Author Topic: July, 2021, West Side Fire  (Read 540 times)

Brad Young

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July, 2021, West Side Fire
« on: July 28, 2021, 07:01:25 PM »
Anyone closer to the event know the status of the fire? The WiFire site just shows a rectangular block of "new within the last 12 hours" fire that is obviously an abstract.

mudworm

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2021, 07:28:08 PM »
Anyone closer to the event know the status of the fire? The WiFire site just shows a rectangular block of "new within the last 12 hours" fire that is obviously an abstract.

As of now (8:24pm), there has not been new update from NPS since it broke the news one hour ago. However, there is one comment on the post made at 8:11pm by a user with a last name Plowman, "It's out! Yea!! Thank you firefighters! I just talked to my dad.." I'm taking this comment as good news, although I'm not super confident about my reading comprehension.

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Tuff Chik

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2021, 07:22:48 AM »
According to CAL Fire, as of 7:30 this morning, 184 acres have burned and the fire is 50% contained.

Jody

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2021, 07:26:09 AM »
I won't believe it is out until about mid-winter. Too many fires this season that were just smoldering and not a threat...until they weren't. Lava Fire (Mt. Shasta/Weed) and Tamarack Fire(Markleeville/Alpine County) are prime examples.

JC w KC redux

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2021, 07:30:00 AM »
Pinnacles encompasses more than 26,000 acres.
It is a fire dependent ecology that is supposed to burn periodically and naturally.
The ancient people that lived in the area knew that.
A century of fire suppression has resulted in a lot of old, unhealthy plant life that should have burned long ago to make way for new, healthier growth. The amounts of unnatural fuel there is astounding.

Most "wild" fires are caused by people.

 

JC w KC redux

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2021, 07:32:06 AM »
I won't believe it is out until about mid-winter. Too many fires this season that were just smoldering and not a threat...until they weren't. Lava Fire (Mt. Shasta/Weed) and Tamarack Fire(Markleeville/Alpine County) are prime examples.

The whole state (and the rest of the western states) are poised to burn year after year for the rest of our lives.

Jody

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2021, 08:05:04 AM »
Quote
A century of fire suppression has resulted in a lot of old, unhealthy plant life that should have burned long ago to make way for new, healthier growth. The amounts of unnatural fuel there is astounding.

Bingo! But of course they'll blame each season's fires on lawnmowers and cow farts.

F4?

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2021, 09:55:35 PM »
Well then, the Westside balconies is off the old list.

I hope they get it out.

Side rant: burn poison oak burn!!!
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F4?

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2021, 08:10:58 PM »
Fire out yet? West side open?

I'm not worthy.

clink

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2021, 09:03:49 AM »
Close to out. If you wait long enough, you may get some glacial polish at Pinnacles.
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Gavin

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2021, 11:46:59 AM »
The west side fire is out - it was mostly contained a few hours after it started thanks to very fast, multi-organization response and favorable wind conditions which helped prevent the fire from getting out of control. Very little of the burned area is actually on park property, but there are noticeable charred areas on either side of the road just outside of the west side entrance.

Fire crews have been continuing to work for the past couple of days to make sure that the fire is completely contained and burning remnants dealt with.

In regards to fire regimes - Pinnacles is dominated by chaparral habitat and not coniferous forest, and fire ecology is different in chaparral habitats. Chaparral is adapted to burn hot but infrequently - at intervals of 30-150 years. So the lack of major fires in recent years is not due to poor management, fire suppression, or fuel buildup - this is jusr the way that chaparral plant communities have evolved to deal with fire over time. Attempts to burn chaparral more frequently - according to 10-20 year intervals - has actually decreased overall diversity of chaparral communities and encouraged expansion of non-native grasses, effectively contributing to type conversion from chaparral to grassland communities in many areas in California. Chaparral communities actually burn "naturally" with much less frequency than certain forest types (like redwood forests). Chaparral wildfires would "naturally" be driven by lightning strikes - which we get very rarely - and would burn with high intensity, quickly burning everything in these habitats. Regrowth is pretty effective in these environments though due to resprouting from roots and fire-adapted seeds lying dormant in the soil for decades.

Basically we have been managing fire ecology incorrectly in both forests and chaparral habitats - too much suppression in forests and too much prescribed or accidental burning in chaparral.

Anyway, back to Pinnacles - Park Service fire crews have been working for the past five years to increase fire clearance areas around building structures and roads for access, and will continue to do so over years to come. The long-term vision - likely many years in the future - is to move staff out of high-risk areas like Bear Gulch, either closer to the east side entrance or (for work) to office spaces outside of the park boundaries. At that point fire crews could mostly just let wildfires burn, while hopefully defending main access roads and historic structures from total destruction.

The park is likely due for more fires given sparks from vehicles on roads next to dried-out grass and other flammable roadside vegetation, but I will admit I am not in any hurry to see vast swaths of the park burn!

mungeclimber

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2021, 04:16:46 PM »
Thx Gavin. Saw your pic on SAR post on Pinns FB page. Good stuff! Huge thx to SAR teams!

Your discussion of the fire regimes makes sense. Oddly enough though, I think that the longer drier season of conifer forests makes it easier to burn more acreage than in the past. As that acreage approaches a higher risk profile for residents that continue to live in the forest, the social pressure on forest managers to do 'full suppression' is coming back. 
On Aid at Pinns... It's all A1 til it crumbles. - Munge

clink

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2021, 06:23:27 AM »
 Thanks Gavin for that info and your take!

 I wondered about a remote game trail I saw last year, heading to a a small seep with a puddle of water that the bees were using(or yellow jackets). What I'm referring to as a "game trail", seemed more established and defined than most and led shortly to an impenetrable stand of chaparral.

 Initially, using my skills as a highly untrained "Unaturalist", I thought the growth became so thick as eventually to block the poor game from using the path(Evil fire suppressioneers!). If that being the case, the path would continue on through the grove, which I did not explore. There is also the possibility that a few of the smaller game trails merge at that point to form a larger trail or that the wider trail wasn't formed by game, perhaps by erosion or other causes.

 The heat, my being not in the best of shape so far from established trails, breaking my belt from over flexing my stomach muscle, and my worry of about not having enough water and keeping my pants up, may have contributed to delirium and slight misinterpretations of reality.

 You should go out there with me Gavin to study the path and chaparral growth. Please bring a small rake, for uncovering evidence.
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Brad Young

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2021, 06:43:16 AM »
^^^

Lots of things have contributed to your delirium. But we've known that.

Gavin, great report and analysis. Thanks.


waldo

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2021, 07:41:50 AM »
Thanks, Gavin! I was wondering if you have any information about the Juniper Canyon fire. I recall it happening about fifty years ago. It was fairly extensive, but all traces disappeared within ten years. 

Clink, we should have a stomach muscle flexing contest. I'll bring the beer.

JC w KC redux

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2021, 08:21:38 AM »

Thanks for the laughs clink and for an encore waldo.

Thanks to you too Gavin, for your in-depth expertise.

My ignorance is exceeded only by my enthusiasm, which for the last 6 months has been at an all time low.

I usually just try to keep my mouth shut. Every once in a while something slips out.
It's nice to know an ill-informed or poorly learned comment can elicit a gold nugget.

I still think they should rename CA the Tinder Box state. I hear "they" are coming for "our" pork and natural gas soon.

waldo

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2021, 10:10:23 AM »
Thanks for the laughs clink and for an encore waldo.



I still think they should rename CA the Tinder Box state. I hear "they" are coming for "our" pork and natural gas soon.


If they want my bacon, they'll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers. Don't worry about the natural gas, JC. Some of us on this forum have access to an unlimited supply.

JC w KC redux

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2021, 04:29:44 PM »
^^^
Not worried about hot air either.

F4?

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2021, 09:33:46 PM »
Clink, it all starts with a rabbit going from one area to the next.
Deer sees the small path and says hey this is not bad.
Deer being how they are, once they like a path, they use it.

Then the native Americans find the path, not bad, gets them through.

Then some jackass from back East is shown the path and bring settlers over.

Next thing you know itís a dirt road and then paved.
Final phase, HOV lane is added.

Klink, glad to hear you are getting out, but not lost.


I'm not worthy.

clink

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Re: July, 2021, West Side Fire
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2021, 01:30:58 PM »

 Waldo, you always bring the beer, and somehow keep it chilled.

 I thought bringing a rake would make us look Northern European.
Causing trouble when not climbing.