Minimizing the impact of fire danger

Eleeski

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When I was a kid, few forests in California and the west were not actively managed for timber. I saw huge swatches of clear cut slicing through many beautiful forests. While those ugly scars saddened me, I was consoled by the quick regrowth in the older clear cuts. Fires were quickly and actively suppressed as a commercial product was at risk.

Now, forests are much more mature with years of growth and fuel. Older trees are somewhat less resilient and have been weakened by drought and disease. There are few clear cuts to stop a fire. Fewer logging roads to access a fire. The resource is less commercial and zero fire is less appropriate for environmental stewardship. A warming climate has made some fires more intense. There will be fires.

I actively manage around my Tahoe houses. The new one has a pretty good chance of surviving a fire as everything is fire resistant. Depends on how hot the neighbor's house gets when it burns (it's construction is stacked kindling).

The older house will burn in a big fire - but it's not worth tearing down and rebuilding just for the fire risk. I weedwhack to keep from becoming the start point of a big fire after the cigarette butt grass fire travels up the hill. But the appeal of the house is how it's nestled in the trees. I have to accept the risk. I'm not sure I could legally cut down the trees regardless.

Fire in the mountains is a risk. But most mountain communities have thrived for a long time despite the risk.

Better keep those VWs from adding to the forest fire pollution!

Eric
 

SkiNurse

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I live in an area that requires mitigation: trees have to be a certain distance from the house, diseased trees need to be removed & natural grasses need to be maintained . Even then, it is really hard to find homeowner's insurance. Colorado had a lot more rain last year & the fire danger in my area never was *high* until late September. This year it has already been moderate to high for the two months.
 

crgildart

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Good topic with the 4th in a few days. Class C fireworks are 100% legal, even within city limits here. I've stopped lighting anything that can fly more than about 40-50 feet, keeping everything on our own property. I also keep a hose and sprayer juiced and ready. Most importantly, if it hasn't rained for over a week we don't do anything unless I've sufficiently soaked the lawn with sprinklers first.

I used to go a little bigger when younger and less risk averse. If I had a location on a lake or remote beach to launch over water I'd have more fun with the pyro. Not going to risk it here in the middle of town though..

FWIW we had such hard rain mid week that the crawl space flooded for the first time in years. Looks like we'll get more evening showers each night through the weekend. Stuff should be reasonably moist, not too dry.
 
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Tricia

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We've had a few small fires here near Reno but nothing close and nothing huge.
The Forest Hills Fire is sending some smoke our way, which isn't terrible at this point but its creating some interesting skies.
@DoryBreaux took this shot at sunset last night.
How can such chaos create this beauty?
 

pais alto

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How can such chaos create this beauty?
That's a guilty secret about fires for me - in my years of working on wildfires I saw many, many unexpected stunningly beautiful sights, often in the midst of terrible chaos, from huge runs to mountains glowing quietly in the dark.
 

tromano

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It is a red flag today. Fire is a natural part of wildlands in the intermountian region. The usfs seems to be letting fires burn more than they used to. They still do their part to save communities where threatened.

Living adjacent to wildlands, its kind of like living near the shore in a hurricane area. There are some thing you can do and building the house the right way helps but at the end of the day you want adequate insurance.

When recreating in the BC be aware and follow any fire restrictions as posted.
 
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Tricia

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@pais alto I bet you've seen some extraordinary things.

@SkiNurse @tromano We don't have specific Wildfire Mitigation here in Reno, but homes in close areas around us have significant fire mitigation with stiff fines if you don't take care of your trees and debris. @Jasmine spends countless hours raking pine needles, pine cones and cleaning tree debris every year. Still, all it takes is one person doing something careless and everything goes up in flames.

FWIW, there is an ongoing debate in our neighborhood about fire pits.
We invested in a pretty nice gas fire pit last fall and really enjoy it, but there are neighbors who want their real wood fire pit, and have fought for the right to be able to continue to burn wood in their back yard.
My biggest issues with burning real wood in an area like this are:
  • Real wildfire danger
  • When you're hanging out around a fire pit, you're usually drinking, which is when carelessness can (and often does) occur
  • Even the most careful wood burners can't control random sparks
I moved to Reno in the fall of 2010, which was followed by a huge snow year. When I was cleaning up yard debris in the spring, I wanted to get a real fire pit and just burn the debris, like I had done for years and years in Michigan. All I had seen in Reno was a rainy fall and huge snowy winter so I didn't see what the big deal was. Phil was adamant that we take the debris to the yard waste disposal area.
Within a couple months this area was like a tinder box and I saw exactly what a huge snowy winter looks like in high desert after a couple months of dry heat.
Nothing like Northern Michigan.
 
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Tricia

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Personal fireworks of any kind are banned here.
I wonder how many goofs will be shooting them off.

The Trailhead fire is pushing smoke into our area pretty heavily
http://calfireinformation.weebly.com
 

Core2

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SO glad the monsoon finally started up here in the SW. I hold my breath every summer until it does. We only had one notable fire here in AZ near Show Low which the rain put out over the last few days. Here in AZ the FS let some lightning caused fires burn recently to clear out overgrowth and a bunch of folks in Sedona and Flagstaff complained about the smoke and got pissed off that they let them burn through the Memorial Day holiday. I guess people need a forest fire to almost burn down their house before they wake up a little? I am always thankful when conditions align to allow for those low intensity natural burns. Those keep our forests healthy.
 

tromano

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Personal fireworks of any kind are banned here.
I wonder how many goofs will be shooting them off.

The Trailhead fire is pushing smoke into our area pretty heavily
http://calfireinformation.weebly.com
Utah. It's like People from one street trying to upstage each other with increasingly grand fireworks displays. And it's not even the 4th yet. And July 4 is not the big July fireworks show here. It is just the starter. It will be nonstop fireworks until Pioneer Day July 24.
 

crgildart

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I can understand why fireworks would be banned in places surrounded by bone dry pine needles. I've seen how fast and uncontrollably a patch of pine stray can go up. They've started to ban that as landscaping materials here because entire neighborhoods have caught fire due to one spark from a welder or cigarette butt.

The only reasonably safe place in a forest area to set off some fireworks would be from a sand or dirt beach or dock shooting them over the water. And that's still not eco friendly unless you also clean up the paper and sticks that wash back up on the beach afterwards..
 
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Tricia

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Uh Oh....
Historic Virginia city ended their fireworks show early after they accidentally set a fire.
http://mynews4.com/news/local/virginia-city-fireworks-start-brush-fire

The Virginia City fireworks display was canceled Monday night after the first fireworks that went off started a brush fire.

News 4 photographer John Linn was at the scene and says about 6 fireworks went off and that's when the fire started.

Emergency Management Director Joe Curtis says crews worked throughout the night to contain and extinguish the 1.3 acre fire, and it is 100% contained.

Crews will remain on site throughout the day today monitoring the situation ahead of a Red Flag Warning, and throughout the warning time.
 
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Tricia

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The fire near Squaw Valley is out.
Here is a short video from Truckee Tahoe Radio
 

DanoT

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The Fort McMurray, Alberta fire this spring burned 500k heactres or close to 1.5 million acres, 2400 structures were destroyed (about 10% of the city) and over 80k people evacuated with no deaths. None of the oil fields got engulfed.

I spent 2 weeks in Fort McMoney as it is often called, in the late 70s when things were being built and every Friday night there was a mass exodus to Edmonton, so people there know how to get out of town fast.
 
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Tricia

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DanoT

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I think it was 2003 when we had several big fires in B.C. Homes were lost in Kelowna, as well as saw mill in Barriere, and a fire came within a few kms of Sun Peaks where they used snow guns to soak down the hotels in the village core.

As a result of the above, the provincial government set up a fund to grant $ to small towns to thin out and remove debris wherever forests grow close to settlements. At Sun Peaks they made the tree removal serve as opening up some more tree skiing wherever possible.:yahoo:
 
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