Fire Season

The 2017 fire season was the nation’s costliest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which houses the Forest Service. That agency’s annual budget is increasingly dedicated to suppressing and fighting wildland fires, as longer seasons and more destructive blazes require more resources. Millions of acres have burned in the West this year, mostly in California, Montana and Oregon. Some of the West’s biggest fires began in September, at a time when the fire season is typically waning. But by mid-September, California had declared the first of several states of emergency, when blazes threatened giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park. Nowhere were fires more intense than in Montana, where more than 1.2 million acres burned. In Oregon, the Eagle Creek Fire tore through the Columbia River Gorge. With long-term climate trends portending more frequent droughts, this kind of severe and expensive fire season is more likely to become the norm. According to the National Interagency Fire Center’s most recent wildfire potential outlook report, it’s not over, either: Southern California should see higher than normal wildfire activity well into 2018.

For the rest of this article, and to see the statistics go to:

https://www.hcn.org/issues/49.21/infographic-why-western-wildfires-are-getting-more-expensive

Getting ready to make the switchover from winter weather watching to summer fire season. I will be leaving my weather links up for a bit, yet, but wildfires are happening in So Cal and in Colorado and other states a bit early this year, so will be adding in a few of those links as well.

 

Goal of zero human caused wildfires?

Sounds impossible? It is not. My friend, Barbara Sparhawk found one USFS Ranger District which has achieved this goal. The leading cause of human fires is abandoned campfires, which have seen a tremendous increase down here on the South Coast.

….

“Over the last three years, we have had a specific, written goal of reducing human-caused wildfires on the district to zero for an entire calendar year,” said Quentin Johnson, fire management officer for the Tusayan Ranger District. “Given that the district receives millions of visitors each year because it is located immediately adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park, we knew this would be an incredible challenge.”

….

The district’s success in 2014 was due largely to focused fire prevention efforts beginning almost 15 years ago that have chipped away at the leading cause of human fires on the district – abandoned campfires. Specifically, district fire prevention specialist Bob Blasi worked to gain compliance in dispersed camping areas and issued citations when necessary. With increased early-morning patrols, an extensive signing program, visits to local schools, Smokey Bear’s presence at local events, and a consistent prevention message for more than a decade, Blasi was able to systematically reduce the number of abandoned campfires and, therefore, the overall number of human-caused wildfires.

….

“Because of the support of fire managers, Kaibab National Forest leadership, the community and public, we have been able to go beyond just re-introducing fire into the ecosystem, to take it to the next level and demonstrate how when fire is managed responsibly, it becomes an integral part of obtaining desired forest health,” Blasi said. “This is the proof in the pudding. The more fire treatments we are able to successfully implement, the better chance we have of reducing and ultimately eliminating unwanted human-caused fire in our part of the forest.”

While focused fire prevention efforts have decreased the number of abandoned campfires in the Tusayan area, the challenge of eliminating all human-caused fires will continue. Each fire season brings a unique set of challenges including millions of new visitors to a popular tourist destination.

“If I were to designate one goal for the future, it would be that this record never last 50 years again,” Blasi said. “Eliminating human-caused fires is attainable through education, prevention and good stewardship.”

Monday Morning’s illegal campfire list

Much more ticketing, educating, and anguish for today. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? (Peter, Paul, and Mary – Where have all the flowers gone?)

image

 

17 illegal campfires on the South Coast Sunday morning

I just don’t understand this … It is hotter than Darwin, as dry as the Mojave and people are having campfires? What is wrong with people?? And people wonder why those of us who live here don’t want any dispersed camping? Being constantly on edge that someone is going to “accidentally” burn us out is nerve wracking. This is absolutely nuts. I give up. We can’t educate those who don’t want to be, and they WAY out number the ones who do.

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Kudos & Thanks to our USFS personnel

I just went on WildCAD to check on things and saw that our local people were patrolling after dark last night and managed to find SEVENTEEN illegal campfires – four on Plaskett, and the rest on Nacimiento RD., South Coast Ridge RD. And Prewitt camp. Since campfires are now banned, if they gave out 17 tickets at $5000/each, that is $85,000 worth. It would probably fund two firefighters for a year, if we could keep the money. Regardless, that is 17 potential wildfires that were caught before they became an inferno, and this even with the Sherpa raging in the southern portion of the LPNF. Bob Baird, Forest Supervisor, Tim Short, District Ranger, Chip Laugharn, Asst Dist Fire Management, and our pals at PV and Nacimiento Stations, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to reading tonight’s statistics. I tried to copy and paste the data, but no go. Go to WildCAD-LPNF to view for yourself.

Fire Restrictions

NEWS RELEASE

Los Padres National Forest
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Madsen (805) 961-5759
Twitter: @LosPadresNF

Fire Restrictions Take Effect in Los Padres National Forest

GOLETA, CA, June 13, 2016…Due to extremely dry vegetation and an increasing fire danger, Los Padres National Forest officials announced that Level III fire restrictions will go into effect beginning tomorrow, June 14, 2016. The following restrictions will be rigorously enforced until this Forest Order expires:

Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of Los Padres National Forest except for designated Campfire Use sites; however persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of designated Campfire Use Sites. California Campfire Permits are available for free download from the Los Padres National Forest website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf). You must clear all flammable material for a distance of 10 feet in all directions from your camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when it is in use.

Recreational target shooting is prohibited in all areas of the National Forest unless specifically authorized by a special use permit with the Forest.

Hunting with a valid State of California hunting license during open hunting season is exempt from this restriction.

Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the national forest except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated Campfire Use Site.

Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order on roads and trails specifically designated for such use. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

A list of designated Campfire Use Sites is attached. For further information regarding current conditions and safety tips, contact your nearest Forest Service office or visit the Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.
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In Preparation for Fire Season

A neighbor asked me a question, which I thought I knew the answer to, but I questioned what I knew when informed a USFS personnel disagreed with me. Hmm…nothing I like better than to prove ANY governmental agency misinformed, particularly if I can do it with their own codes, regulations, ordinances – their laws – comes from almost 30 years of fighting the government oppression for my indigent clients.

So, I have found I was correct. I found the CFR and US Codes which govern campfires in the national forests, what is legal, what is not, what the fines are if permitted but not done properly, and what the fines are if campfires have been prohibited by the Forest Supervisor.

Rather than have to research this again in a few years, I decided I would put together a hand-out, if you will, that each of my neighbors and any other interested parties can print out and carry with them (maybe carry multiple copies?) with which to educate the USFS personnel, particularly seasonal workers, F&G wardens, MCSO, AND more importantly, the visiting uninformed. I will post it here next week, after Easter. So look for a little something with which to inform yourself, your neighbors, our enforcers, and more importantly, potential violators. I’m just going to quote the laws and where they can be found. I will not be providing advice, legal or otherwise. Just the law. Arm yourself with the law and you will learn all sorts of things. One way to fight ignorance and hopefully even uncaring individuals.

I saw on a free campsites web page a person who admitted that while she KNEW campfires were prohibited, she had a “little” one anyway to keep the bugs away. We’ve got to get the word out. We can get their information and call it in. Just a few $5,000 fines would pay for all the enforcement we could tolerate.

At a loss for words…there is no limit to humanity’s stupidity

imageOld Fire, 2003

This photograph was [NOT – see correction] taken at the Lake Fire near Lakeport. It is pretty graphic. It was sent to a friend from a ff up there. He noted, “This could easily be Highway One, if people aren’t careful.” I wish I knew the photographer. If you do, please let me know.

CORRECTION: A friend, Jean LeBlanc, sent me a link to the REAL STORY behind this photo above. It was arson and caused 5 heart attack deaths. This photo shows The Old Fire jumping Highway 18 in Oct 2003 and was taken by Troy C. Whitman of Cypress, CA. Click on the link just below the photo for the rest of the story.

The stupidity I refer to is in reference to the fires mentioned below. The first was a campfire that Rock Knocker spotted on the way up yesterday. The people were out and about, but left their campfire burning, and their “stuff” was still there. He poured what water he had on it, and when he got up here, I called the USFS at PV Station. It was 2 miles up Plaskett.

08/11/2015 10:45 LPF-2408
New Wildfire PLASKETT RDG CG M . . . . . 35.932 x 121.431

then there was this one:

08/11/2015 17:35 FHL-2416
. Wildfire CONE PK LO M . . . light flashy fuel 5 [acres] 36.077 x 121.282

I do not know the source, but I’m willing to bet next month’s wages it was human caused.

LPNF ELEVATES FIRE RESTRICTIONS

Los Padres National Forest Elevates Fire Restrictions

GOLETA, CA…Due to extremely dry vegetation and an increasing fire danger, Los Padres National Forest officials today announced that Level IV fire restrictions will go into effect beginning today, July 23, 2013. The following restrictions will be rigorously enforced until the end of the declared fire season:

Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of Los Padres National Forest including designated Campfire Use sites; however persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel within the designated Campfire Use Sites only. California Campfire Permits are available for free download from the Los Padres National Forest website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf). You must clear all flammable material for a distance of five feet in all directions from your camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when it is in use.

Recreational target shooting is prohibited in all areas of the National Forest unless specifically authorized by a special use permit with the Forest; however, hunting with a valid State of California hunting license during open hunting season is exempt from this restriction.

Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the national forest except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated Campfire Use Site.

Fireworks are prohibited at all times and in all locations within Los Padres National Forest.

Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order on roads and trails specifically designated for such use. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

For further information regarding current conditions and safety tips, contact your nearest Forest Service office or visit the Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.

The End of Winter …

Finally, the winter that would not quit is over. The last 3 days have been picture perfect, except the biting flies came out today. The grasses have turned brown, already, and the campers have filled the campgrounds, spilling into and up the hills. Campfires are seen throughout the hills, and guns are blasting, once again. My quiet time has ended, and I am grateful it lasted as long as it did.

I have changed my links from El Niño to 2010 Fire Season, as it will be here in no time with the hot weather and dry grass. It has already begun in So. Cal., but fortunately, the fires are being picked up rapidly and contained in short order.

The grass was green, 2 weeks ago!

Let’s have a safe fire season this year – for all of us. Namasté