Sep 5, 2020 at 9:55 pm #3674896
I don’t have any details but I assume the Yakima, WA fire must be somewhere near Ian turf.Sep 6, 2020 at 4:25 am #3674902IanBPL Member
I know two people impacted by this. One probably lost his house yesterday, another had about six homes separating his house from the fire.Sep 6, 2020 at 11:11 pm #3675031
I’m sorry to hear about this.
A new fire sprang up in the Sierra a few days ago while I was on a short backpacking trip to Clouds Rest in Yosemite. Yesterday the smoke from that fire came roaring up the Merced River canyon as we were preparing to leave Clouds Rest. By the time we got back to camp, the sky was dark and reddish purple to the southwest. It looked like dusk at 3pm; I kept wanting to take off my sunglasses, even though I didn’t have them on. Even though we were not all that close to the fire (I’m guessing 40 miles?) it looked positively apocalyptic. Ash was raining down like snowflakes. I couldn’t help but think how much worse it was for Kat bring in the midst of the fire down there. And wonder “is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life, fires this bad every year?” The drive back to the Bay Area today from the mountains was the worst smoky air I’ve ever seen, for 5 straight hours. It wasn’t much better at home, AQI 136 when I got here, 109 degrees.
I feel really lucky that we got to our destination before the worst smoke hit, and that I had a home (now with AC, just put in last year) to come back to.Sep 7, 2020 at 7:16 am #3675050
“roaring up the Merced River canyon”
I think about the topography from a fire perspective more and more with these wind driven infernos that have become so common. Twenty years ago or so a group of firefighters got killed after being trapped on a dead end road in a fire.
One of my favorite backpacking trips puts me 10 miles in at the upper end of just such a canyon. I prefer to go there in rainy weather early in the season.
This was not much of an issue when backpacking in eastern Washington in the 70s. Now it’s a constant concern in dry weather.
Our local news recently showed some California car campers who had to be air lifted out after fire cut off their escape route and before it engulfed the campground.Sep 7, 2020 at 8:29 am #3675067
200+ people (campers and backpackers) got coptered out from Mammoth pool reservoir, which I found out when I got home. I hope that all the backpackers made it out of the area.Sep 7, 2020 at 9:38 am #3675077
“is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life, fires this bad every year?”
I think it’s actually going to get worse each year for the rest of our lives.Sep 7, 2020 at 10:20 am #3675085
Yeah, that’s my fear as well.Sep 7, 2020 at 12:02 pm #3675101
I can’t express how bored I am. This boredom I feel is really anxiety mixed with fear mixed with sorrow.
There could be riots in the streets right outside my window every day and it would feel more alive than this boredom. And maybe that explains why so many young people are doing it.
(It’s dumb they are doing it, though, because the movement to stop murdering black people is more important than whatever the hell they are doing with their rioting.)
This feeling I have comes from having been stuck in my house since March, first trapped by the pandemic and now trapped also by the heat and the fire. Where can you go that isn’t hot or on fire?
I work every day, which makes me fortunate, but there is no human contact with co-workers. It’s not work, it’s a simulacrum of work.
Hiking locally ended for me in the Spring because the pandemic made everyone in the world decide to go hiking making hiking the least socially distant thing you could do. Now hiking is over because of the summer heat and this heat wave as well as the fires.
I have air conditioning for the first time in my life. I sit by the air conditioning to survive the heat wave and the hot flashes that come every so often. My old age has me trapped, looking out the window at the ashy sky and the red sun. I feel caged.
It feels as though there is no future.
The fires are burning up places I thought I could go see someday. “Someday” is burning.
As the economy collapses and bad government is eliminating all social safety nets, will I have a safe old age? Is my old age burning, too?
I have done the best I can to foment hope in my life. I’m taking violin lessons. I continue to meet with friends to play music together, socially distanced and out doors, so long as it’s not so hot our fiddles will explode. I take neighborhood walks before dawn. I’ve become mostly crepuscular, alive only before dawn.
The fires, the heat, the pandemic, the riots, the loss, the foreboding. It’s all one thing now.Sep 7, 2020 at 1:24 pm #3675114
Well put Diane. I’m feeling most of those things too, including bouts of depression. All of this is a warning sign. I bounce between wanting to shut myself in because I’m too depressed to see people, and craving company. I’ve become a believer in Zoom, which is a big turnaround for me. But what else is there? I have three musician friends who are serious about covid and so safe to visit. But now the heat and the fires and the almost unrelenting smoky air really has me down.
But yesterday and today the air is ‘only’ unhealthy! I couldn’t smell smoke, but there’s a brown haze visible over the S.F. Bay. This is an improvement. The surrounding fires are ending.
I know I have to take action against depression. Usually I go for walks in Tilden park but that’s not possible until the heat relents. (Tilden was too smoky and then closed for several weeks.) There’s no where to go in the state to escape the fires. SO: I’m embracing my enforced seclusion. I see at least one friend in the evening and zoom with some others. I’m meditating and playing lots of music. I’m basically doing a retreat, which I usually enjoy when the setting is beautiful–not my little apartment!
If I tip into real depression things will be ugly indeed. A further strategy is to ignore the news and let myself indulge in books about good things instead. this isn’t escapism: it’s the opposite, I think. I’m still aware of what’s going on. Dwelling on it all doesn’t help any more than acknowledging it and then not letting it destroy my peace and sanity. Everyone is stressed and being able to be upbeat for others is helpful–as helpful as I can be for now. In a small way, trying to ease my and other’s distress is a way of not feeling helpless, at the least. Later this month I’ll help prepare a meal for the homeless, as per usual. Something, right?
and I fantasize about rains. Here in California we have a ways to go. In a week or so possibly I can go to some coastal spot for a few days. This will end soon enough. Take courage! Your future is still waiting for you; it hasn’t gone up in flames.
p.s. yesterday I sort of lashed out a bit at Pedestrian over a perceived slight about a Bearikade, of all things. Another sign that I’m feeling walled in and edgy.Sep 7, 2020 at 2:32 pm #3675136
Diane and jscott,
You both write good.Sep 7, 2020 at 8:09 pm #3675173IanBPL Member
@discopantsSep 7, 2020 at 8:54 pm #3675181
I already believed that one ought to enjoy the moments between disasters because these are sure to come; now I believe it even more. We just had an event that put losing the house in context. If you are not starving, sick or in pain and neither are your loved one you are doing ok- not necessarily great or how you would like to feel but ok in the scope of things.
Regarding fires…at this point I am a proponent of cutting down trees and for people that live in the country to actively manage the vegetation around them. Let people cut any and all eucalyptus that they want. Let people grade the terrain and make more dirt roads. Do not vote against cell service-anywhere. We hardly had any reception on this coast and it cost some people their homes. Do not let state parks supersede Calfire and stop them from whatever they need to do to put out a fire no matter how “delicate the ecosystem”.
I am more empathetic to others’ pain and suffering than ever and I am also done with stupid decisions that have real cost to people ( and wildlife too).Sep 8, 2020 at 8:17 am #3675213
After I wrote the above I received an email saying there was going to be a car caravan in support of a local proposition on the ballot so I took my scooter (don’t have a car anymore) and pinned a sign on my back and joined the parade. Most of the people there were young. I spoke to one of them and said it is good to see all these young people out doing something to make the community better. If they still have hope for the future then there really is hope. And as we drove, most people seemed supportive. I have no idea if they even know what we were supporting but maybe they just support the hope that we can still change things for the better.Sep 8, 2020 at 8:51 am #3675218
People who say “just cut down the trees” have no clue. Not all the forest is trees. Where I live it’s not trees, it’s bushes. Interlocking, tangled bushes that hold the soil in place and create the watershed. It’s a habitat for unique living creatures that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. You don’t just eliminate an entire habitat, denude the land that provides the watershed for millions of people just so you can smugly say “I solved the wildfire problem in California.”Sep 8, 2020 at 9:22 am #3675222
“People who say “just cut down the trees” have no clue”
just like those that have a fit as soon as someone wants to cut down trees.Sep 8, 2020 at 9:35 am #3675224
State parks with their ill thought out priorities to save a small “delicate ecosystem” and their assertions that wildfires sparked by lightning are natural and will burn themselves out, state parks prevented Calfire from going in and putting out the fire that ended up not just destroying our home and so many of our friends and neighbors’ homes; it ended up killing every living thing for miles on end, every fern and grass and shrub and tree besides the birds and reptiles and mammals and smaller creatures.
We have been talking with Calfire and countless other agencies and farmers and ranchers; I don’t need an internet lecture on ecosystems. I am also educated in the field.Sep 8, 2020 at 9:35 am #3675225
Well, as forecasted, Seattle is now all smoky from the fires in, I assume, eastern Washington.
I’m slow. When I got up this morning I thought someone was BBQing very early.Sep 8, 2020 at 1:49 pm #3675251Dave @ OwareBPL Member
@bivysack-comLocale: East Washington
Fires that wiped out that little town in WA came not only from trees, but from vast wheat fields.
Most of the CA State Parks have done a better job than the State and National Forests as they have used prescribed fires on their lands. Many of the fires in CA are burning in chaparral, which is native plant community that is a fire type and does well to be burned over periodically. It also can grow in the areas redwoods have been clearcut and does not catch rain from fog like the trees do.
It is all so complex. We ended up moving out of the Sierra Nevada partly due to fire concerns. One week before my son was born a fire started 1/2 mile from the house. In a couple of hours it had jumped several roads, a river, 4 lane highway, train tracks and spread up into the wilderness of the Carson Range. If the wind had been blowing towards us we would have lost everything in a matter of minutes. Having only one road in and out and a pregnant wife added to it all.
I don’t know what the answer is, probably thousands of small answers.Sep 8, 2020 at 3:50 pm #3675260
I visited a friend in Durango Colorado. They lived at the top of a hill with only 1 road in/out. Hill was covered with something they called creosote brush.
One small answer, in my opinion, would be to get rid of that flammable looking creosote brush. Looks like an accident waiting to happen. With one match and a little wind the resulting fire would be unstoppable.Sep 8, 2020 at 4:20 pm #3675263
The fires that swept out of Twisp going east some years ago ran through creosote country. those flames were unstoppable and nearly came into Brewster. Of course there are plenty of orchards there too. that high desert country is filled with creosote, as far as I remember seeing. there’s no getting rid of it.Sep 8, 2020 at 5:39 pm #3675281
Oh there are all kinds of fires and this one here took trees, shrubs and grasslands.
No one here advocated cutting all trees and no one here claimed trees were the only plants that burn.
What I am advocating is that home owners keep a defensible line around the home, which in the country effectively means no trees within 100 feet or more, and that they be allowed to doze more exit routes around their property. What I am also saying is that when there is a fire, even if in a delicate ecosystem, it should be put out and if trees have to go and iron has to come so be it. The consequences of inaction can be far more devastating. Hundreds of people here begged for something to be done for two and a half days while the Waddell fire hung out at a ridge top and slowly started moving inland and down the slope southward toward our communities. Calfire had all kinds of manpower and iron ready and was not allowed to go in. They got the go ahead much too late after the wind picked up. Evacuation orders were given at 10:30 pm in a community with no power lines and no phones.
Someone should lose their job and this should be news; lessons should be learned from it.
I know I am coming across harsh here but I have reasons to.Sep 8, 2020 at 6:08 pm #3675289Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Creosote is a native desert plant that inhibits growth of other plants around each bush. That can be a good thing.
Last week the was a devastating fire in the large Joshua Tree forest in the ares of Cima Dome (in the Mojave National Preserve). The reason it was so destructive is due to all the invasive plants and grasses. It is such a problem that some experts think the Joshua Tree forests in Joshua Tree NP and the Mojave Preserve may become extinct in the next 50-100 years.
We has planned to camp in the Cima Dome area this week, but it is obviously closed.
Also many USFS forests such as Inyo, Sequoia, Kings, and others were officially closed as of yesterday. We had planned spending a few weeks there. Instead, we’re leaving for Utah tomorrow.Sep 8, 2020 at 6:18 pm #3675291
Katt, I don’t think you’re being harsh at all. I’m pretty familiar with the area you live in. Agreed 100% they should have been all over that fire from the get-go. Are you kidding me? After everything we’ve seen over the last five years, and longer?
Idealism can be destructive.
yeah, forests need to burn. There are safe ways to do controlled burns. This was stupid.Sep 8, 2020 at 6:28 pm #3675292
The devastation here is far beyond our homes. So much life was destroyed it really gets to me.Sep 8, 2020 at 6:32 pm #3675295
This is on our road. This fire spared nothing.
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