have noted here, this is a very dry year, and that stuff is just ready to explode into flames. There is no way to get fire crews into this area if you ever want to get them back out again...and the fire is so large that it is creating its own weather: huge downdrafts that burst out of the fire in many different directions.

The good news is that the primary wind is from the southwest, and to the northeast of this fire is a massive bunch of granite in northwestern Yosemite and the Emigrant Wilderness. So it will probably burn out against that.

But the western side of the fire is still dangerous, and they are still advising evacuations for communities along the 108 corridor.

Edited by balzaccom on 08/24/2013 19:08:07 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Grazing on 08/25/2013 07:37:07 MDT Print View

"the government has been in the process of eradicating the American rancher and the cattle allotments. Cattle, used to keep the understories of our forests grazed down and thier paths provided fire lanes and acess to forests that fire fighters used."

Wilderness doesn't need cattle to keep it healthy. With cattle we've replaced the native ungulates and done it at a density that is far too high and thus causing all sorts of ecological damage including riparian degradation and erosion. Cattle grazing on public lands is one of the worst things that's happened to park land in the south west.

With both cattle grazing and fire suppression we've caused some longer term problems that are going to take time to heal. After decades of fire suppression there's going to be bigger fires until things settle into a more natural routine (although climate change might keep them big). With cattle grazing there's going to be ecological differences until native ungulates can refill those niches. In the mean time, forests get enhanced primary productivity and diversity in the understory communities - far better than having overgrazing to facilitate unnatural fire suppression access.

Edited by dandydan on 08/25/2013 07:40:54 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Fire Lookouts on 08/25/2013 08:30:51 MDT Print View

Don't need fire lookouts anymore - satelites and airplanes

One problem here in PNW is that beetles have killed huge stands of timber, maybe caused by weather related to higher CO2 levels.

CO2 may also cause more, worse droughts.

In the future, there may be huge areas of timber that are replaced by meadow.

Joseph Brody
(Killroy1999)
When Will The Smoke Die Down? on 08/25/2013 08:39:28 MDT Print View

I hope the smoke will mostly be gone by September 11th, because I have a 1/2 trip down the John Muir Trail and it really grinds my gears when its smokey in Yosemite. RAIN.

I hate fires, they destroy the trails. I got dangerously lost when I could not find the trial in a area that many years ago had been destroyed by fire. I was hiking from the Grand Canyon of the Toulomne to Smith Peak over Hetch Hetchy. When the trees are gone, the sharp thorned brush explodes, and covers the trail. Then the dead trees fall all over the trail. Once you hike over the tree, trail finding is very hard. I re-routed and told the Rangers that they should warn or close the trail. They shrugged and said that it was a Wilderness Area. As a former member of Search and Rescue, I was very disappointing in these rangers.

Looks like the fire is going north and State and San Francisco has declared a state of emergency to protect bay area water in Hetch Hetchy and power lines.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: California Rim Fire is getting BIG! on 08/25/2013 09:29:11 MDT Print View

The fire, which started last week in the Stanislaus National Forest, had burned more than 125,620 acres as of Saturday morning, claiming 16 structures, including four homes, and causing one injury

It's big one for sure. No casualties so far. Hope that keeps up.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
For those familiar with the area on 08/25/2013 09:41:59 MDT Print View

Fire updates for locals, without big media.
First minute is just audio, then video picks up.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=au6H-K6nBEc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dau6H-K6nBEc


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KYu8L6eW1RM&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DKYu8L6eW1RM

Edited by Kat_P on 08/25/2013 09:44:32 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Fire on 08/25/2013 12:07:03 MDT Print View

Isnt this the same general area that burned in 1987? If so then how did the undergrowth get so bad to allow this fire to take place? If fire is needed to stop big fires then why didn't it work?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Fire on 08/25/2013 12:43:47 MDT Print View

25 years too soon in your opinion?

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: Fire on 08/25/2013 13:06:03 MDT Print View

so, if in the 25 yrs since it last burned, and that 1987 was FAR to long in coming and it killed a lot of the trees, then what else will be there besides "undergrowth". it can't all be water'y ferns and such. it's going to be brush and dry 'd out thistles and other good burn'y things. as so, it may be quite some number of cycles before nature sorts out the mess. if at all ... ever.

Only YOU can prevent forest fires !
but just because you can, does not always mean you should ....

ultra-long term fire prevention is maybe another of those things our gov't sold us, that perhaps are not so great an idea.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Fire on 08/25/2013 13:12:26 MDT Print View

"ultra-long term fire prevention is maybe another of those things our gov't sold us"

I think it's more like that people demanded that the government prevent forest fires

Right now, if the government tries to let a fire burn, they face huge pressure to stop it

Maybe one of the weaknesses of a democracy?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Re: Fire on 08/25/2013 15:17:13 MDT Print View

"so, if in the 25 yrs since it last burned, and that 1987 was FAR to long in coming and it killed a lot of the trees, then what else will be there besides "undergrowth". it can't all be water'y ferns and such. it's going to be brush and dry 'd out thistles and other good burn'y things. as so, it may be quite some number of cycles before nature sorts out the mess. if at all ... "

So if 25 yo burn areas are this intense then how does the west ever recover from the massive burn areas that keep occurring? I believe Postholer posted that a full 41% of the first 700 miles of the PCT has burned in the last 13 years. If it takes several generations to get the forest back into a sustainable condition then is it possible to keep it from burning over that long period of time? I'm glad I was able to hike the PCT while there are still trees left on it!