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Thread: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

  1. #1

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    National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    Last edited by John Kasaian; 31-Aug-2021 at 15:40.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

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    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    All closed around here. Our main highway east (299) was closed for a week -- now only open at night with pilot car every 3 hours (both directions at once). 170,000 acres have burnt/is burning along it...with a new fire to the west...just a 1000 acres right now, but next to a small town...and lot of homes between the two fires.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    Release Date: Sep 7, 2020

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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed


  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    Unfortunately, formal rules must apply where common sense doesn't. Smoke is nearly everywhere in a very unhealthy sense, and why certain Natl Forests and BLM lands were not closed earlier surprises me, because the fire risk is extreme throughout the mid-elevation pine zone. The air is good here due to all the wind blowing smoke away from us inland. But that fact also equates to red flag conditions over inland hills, and has especially grim connotations for the Tahoe basin at the moment. Lk Tahoe might look pristine in postcards, but it probably has a greater population tucked back into the woods at the southern end than any other resort area of California (now under evacutation orders). The Nevada side is where the big hotels and casinos are; but they're better insulated from fire risk, and not amidst forest. The ski resort per se was spared, but ski runs are between and somewhat above forest, so are also easier to defend. As bad as all this is, there are still unburnt sections of California easily capable of million acre fires in future years, and in fact, analogous settings throughout the West.

    Unlike last year, there have been no large fires in the Bay Area this year. So most weeks, I have been able to get out and at least enjoy this area, especially Pt Reyes. Don't know if I'll get a real vacation-style break at the end of Sept or Oct or not. Just gotta wait and see. Almost no place inland to escape the smoke at the moment. And this smoke-generating Tahoe Fire, which they thought they nearly had under control, might now reinvent itself as an even bigger monster due to high winds. Some places just should never have been so developed in the first place, and the current drought plus massive pine beetle infestation makes ongoing fire risk far far worse.

    Just because Yosemite NP remains technically open to visitation (by reservation only) doesn't mean you're going to escape the smoke there. Not only is smoke arriving from the big fires, but there have been numerous small fires within Park boundaries. Conditions on east side of the Range are also quite bad, and all FS and Wilderness land now zoned off that direction too. Only the arrival serious rain or snow storms will mitigate the risk. But fires now potentially develop lower down nearly year round. It's a new era, and not only for California, but many places in the world. Giant fires on multiple continents in the past few years. Ecologically, Australia was probably hit the worst.

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    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    This is current (I hope). ...
    I did not click on the OP's link -- just quickly checked local info sources. But it is an interesting comparison to last year...though I am wondering if the 2020 closures were also related to Covid.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    Last year's covid closures only related to certain developed campgrounds due to staffing issues, as well as to NF offices. Road restrictions were either related to active fires or hazardous conditions and cleanup issues afterwards. I don't recall any preemptive closures in terms of fire risk prevention. So this year it's quite different. It stuns me that rules have been so lax in the past, especially in the lower and mid elevations where summer fire has long been considerable risk even in ordinary years. Just posting a Smokey the Bear slogan on a tree here and there, hoping people will put two and two together, doesn't quite do it.

    A portion of the east side of the Sierra within California lies under Carson-Humboldt NF jurisdiction, which primarily covers Nevada mountainous areas instead. In that case, Level 2 restrictions apply, and not Level 3 implying total closure. But any kind of camping or backpacking stove or fire is forbidden, and due to this zone being especially hard hit with smoke from the Tahoe Fire to the north of it, for all practical purposes wouldn't be a sensible destination right now anyway.

    I dread seeing the evening news tonite, the way these winds are behaving. But having grown up around forest fires, I know all too well that a cozy little (or big) cabin surrounded by woods might not be a great idea. And there are lots and lots of those all around Tahoe, which is in fact a mid-elevation area in the pine belt, and quite susceptible.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 31-Aug-2021 at 15:02.

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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Last year's covid closures only related to certain developed campgrounds due to staffing issues, as well as to NF offices. Road restrictions were either related to active fires or hazardous conditions and cleanup issues afterwards. I don't recall any preemptive closures in terms of fire risk prevention. So this year it's quite different. It stuns me that rules have been so lax in the past, especially in the lower and mid elevations where summer fire has long been considerable risk even in ordinary years. Just posting a Smokey the Bear slogan on a tree here and there, hoping people will put two and two together, doesn't quite do it.

    A portion of the east side of the Sierra within California lies under Carson-Humboldt NF jurisdiction, which primarily covers Nevada mountainous areas instead. In that case, Level 2 restrictions apply, and not Level 3 implying total closure. But any kind of camping or backpacking stove or fire is forbidden, and due to this zone being especially hard hit with smoke from the Tahoe Fire to the north of it, for all practical purposes wouldn't be a sensible destination right now anyway.

    I dread seeing the evening news tonite, the way these winds are behaving. But having grown up around forest fires, I know all too well that a cozy little (or big) cabin surrounded by woods might not be a great idea. And there are lots and lots of those all around Tahoe, which is in fact a mid-elevation area in the pine belt, and quite susceptible.
    The local report is that the smoke is getting funneled to the East side right now because of a trough over N California. For how long? Until the wind currents change.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: National Forests in CA temporarily closed

    Very unusual for this time of year. Our worry here is when the inland and coastal temps equalize, and the sea breeze toward lands stops. That's typical of October, but also briefly happened last week, and smoke from the Caldor and northern fires started settling in here too, though our place fortunately got very little of it. East side of Sierra smoke has been bad quite awhile, ever since the Caldor fire began, even severe or officially at the hazard level. Prior to that, the Tamarack Fire slightly to the south burnt clear over onto the eastern slope. It siphons right through those passes back down the other side, settling in the valleys and well south of Mono Basin. These east-flowing winds just accentuate that process. And once they finally put this one out, a whole other big fire might begin. It's hard to make plans.

    What I personally witnessed last year is how the thermal clouds have gotten so big that they push smoke clear over the crest of the Range, and not just through passes. Smoke over 17,000 ft high was spilling right over the summit of Whitney, and that was before the monster Creek fire with its thermal cloud approaching 70,000 ft high. This year, so much smoke is reaching the upper atmosphere from multiple large fires in different states that it's affecting most of the country. If it doesn't arrive from one direction, it will from another.

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