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(Grist)   How wildfires outpaced plans to rake the forests   (grist.org) divider line
    More: Sad, Forestry, Sierra Nevada, National Forests of California, Controlled burn, Project management, California, Twofer-Pillikin forest health project, state of California  
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1393 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Sep 2021 at 5:24 PM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



20 Comments     (+0 »)
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2021-09-25 2:40:15 PM  
Even with billions of dollars, how the hell can you clear out millions of square acres of underbrush? Where would you even put it? Because wherever it ends up, that's your new fire area.
 
2021-09-25 3:04:45 PM  

Lsherm: Even with billions of dollars, how the hell can you clear out millions of square acres of underbrush? Where would you even put it? Because wherever it ends up, that's your new fire area.


Generally it's chipped and deteriorates into the forest ground becoming dirt.
 
2021-09-25 3:23:45 PM  

Lsherm: Even with billions of dollars, how the hell can you clear out millions of square acres of underbrush? Where would you even put it? Because wherever it ends up, that's your new fire area.


Right, and the forests need occasional fire to sweep through as part of the vegetation lifecycle. The indigenous peoples of these areas learned this thousands of years ago. For those who choose to live in the forest in parts of the world where 6-month droughts are the norm, this is the risk they take--even without climate change making everything way worse than it used to be.

Of course, with climate change increasing drought risks combined with people setting fires intentionally and unintentionally, living in the western wooded areas is becoming impossible.
 
2021-09-25 5:26:48 PM  
Grist? Didn't they used to have the goriest shiat on the interwebs? Or was that ogrist?
 
2021-09-25 5:39:55 PM  

make me some tea: Lsherm: Even with billions of dollars, how the hell can you clear out millions of square acres of underbrush? Where would you even put it? Because wherever it ends up, that's your new fire area.

Right, and the forests need occasional fire to sweep through as part of the vegetation lifecycle. The indigenous peoples of these areas learned this thousands of years ago. For those who choose to live in the forest in parts of the world where 6-month droughts are the norm, this is the risk they take--even without climate change making everything way worse than it used to be.

Of course, with climate change increasing drought risks combined with people setting fires intentionally and unintentionally, living in the western wooded areas is becoming impossible.


It's not just the wooded areas. Talent, Oregon was almost completely destroyed last year by an out of control brushfire. And a lot of the large California fires have begun as brushfires in rough terrain and spread to the wooded areas
 
2021-09-25 5:46:17 PM  
California is long, skinny, and sits next to a humongous body of water.  Just put some sprinklers in.
 
2021-09-25 5:46:18 PM  
We shoulda took lessons from the Finns.

i.redd.itView Full Size
 
2021-09-25 5:48:28 PM  
Raking is obsolete and too time consuming.  
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2021-09-25 5:49:19 PM  
Virgin old-growth forests do not have a problem with too much underbrush. There isn't enough light at the forest floor to support an understory. The only reason we have to "manage" forests is because we cut down all of the old-growth. Throw in climate change and you have a completely broken ecosystem.
 
2021-09-25 5:50:10 PM  

bughunter: We shoulda took lessons from the Finns.

[i.redd.it image 850x444]


Damn it.  Great minds.  See you in the woods.
 
2021-09-25 6:02:35 PM  
Rake News!
 
2021-09-25 6:14:05 PM  
politicalpunchline.comView Full Size
 
2021-09-25 6:15:37 PM  

CordycepsInYourBrain: Virgin old-growth forests do not have a problem with too much underbrush. There isn't enough light at the forest floor to support an understory. The only reason we have to "manage" forests is because we cut down all of the old-growth. Throw in climate change and you have a completely broken ecosystem.


Not to mention woodlands cut down for urban sprawl.
 
2021-09-25 7:07:25 PM  

CordycepsInYourBrain: Virgin old-growth forests do not have a problem with too much underbrush. There isn't enough light at the forest floor to support an understory. The only reason we have to "manage" forests is because we cut down all of the old-growth. Throw in climate change and you have a completely broken ecosystem.


Very little of North America was "virgin".  Everyone who wasn't a wackadoodle thumper Puritan realized that the American wilderness was hilariously more managed than European forests.  Several commented upon how North American forests were more like European parklands than European forests.  Because native groups tended to be almost monomaniacally dedicated to clearing and burning undergrowth to allow them to practice their version of agriculture beneath the trees - or just to keep a random lightning strike from burning out their village.  They had been in the Americans for at least 15,000 years - and had not spent the entire time all huddled around one oak tree hoping to catch one stray acorn to feed their whole tribe.  They had been practicing serious forestry the whole damned time.  American forests were about as "virgin" as a retired Times Square hooker - or so bloody isolated as to be Fairyland.
 
2021-09-25 7:08:13 PM  

CordycepsInYourBrain: Virgin old-growth forests do not have a problem with too much underbrush. There isn't enough light at the forest floor to support an understory. The only reason we have to "manage" forests is because we cut down all of the old-growth. Throw in climate change and you have a completely broken ecosystem.


Unclear who funnied you and ran off, but this bears repeating.

Do some image searches for 1800s forestry and logging, just look at the trees they are cutting down. You don't have to read anything to understand what the forests in North America used to look like.

That's not to say that we have no forests left and that every tree is dated 1900 and later, because you don't need to clearcut everything to make money on volume when you can fell the massive trees that were there originally. All of the big ones across the south and midwest are gone though, the low hanging fruit as it were. Same for most of of the west coast too, minus a few pockets due to inaccessible terrain at the time. Helps that some the earliest national parks are forests are around there too.

North American big tree old growth forests went the way of the Passenger Pidgeon. A seemingly endless natural resource depleted by the industrial revolution. Now, you can argue about if that was worth it, who's fault it really was, the exact environmental impact and so on; but you can't dispute that it happened.
 
2021-09-25 7:39:33 PM  

Lsherm: Even with billions of dollars, how the hell can you clear out millions of square acres of underbrush? Where would you even put it? Because wherever it ends up, that's your new fire area.


And it's burned.  Huge slash piles.  I've seen slash piles in Oregon that were as big as.....a big suburban house.  3000 square feet.  So if you don't burn it, it's just sitting there.  Waiting for the next forest fire.

Now if we'd been on the ball, we would have set up  some sort of biofuels system while we were doing the logging, and had real biofuels, instead of an industry to subsidize corn growers.
But of course that was in the before times and nobody worried about anything.  Except the spotted owl, because fark that spotted owl.
 
2021-09-25 10:15:21 PM  
"Over the course of years..."
Mother Nature grew fuel faster than the bureaucracy could move paper.
Fortunately, that paperwork doesn't tend to litter the forest floor, or there really would have been big problems.
 
2021-09-25 10:43:53 PM  

make me some tea: Lsherm: Even with billions of dollars, how the hell can you clear out millions of square acres of underbrush? Where would you even put it? Because wherever it ends up, that's your new fire area.


Right, and the forests need occasional fire to sweep through as part of the vegetation lifecycle. The indigenous peoples of these areas learned this thousands of years ago. For those who choose to live in the forest in parts of the world where 6-month droughts are the norm, this is the risk they take--even without climate change making everything way worse than it used to be.


A lot of the people here are too young to remember that burning off brush used to be common, and it was not unusual when driving through the countryside to see smoky areas scattered around.

And that was after farmers, foresters, and conservationists were doing most of the controlled burns. Before that, the natives were burning off the underbrush every few years in most places. Virginia, and much of the eastern seaboard, was savanna -- scattered tall trees with grassy cover and some brush. Europeans could ride wagons through the forest, and decide whether to shoot the bison/wood buffalo scattered around. The Great Plains were grassland with oak savanna near streams. When a native guide led explorers near Yellowstone and vines were growing over the trail, he'd set a fire and keep walking on, leaving the fire to take down the excess brush in the area. Mariners approaching North America could often tell by the smoke smell when they were getting close to land.

And that was long after the native population crash after 1492, when the woodland went nuts for a while. The North American natives had been tending the forest as part of their agriculture probably since around 8,000 BC, when agriculture broke out around the world.
 
2021-09-26 2:20:35 AM  

WelldeadLink: A lot of the people here are too young to remember that burning off brush used to be common, and it was not unusual when driving through the countryside to see smoky areas scattered around.


In California, the Air Quality Management District pretty much put a stop to all controlled burns.  The result was a huge amount of fuel built up on the forest floors so when that spark finally came along, it burned hotter and faster, resulting in the complete loss of forests instead of the the natural quick burns that are a normal part of the forest ecosystem.
 
2021-09-26 3:23:43 AM  
Add in the fact that:
These areas are prone to extended droughts
Most have not had natural fires in 40-50 years
Extremely rugged terrain makes "management" of the type under discussion difficult or impossible without damaging the ecosystem more

Nobody is going to bring heavy equipment into the high Sierra without building roads into the backcountry that would do more harm to the forest than any wildfire will ever do. Wildfires are nature's way of clearing space after droughts have killed a lot of trees and piled up a lot of dead undergrowth and putting some nutrients back into the soil.

Don't like it? Don't look at it. That's kind of how things work up in the hills. The Caldor fire burned in an area that hasn't had any kind of fire at all since my family first moved there in 1981. It was way overdue for a big fire, and it needed one. Even "managing" the forest wouldn't have helped much.
 
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