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Topic: NEARLY 40 PERCENT OF RIM FIRE LAND A MOONSCAPE, Seriously bad news.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 18 2013, 10:40 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://bigstory.ap.org/article....onscape

They're doing the burned area emergency rehab and assessment:

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A fire that raged in forest land in and around Yosemite National Park has left a contiguous barren moonscape in the Sierra Nevada mountains that experts say is larger than any burned in centuries.

The fire has consumed about 400 square miles, and within that footprint are a solid 60 square miles that burned so intensely that everything is dead, researchers said.

"In other words, it's nuked," said Jay Miller, senior wildland fire ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service. "If you asked most of the fire ecologists working in the Sierra Nevada, they would call this unprecedented."

Smaller pockets inside the fire's footprint also burned hot enough to wipe out trees and other vegetation.

In total, Miller estimates that almost 40 percent of the area inside the fire's boundary is nothing but charred land. Other areas that burned left trees scarred but alive....."
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 18 2013, 10:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Really tragic.  Reminds me of the Yellowstone fires of 88. On the bright side, we're starting to see some real signs of regrowth and recovery in Yellowstone. But it will never be the same, at least in our lifetime.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 18 2013, 11:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Fire is a part of nature.  Look at St. Helen's.  It will not be barren forever.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 18 2013, 11:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Sep. 18 2013, 7:59 pm)
QUOTE
Really tragic.  Reminds me of the Yellowstone fires of 88. On the bright side, we're starting to see some real signs of regrowth and recovery in Yellowstone. But it will never be the same, at least in our lifetime.

Love this time of year.

They got snow today! All sorts of road closures due to the snow popping up on my Yellowstone feed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 18 2013, 11:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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Severe soil damage occurred on just 7 percent of the land inside the fire's footprint, said officials with the federal Burned Area Environmental Response team.


Definitely a silver lining.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 12:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm glad the soil damage wasn't any worse.  In some of the big AZ fires in the last 10 years, huge swaths of the organic horizon were obliterated.  After that, rain washed away much mineral soil, down to the bedrock in places.

I hope the burned Sierra escapes such a fate.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 12:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Sep. 18 2013, 10:06 pm)
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I'm glad the soil damage wasn't any worse.  In some of the big AZ fires in the last 10 years, huge swaths of the organic horizon were obliterated.  After that, rain washed away much mineral soil, down to the bedrock in places.

I hope the burned Sierra escapes such a fate.

After two years in a row of catastrophic fires here in CO, with most burn scars reduced to bare soils, and the following summers seeing catastrophic mud flows down the scars, closing major infrastructures  and loss of lives, I hope your beloved stomping grounds can farewell ....

I got to drive through a 60 mile swath of homes effected by the Floods on CO today..... Hard, REALLY!!! hard to see such devastation well out on the "flat lands ".


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 8:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was never aware that soil can be damaged. How exactly does it affect it? Does it destroy fertility by the heat converting the minerals to something unusable?
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 9:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(treelinebackpacker @ Sep. 19 2013, 6:20 am)
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I was never aware that soil can be damaged. How exactly does it affect it? Does it destroy fertility by the heat converting the minerals to something unusable?

Soil normally has fungi and the resulting humic acid which microscopically "binds" nutrients for plant roots.  It takes time to reestablish.  Not impossible but it will take time.  The big problem can be erosion due to snowmelt and then the rainy season(s).  The burn response teams normally put down annuals to try to start rebuilding the soil (fast growing natives and barley according to some news articles)


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 11:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Much of this fire was in very steep terrain, and the winter rains are coming.  It really is very sad.  You can also expect the erosion here to seriously damage fish populations in the Tuolumne and Clavey Rivers.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 1:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Although much of the area had previously burned a few decades ago, the areas inside Yosemite were magnificent towering old growth forests.   I've hiked in some of the areas and it is sickening.  Am wondering why the Tulolumne County DA and USFS  investigation into the "hunter" that caused the holocaust has taken so long?  They provided minimal information on Sept 5, but nothing since and there has not been an arrest.  Makes one wonder who this "hunter" is that they are being so quiet about.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 3:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Why the investigation has taken so long??  Well, it's just that, an investigation.  And I've worked on a lot of fires, and I thought that was pretty quick for that info to be released.  

It'll recover - maybe not in our lifetimes, but we're just blips.  I work in an area that was burned over twice by the Grand Prix Fire 10 years ago.  It's amazing how fast it is growing back and how resilient nature is.  So many of our Western species are adapted to fire.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 6:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Its when the soil is sterilized nothing comes back..... luckily not a large proportion of a fire sterilizes soil.

There are areas in Yellowstone that are still not showing much sign of reveg, will be quite a few more years before it responds.  And then it may not be trees but forbs, grass and brush.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 19 2013, 7:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great article about the complexities of wild fires

www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/magazine/into-the-wildfire.html


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 20 2013, 1:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Reread some news on this today and noticed I had missed an important section,

"The Rim Fire has burned 77,000 acres in wilderness areas in the northeast corner of Yosemite, but only 7 percent of that area was considered high intensity that would result in tree mortality, said Chris Holbeck, a resource biologist for the National Park Service.

It really burned here much like a prescribed fire would to a large degree because of land management practices," Holbeck said. "Fire plays a natural part of that system. It can't all be old growth forests, though Yosemite holds some of the oldest trees in the Sierra."


That relates the old growth within Yosemite was not as impacted as forest in Stanislaus National Forest and private lands which are outside the park that reflect the 40% figure.  Little of the area outside the park was old growth but rather either historically logged forests or areas that have historically burned.   For more than a decade, the park has been performing controlled burns each year, especially along roads.  Also the nature of the old growth forest with its lower amounts of brush and smaller trees below canopies, likely burned less hot and spread more slowly.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 12:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A very good read  - the Ecological Importance of the Rim Fire

http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/opinion....f4.html

"The new scientific data is telling us that we need not fear fire in our forests. Fire is doing important and beneficial ecological work and we need more of it, including the occasional large, intense fires. Nor do we need to balance home protection with the restoration of fire’s role in our forests. The two are not in conflict. We do, however, need to muster the courage to transcend our fears and outdated assumptions about fire. Our forest ecosystems will be better for it."


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 12:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"approximately 56% of the 253 000 acres assessed within the fire perimeter are either unburned or received a low-severity burn 37% sustained a burn of a moderate severity and approximately 7% burned at a high severity"

From the final BAER assessment

http://goldrushcam.com/sierras....4-2013-


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 1:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Did they ever identify the idiot hunter who is suspected of starting the fire?

Just wondering.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 2:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes, they have the hunter's name, it's not being released pending further investigation

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 3:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice post Tarol (the Calaveras Enterprise one above on the ecological importance of the fire).

Thoughtful and thought provoking. Well worth a peek, read.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 4:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Read Mr Hanson's article.  As a person without any forest expertise but rather a lover of mountain environments , am not a fan of monstrously large fires like the Rim Fire or McNally Fire.  Especially when it burns old growth forest areas leaving them wastelands.  Wanna burn those areas, do it during transition to raining season when it just burns slowly in small chunks of forest.   Rim Fire will make a vast area ugly and rather useless over most of our lifetimes.  Indeed 50 years from now will start looking like a young forest and there will be a period when there are more animals than now.    But then here in California there are already large areas of forest that have burned during my lifetime that are in fact undergoing the transitions he talks about.  Actually there has probably been more burned acreage than would have naturally occurred because a lot of the lower elevation forest areas that burn like the Rim Fire are human caused because lightning is uncommon.   The lifetimes of forests are longer than we human lifetimes, more often hundreds of years.  We certainly don't need MOST of our forests burned for the reasons suggested within single human lifetimes.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 5:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Having grown up at Yellowstone and now living in CA for nearly 30 years I can say one huge difference between the two is the length of a growing season. Old trees in Yellowstone are still small because they just don't have time for much progress in that short warm season.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 26 2013, 5:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE



Specific area reports:
Popular campgrounds along the Tuolumne River -- a green strip surrounded by fire-blackened soil and vegetation -- are largely intact but may be dangerous because of all the dead trees.
"God's Bath" swimming hole, cherished for its granite cliffs and cold, deep, emerald water, was preserved.
Some Native American areas burned, such as sites with rock mortars and scatterings of flaked stone toolmaking material, but can be protected.
A historic U.S. National Forest guard station was destroyed.
Rock Garden Rapids, a favorite among kayakers, is threatened by a downed tree. Winter kayakers can float the South Fork of the Tuolumne River but should be aware of hazardous trees.
Critical habitat for rainbow trout and yellow-legged frogs in the Clavey River may suffer from erosion, but it's outside the "high burn" area. Less essential waterways, such as Granite Creek, lost willows and alders that keep water cool for fish, frogs and turtles. Happily for humans, much poison oak was lost.
The two main paved access routes -- Cottonwood and Cherry Lake roads -- will remain closed until repaired. Lumsden Road also is closed.
Source: U.S. Forest Service Burn Area Emergency Rehabilitation team and firefighting teams
HOW TO HELP
The Tuolumne River Trust, with offices in San Francisco, Sonora and Modesto, is seeking donations to help restore stretches of the river not repaired by the federal government. To help, go to www.tuolumne.org/content

From: http://www.mercurynews.com/science....erosion


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