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 Post subject: Big Sur Burning
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:21 pm 
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Feeling grateful
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We the past couple of days down in beaufiful Big Sur, site of one of the major wildfires this past month. I was pretty blown away at the site of all the ash and burnt areas.

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The coastline is still as beautiful as ever, however.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:59 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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:(

Sheesh. I know they say that beauty and new life will come from the ashes, but it's still sad to see.

(Of course, I can only have some peace with a wildfire if it starts of natural causes. Otherwise, :rage: )



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:16 pm 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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I know this is in the coastal range, but it is said that in the 19th century in the Sierra's, a trapper or traveler could ride on a horse down the Sierra's and not get off because of trees and undergrowth. As sad as it is, fire is something that is needed in most forests today. When the Forest Service was created in 1905 it is estimated that in many parts of the Sierra there were an estimated 20 to 55 trees per acre. Today, because of the policy of stopping forest fires in many of these areas we now have 300 to 900 trees per acre. Crowding makes the trees vulnerable to disease, insect pests and to drought. These also mean they are even more susceptible to fire. All of this growth leads to larger fires and fires that burning rapidly.

Way back when (20 years ago) I worked for the Forest Service in CA and the policy of the US Forest Service was beginning to change, from fighting every fire, to containing the fires so they don't hurt towns, endangered plants or habitat of endangered wildlife etc. Basically, it was decided that things needed to burn in order to clear out this underbrush. I know it is sad, but in order to prevent major disasters and fires in the future, fire is needed in order to not only clear out the vast growth, but to allow the forest to thrive.

Voronwë, you make me miss the ocean!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:27 pm 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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All true, and it's why I can make peace with my narrow sighted feelings of sadness over the loss of trees when the fire is a natural one or one that is done as part of forest management. (Do they do that, though, out West? Here, we will occasionally have a deliberate prairie burn, but I think we have a much lower risk of the fire getting out of control.)

I know that, literally, beauty rises from the ashes and it's better, in the long run, for the forest.

(It's also why I advocate for hunting. I don't hunt, personally, but my husband does; I support well-regulated, responsible hunting. I don't think I could kill anything, unless I needed to for food, but I see its value for wildlife management.)

It's the fires that are caused by recklessness or by arson that infuriate me.
(As does poaching!)

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:07 pm 
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bioalchemist
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They do do controlled burns out West, Lali. It's a dicey business though - sometimes, a controlled burn turns into a real wildfire.

Even though a fire is actually a healthy thing for a forest, walking through a burn zone is still a study in devastation. It just feels wrong, somehow.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:12 pm 
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I went to Inverness wilderness a couple years after the devastating wildfires (got a little lost there, actually, because the trail was obliterated). At the time time, it was still a fire-scarred area, barricaded with burned, fallen trunks, but already the young evergreens were coming back, with those shaggy puppy coats they get. And the wildflowers were spectacular.

There is something poignant and heartening about the way life fights its way back.

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‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:28 pm 
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Most of the fires in California this year, including the big Big Sur fires, were caused by lighning strikes, which is very unusual. Some of them were caused by human carelessness, however. And a few were deliberate arson, which really gets my dander up.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:14 pm 
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Aldrig nogen sinde Kvitte
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Arson is a disregard for nature and is simply wrong and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It puts at danger not only nature, but the lives of those firefighters who fight it and wastes resources that could be used constructively elsewhere.

Correction: I worked for the forest service over 25 years ago . . . . time is going by to swiftly.

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1. " . . . (we are ) too engrossed in thinking of everything as a preparation or training or making one fit -- for what? At any minute it is what we are and are doing, not what we plan to be and do that counts."

J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:05 am 
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Lali Beag Bídeach
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You are definitely right, AJ. It's a terrible crime.

(Well, you are right about time going by too swiftly, as well! Sigh.)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:26 am 
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Yellowstone is fighting its way back from the devastating fires of 1988, which burned more than 1200 square miles of the park. We were there in 2005, and much of the park's forest land was still just standing burned snags—but filling in below with undergrowth and sapling trees.

It will probably look the way I remember it from my childhood around the time my grandchildren are my age. :|

It's tough to realize that the cycle of life sometimes means you miss out.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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