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Thread: wildfire season already

  1. #21
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: wildfire season already

    Somehow I missed this post

    Yes, Thank you

    Our generation all lost family and friends

    RIP

    Quote Originally Posted by tgtaylor View Post
    Back during the Vietnam War I served with the 1st Air Cavalry Division and we did so many air assaults that we were awarded the Air Medal. You supposed to get a oak leaf cluster for each 25 missions but we (ordinary infantrymen) never got any oak leafs – apparently the count was kept only for the senior officers because I've only seen battalion majors and colonels with oak leafs and I had made as many as 3 air assaults in one day! The choppers would ever land or even hover. As the “jumping off” point was reached I would get up off the floor and hop out on the skids holding on the the chopper with one hand so that I wouldn't fall off. Fast forward to about 10 years ago I was working near the Pleasanton Fair grounds. After sitting all morning in an office I usually spend my1 hour lunch breaks walking and one day they had a “Stand Down” for homeless vets at the fair grounds so I walked over there to check it out. They had a vintage Huey from the war there and it appeared incredibly small from what I remembered. I couldn't see how a squad of us got into it. Of course I was decades older and a few pounds heaver but still...

    Logging oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico in good weather we would put our tools on a crew boat for transport and take a helicopter to the rig – about 100 miles out in the Gulf. Usually the rig personnel just started pulling the pipe out of the from the hole and that meant that we could get something to eat from the Galley and some sleep before being awakened that our tools have arrived and the pipe was out of the hole. Once started we couldn't stop until the job was done because with the drilling pipe out of the hole no drilling was going on. But during bad weather – weather that prevented the helicopter from flying - we went along with the tools on the crew boat – about a 100 foot vessel. I can take the swaying to and fro in rough seas feeling nauseous but as soon as the boat makes that first jump out of the water on the large swells I make a bee line for the head where I remain for the duration holding on to the sink with both hands and dry heaving. This went on for hours, like 10 or more, until the rig was reached at which time the Captain would cut the motors and try to maneuver under a sling that was dropped by a crane operator on the rig. I could tell by the sound of the motors where the position of the sling was over the deck. At the precise moment I would run from the head and out onto the deck would get a bead on the sling swinging latterly across the back of the boat and, again at the precise moment, run and grab a hold of it and wrap it around both arms so that I wouldn't fall into the Gulf. That was the go single for everyone else. As soon as I was on that sling the sickness would pass.

    Thomas
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  2. #22
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: wildfire season already

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Update. We're now official in red flag conditions comparable to October - first time ever, by a country mile.
    May 9, 2021: Nothing significant to report in the forests of Washington state.

    The calm before the fire storm, I fear.

    "Before lighting any fire, please check with local authorities first," our nervous DNR is pleading.

  3. #23
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: wildfire season already

    We're lucky in the East. We usually have loads of rain and much fewer forest fires. I think the last time we had an official drought in New York was back in the 1960's. They stopped serving water with your meals at restaurants unless you asked for it. I think that's when they started requiring low-flow restrictors on showerheads and reduced gallons for toilets. They've been getting stuffed up ever since.
    NYS Forest fires history. https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/42438.html

  4. #24
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: wildfire season already

    On a extended quickie loop trip necessary to sign some documents I visited "ground zero" of the monstrous Creek Fire last summer, and even camped there last night. From a distance everything looks like an all-out nuclear war had been there. But up close, there is already a stunning variety of wildflowers, exceptionally lush grass sprouting out, ferns, plus abundant wildlife - the creeks full of several frog species, more kinds of birds than usual, even young curious gray squirrels, so their nests somehow survived, deer, and not doubt mtn lions behind them. The dead pines and manzanita were taken out so fast that meadows with ancient oaks appear untouched, even though the whole perimeter is ash, as if the fire had no interest in other fuels. Streams and waterfalls are still flowing well, and a decent snowpack is visible on the Ritter Range in the distance. It's a stunning contrast to the Central Valley below, where the conditions are already visibly and officially drier than anything on record for this time of year.

    Very long day today returning back, but I got up around 5:00 AM before the sun rose over the peaks, when all the photographic color was at still its best.

    Alan - all bets are off once the polar ice cap melts. That could open a pandora's box far worse than what we've got now. All the ocean and atmospheric currents will somehow be seriously be affected, with the potential for drastic demographic shifts as water and agriculture itself shifts. But I can't solve that. Keeping my cats happily fed tonite is about as far as my pay grade goes.

  5. #25

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    Re: wildfire season already

    I was perhaps a bit hysterical with my original post - things seem to have gotten under control quickly.

    I've been out to Lava Beds National Monument, much of which burned last summer, and I have the same report as Drew. A month ago it was just scorched earth, now there are small green things growing almost everywhere.

  6. #26
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: wildfire season already

    There are a lot of pioneering species, both animal and plant, eager to take advantage of more open conditions. Those dense dead pines were largely a monoculture which sprouted up after the intense logging of the 1880's and then 1950's through 60's. Prior to that, both natural lightning fires and annual burns started by Indians for sake of open meadows and more game like deer was involved for probably millennia. Now the fires burn too hot, with too much fuel. But ironically, the only thing that can stop the terrible pine beetle infestations is catastrophic fire itself. In some situations, the cycle of new growth starts up fairly quickly. In other areas, you get deeply sterilized soil and mudslides which make it hard for colonizing species, along with a much drier ecosystem devoid of effective water retention. A lot depends on the specific geology as well as the intensity of the fire. In the southern Sierra, there are many granite outcrops and bare peaks which provide islands amidst the firestorm, especially above 7000 ft.

    But when massive fires reach developed areas, they turn into an entirely different kind of animal with artificial fuels like plastics, aluminum, and propane tanks. The couple I sold my mountain property to owns the propane business for a big chunk of the foothills and resort areas above. They were obviously concerned that many of their customers were displaced. But now they are busier than ever installing new tanks and lines. Its probably the best time to move back into those woods, since the most of the dangerous variety of fire fuel brush is going to be gone for the next 40 yrs until it's mature and ripe for fire again. But getting insurance policies renewed won't be easy.

    I'll visit again next Spring when I have time to use some heavy artillery LF gear. The spring bloom amidst fresh ash nutrients will probably be even more intense then. I'm also eager for them to reopen trails in the burn area above the beach over here at Pt Reyes, which go insane with flowers for the first five or so years after a fire, especially purple fireweed. Just want to see it. Getting the right shot is optional. Have plenty of color chromes and negs to print from already. I'm way more interested in complex pattern plays and sophisticated hue interactions than anything picture-bookish or postcardy. Multicolored ash and clay in the same scene often provides the neutral relief from saturated colors necessary for a complex dance of the compositional elements.

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