TEXT_SIZE

plumasnews

Plumas County Leaf-Peeper blog up and running; help is needed

9/26/07

Plumas County's fall foliage making California statewide news

The autumnal equinox has occurred, and it's already leaf-peeper time again! Plumas County's popular "Awesome Autumn" promotion kicked off again last week, and the Visitors Bureau is calling on all residents for help in tracking the progress of fall color countywide.

The bottom of this story has a link to the Awesome Autumn web blog...

Read more: Plumas County Leaf-Peeper blog up and running; help is needed

 

Plumas Wildfire Blog - July Edition

July 16, 2008 Wildfire Blog for Canyon, Butte and Cub Complex Lightning Fires

Important contact information:
Northern California Wildfire Joint Information Center: General fire information
Canyon Complex Fire Information: 530 283-7882, 7883 or 7884; Plumas Forest
Cub Complex Fire Information: 530 258-3932; Lassen Forest
Butte Complex Fire Information: (530) 538-7826 Butte Lightning Complex - Cal Fire
Cal Fire:Statewide Fire Overview - Lightning Series
Butte County website: www.buttecounty.net
Air Quality: Plumas County: 530 283-6337 and Butte County
Evacuations: Plumas County: 530 283-6375 and Butte County: 530 538-2762
Fire protection information: http://plumasfiresafe.org
Pacific Crest Trail is closed (PCT) Information: www.pcta.org.
Road Closures: Cal Trans: 800 427-7623 (ROAD) District 2 Road conditions
Fire Weather: Plumas County area

Maps:
Latest California fire map. Updated 7/29/08 pm
Latest Modis heat scan
National Map of Large Fires with Summary Information for each.

ENPLAN - Wildfire Viewer
NOAA - Current hot spot and smoke map
GEOMAC - Wildfire map Viewer
Current Canyon Complex Maps

A special fire supplement by Feather Publishing: Living with Fire


••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Read more: Plumas Wildfire Blog - July Edition

 

Rich Wildfire Blog

Click on latest fire information or the dates below to view the information for those dates:


Latest Fire Information
August 6 and 7.
August 4 and 5.
August 2 and 3.
July 31 and August 1.
July 29 and 30.




August 10

It has been very gratifying to drive around Quincy and see all of the "Thankyou Firefighters" signs. I am sure that is the sentiment most of us feel. But there are critics out there who question why we have had so many large fires. I wrote the following piece as a "My Turn" editorial for the paper. I thought it would be worth posting here to see what sort of dialog it might generate.

If you wish to comment on this or any other aspect of the fire send your e-mail to me at "Internet@PlumasNews.com"

Michael Condon

"Lately there have been a few letters to the editor critical of the Forest Service’s ability to put out the fires that have plagued this area for so many weeks. The arguments have focused on forest management practices and firefighters who lack motivation (or incentive) to extinguish the blazes. These arguments have included numerous references to the good old days when fires were not as large and did not take as long to put out.

Let me start with the notion that large fires that take weeks to control are somehow something new. I started as a Forest Service firefighter in 1970. That summer there were horrendous fires in both southern California and Washington State. Lives were lost, hundreds of thousands of acres burned, and the fires went on for many weeks. The Mendocino National Forest, where I worked at the time was actually closed to visitors as every available employee was assigned to fire duty.

Then there was 1977. It was the second year of a two-year drought. The forests were dry, but not as dry as this year. Large lightning storms moved through the state. The fires were numerous and some quite large and lengthy. I remember fires like the Hog on the Klamath N.F., the Scarface and Pondosa in Modoc County, and the Marble Cone on the Los Padres N.F. These fires burned for weeks and weren’t actually controlled until the fall rains came. 1987 was very similar. In 1988 it happened in the Rocky Mountains.

If these examples are too recent to make my point, consider the Tillamook Fire in Oregon. It burned more than 287,000 acres over a period of several weeks. The fire was started by logging operations and fought by over 3,000 firefighters. The rains finally came and helped fire fighters surround the fire. But then the following summer it re-kindled and took off again! The year: 1933.

Large fires are certainly nothing new. But are they more common? Maybe. I haven’t seen any analysis of that, but I wouldn’t be surprised. If that is so, then why?

Well, the other two arguments in the letters I mentioned center around forest management practices and the competence/motivation of our fire fighters.

Forest management is as complicated as it is controversial. It changed considerably from when I started with the Forest Service in 1970 to when I retired in 2006. I believe that we have learned that thinking we could put out every fire and grow dense stands of trees to be harvested for timber the same way we grow and harvest corn has not worked. No matter how well intentioned that was, the result is that our forests are in bad shape. Over stocked stands are vulnerable to drought, insect and disease. The dense under-story easily carries fire up into the crowns of the larger trees.

Today forest management focuses on thinning trees from below to establish more fire resistant stands. It costs more and yields less timber, but it is trending our forests back to a more healthy, sustainable and fire resistant condition. It took decades for our forests to get in poor condition. It will take decades, and many millions of dollars to restore them.

In the mean time, we can expect more severe fire seasons. Weather is another factor. Fire seasons are getting longer and drier. Scientists have been warning about this for a number of years. You would think this would be a wake up call to increase funding for better forest management and to some degree it has been.

What I find most puzzling is the perception that firefighters are motivated to delay putting out the fire and that fire camp is a spa environment.

For safety reasons, crews must take two days off after working 14 days. That usually is 14 days of 14 to 16 hour shifts of very difficult work. Rather than sending them home after 14 days, crews were offered the option of taking their two days of mandatory R&R in place. That saves us taxpayers the expense of sending them back home and sending fresh crews in from another state. So you may have seen some firefighters in town enjoying a little time off after two grueling weeks. And while it did not sound credible to me, I checked with the fire team to see about the amenities being provided in camp. There were no movies, no yoga classes and no massages. Fire camp is more comfortable than it used to be, but it is a long way from a spa environment. I have spent more weeks in fire camps than I care to think about and trust me, there is nothing there that is so wonderful it makes you want to stay any longer than necessary.

What does it all mean? We taxpayers saved money, firefighters got treated like normal people on their days off, and our local businesses got more business. I must be missing something because I don’t see the downside in that.

One letter writer concluded that because firefighters were seen in town during the mid-morning that crews were just taking their sweet time getting out to the fire. I am sure the more accurate reason is that those were off duty firefighters from the night shift or on their two days off.

Another writer offered an explanation that the “red card” training system offered incentive to delay putting out the fire. The reality is quite the opposite. That training system is performance based. Each trainee is assigned a trainer. If the trainer is not convinced that the trainee is operating at a high level of performance the trainee doesn’t pass.

Then there are the contract crews. If they slack off, they get to stay on the fire longer? That isn’t the case. The reality is that if they slack off, they get sent home. The company owners and crew supervisors know that the success of their business depends upon good performance. If they see crewmembers whose behavior or performance detracts from the crew, they get fired on the spot. I have seen it happen.

I will accept that it is difficult for me to be perfectly objective about this. Yet I can assure you that one of the most gratifying aspects of my career with the Forest Service was working with a firefighters that were so professional and took so much pride in doing their job at a very high level. Not once in my career did I ever see a single firefighter not try their best to put out a fire in a safe and effective way.

It may not be a perfect system, and not doubt there is the occasional bad apple. But to suggest that the reason we have large fires is that firefighters either aren’t capable or don’t care is just wrong."



July 29
Just when we thought the fires were settling down several weeks after northern California was hit with a massive thunderstorm and an unprecedented number of wildfires at one time, a new fire, the Rich Fire, started in the Feather River Canyon on Tuesday July 29.

This fire has already grown to 4,000 acres and has the potential to get considerably larger. Some communities have been evacuated and it is likely that we will be impacted by this new fire for some time to come.

To keep you current as this incident continues to unfold, and to give our viewers the opportunity to submit comments, questions, or pictures to share, we are re-starting our wildfire blog. You can e-mail your comments, questions, or pictures to me at internet@plumasnews.com.

This time we are going to segment the blog into two days worth of information at a time. This will speed loading time, especially for those of you with dial up connections and also keep us from losing information when the content exceeds our systems size limits (as happened a couple weeks ago).

Click latest fire information or on the dates below to view the information for those dates:
Latest Fire Information

August 6 and 7
August 4 and 5.
August 2 and 3.
July 31 and August 1.
July 29 and 30.




Important contact information:
Plumas National Forest Fire Information: 530 283-7882, 7883 or 7884; Plumas Forest
Cal Fire:Statewide Fire Overview - Lightning Series
Air Quality: Plumas County: 530 283-6337 Evacuations: Plumas County: 530 283-6375
Fire protection information:
http://plumasfiresafe.org
Pacific Crest Trail is closed (PCT) Information: www.pcta.org.
Road Closures: Cal Trans: 800 427-7623 (ROAD) District 2 Road conditions
Fire Weather: Plumas County area

Maps:
Latest Modis heat scan
National Map of Large Fires with Summary Information for each.

ENPLAN - Wildfire Viewer
NOAA - Current hot spot and smoke map
GEOMAC - Wildfire map Viewer
Current Canyon Complex Maps

A special fire supplement by Feather Publishing: Living with Fire


Click on the dates below to view the information for those dates:
Latest Fire Information
August 6 and 7.
August 4 and 5.
August 2 and 3.
July 31 and August 1.
July 29 and 30.



  

Page 1194 of 1194

"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {}