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Thread: The River Fire

  1. #1

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    Last edited by John Kasaian; 12-Jul-2021 at 05:57.
    "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

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The River Fire

    Youch ! I know those backroads extremely well and have often photographed along them in Spring, last time just three months ago. It's all well below deep timber or even contiguous chaparral, so will spread as a fast grass fire unlikely to kill many oaks, and will green up again beautifully next Spring. Drought-stressed digger pines probably won't fare as well; and of course, the limited number of residences and barns back in there are at risk. The bigger worry is if the fire spreads up as far as Deadwood Mtn beside Oakhust, which has grown back up these past 60 yrs and is ripe for another catastrophic burn. In my first year of High School, all the kids from Ahwahnee and Nipinawasee were homeless due to that fire. In that case, it was a serial arsonist.

    Because the school district was so big back then - all the way from Bootjack in the north down to remote Blackrock on the Kings River - there were still dorms facilities available to kids. These were originally built for sake kids up the hill in places like Big Creek and Huntington Lk, prior to efficient modern snowplows. Of course, very few people other than yourself, John, can appreciate just how far a place like Blackrock is, hours away on a tiny twisty one lane dirt road carved across the face of a cliff.

    I have a nephew outside of Bootjack, who has gotten hit with bad smoke nearly every year in a row now. A couple times, fire crews were stationed in his meadow, suitable for helicopter landings. He's still trying to recover from damage to his house and barn/office when utility poles crashing last winter down did the domino effect to nearby trees, all weakened ironically by incompetent PG&E fire mitigation crews. Here on the coast, things are being done much more seriously, and quite competently, because they know they'll be sued otherwise. They are paying for the damage and remodel expenses of my nephew's structures. But it's still quite a headache.

    Here firecrackers are still the villain. Two more houses burned down last night, along with several cars, due to illegal fireworks in Antioch. It wasn't quite so bad here this year, though I did have to yell at a neighbor kid for lighting one on their dry lawn and handing it to his little sister. In Oakland, Martinez, and San Jose things got wilder than ever, and at least 30 houses have caught fire, some burning completely down. Why fireworks are legal anywhere in California is a mystery to me. But they have busted a few huge illegal fireworks smugglers. Probably everyone by now has seen on TV the explosion of a reinforced containment vehicle itself.

  3. #3

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    Re: The River Fire

    Grew to 9,500 acres overnight with 15% containment according to:
    https://sierranewsonline.com/river-f...cident-update/
    "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

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The River Fire

    The early season wildflowers are generally spectacular after a range burn like that, if enough rain comes next winter. Today my problem is ironically the cold. Wearing a coat in the house right now, getting ready to head over to Pt Reyes, where I'll probably have to stay in the woods out of the wind. With a 50 degree temp differential between here near the water and just 20 minutes inland, that cold ocean air really gets siphoned in. That should start to cool things down a little bit further inland later today. They're still looking for a missing jogger who tried running a ridge trail at maybe 113F or even higher; probably a heat stroke or heart attack victim. He left his cell phone and water bottle behind in the car. And we lost power last nite due to transmission lines disrupted by a current southern Oregon fire. How is "beach weather" there in Fresno? Probably even the tarantulas have ordered AC units for their burrows.

  5. #5

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    Re: The River Fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    The early season wildflowers are generally spectacular after a range burn like that, if enough rain comes next winter. Today my problem is ironically the cold. Wearing a coat in the house right now, getting ready to head over to Pt Reyes, where I'll probably have to stay in the woods out of the wind. With a 50 degree temp differential between here near the water and just 20 minutes inland, that cold ocean air really gets siphoned in. That should start to cool things down a little bit further inland later today. They're still looking for a missing jogger who tried running a ridge trail at maybe 113F or even higher; probably a heat stroke or heart attack victim. He left his cell phone and water bottle behind in the car. And we lost power last nite due to transmission lines disrupted by a current southern Oregon fire. How is "beach weather" there in Fresno? Probably even the tarantulas have ordered AC units for their burrows.
    We're having triple digits across the valley---heck there were even triple digits in Yosemite Valley yesterday. It's supposed to cool down to a balmy 99 deg. this week. Bad air from the fire.
    I am seriously into siestas these days.

    According to my sources in Yosemite, the Pavilion at Camp Curry closed so guests at Curry have limited places to eat and so are cooking their own meals, which has always been forbidden at Camp Curry.
    This is keeping the employees busy running herd on the guests. Worse is the guests washing cookware and utensils at the water bibs, leaving their food scraps on the ground.
    "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

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: The River Fire

    The concessioner is playing hardball and the Park is not stepping up to make them. One still pays full price at the lodge but no maid service -- make your own bed and change your own sheets if you want to. Clean your own bathroom.

    Food scraps around the tents -- that won't help the mouse problem.
    "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: The River Fire

    Didn't they learn a thing from the hanta outbreak not terribly long ago? They aren't going to make money if they get sued to pieces if it happens again. The "campground" should either be properly maintained and sanitary, or else outright shut down for covid understaffing reasons, one way or the other. It's hardly a wilderness setting. But this sounds like a test of who is really in charge. But that kind of contest with commercial interests has been going on in Yosemite Valley longer than I've been alive, clear back in fact to even before it was a National Park and still allegedly under State supervision, but actually being overrun with early tourism development.

    John Muir initially worked in a lumber mill near Yosemite Falls, which was an adjunct to the main hotel. They even had their own cattle herds in the Valley and butcher shop. By then, all the remaining Indians in the Valley had been chased out, and regular horse and wagon trains were bringing people in. Big sheep herds were tearing up the meadows higher up, all over the Sierra. It's at that point that John Muir became John Muir. But I still remember big cattle and sheep drives up to the higher meadows each summer. It was only in the late 60's through the 70's that significant areas were zoned off-limits as the Wilderness Act gradually kicked in. Sure makes a difference, even to the critters. In Yos Valley, the coyotes and bears look all obese with mangy dull fur falling out due to an unnatural diet, just like people who eat the same stuff.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 14-Jul-2021 at 10:29.

  8. #8

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    Re: The River Fire

    I hear the fire has been mostly contained.
    That's some slick work by those fire crews!
    Prevailing winds are pushing the smoke to higher elevations and down into Nevada according to the 'puter.
    "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: The River Fire

    A fire broke out in pastureland over in Marin County right where I drove last week. Amazing, because it's been drizzly fog most of the time. But this was apparently just enough inland to dry out quickly. They got it under control the same day; but it's an ominous portent of what could happen later in the season like October when dry winds seriously set in. Fires running along dried-out Delta marshes to the north have also been occurring. I had to drive right through one of those three summers ago. It had no problem instantly leaping the highway. Fortunately, in low grass, the flames weren't very high. Flying embers were the bigger problem - at one point they even jumped the River where it is over 2 miles wide entering the Bay, and ignited a whole other fire.

    When the Deadwood Mtn fire occurred way back in the early 60's, I was hosing down our roof twenty miles from the fire front due to all the falling hot embers. It was like a volcano erupting, but not as bad as the one that ran right behind our property a few years earlier and took out about twenty square miles of chaparral. We had massive fire guards and acres of green around the house, plus an aluminum roof - but still a close call.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: The River Fire

    One rancher always let his cattle 'wander' off his allotment and into the wilderness. Then other ranchers packing in the wilderness during hunting season would complain to me that the meadows were all eaten down by cows and they messed up the springs -- and now they did not have enough feed for their horses and mules. We were bad guys for keeping the cows out and for letting them in...dang gov't never knows what's it's doing!

    Sheep and cattle had already done a number on the wilderness early in the 1900s.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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