Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Overstocked Forest and Fire

I know just enough about wildfire and land management to know I don't know much. Its complicated stuff. Lots of factors that cause me to be always a bit skeptical whenever I read anything regarding fires in areas I do not know well. Fire and its role on the landscape is far from simple. Any given fire is a mix of causes. 

I had a traverse through a forest stand on the east slopes of the Cascades through a thick stand of fir and pine with no underbrush. Perfect fuel for an explosive fire if a one were to reach the slope under the right weather conditions.

The slope in question was adjacent to a forest service road and some fire wood cutting had been taking place as many of the trees were dead.

The slope was a north facing slope and hence moister with a shorter period of being dry enough to burn. The opposite slope of the valley, a south facing slope, was mostly treeless and rocky scree - too dry for trees at all. At the top of the south slope were clusters of pine and fir and larch. Most of the large trees had burn marks around their bases.

Fire is a routine event on the east slopes of the Cascades, but a few hundred yards and various slope angles make a big difference in the results. 

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