27 August 2013

Update on the American fire and SNAMP

The American fire is burning into our SNAMP study areas. It looks like our northern treatment and control sites have been burned through. Here is a snapshot of our study site and the fire perimeter (red) as of 8-26-13. SNAMP control (yellow) and treatment (purple) watersheds are shown.

American fire as of 8-26-13
American fire as of 8-26-13.

American Fire Status from Incident Report as of 8-26-13: Fire Status: The south, west and north perimeters of the fire remaining patrol status. Some pockets of heat were found interior to the westside containment line and extinguished last night. Crews have completed burning operations adjacent to the Mosquito Ridge Road, along the eastern perimeter. These burning operations have consisted of fire fighters lighting low intensity (“cool”) fire with the intent of reducing ground fuels between the fire perimeter and the main fire. This tactic was highly successful as it reduced the potential of the main fire escaping containment lines. Crews continue to transition into detecting and extinguishing any remaining hot spots. With increased containment of the fire, crews have begun work repairing areas affected by fire fighting activities. This has included chipping material piled next to roads during fire line construction as well as identifying needs to construct water control devices along fire lines throughout the fire area. Forest visitors are asked to adhere to area and road closures. These closures are in place to protect visitors and fire fighters. The roads and areas that have been closed are unsafe due to fire-weakened, burned trees that pose a risk of falling, as well as frequently heavy smoke making visibility extremely poor. These areas and roads will be re-opened as soon as possible.

Summary Stats:

  • Total acres burned: 24,935 acres

  • Containment: 88%

  • Containment expected: Thursday August 29th, 2013 approx. 12:00 AM
  • Some resources:

  • Incident Report: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3624/

  • SimTable Report: http://apps.simtable.com/fireProgression/outputTemp/CA-TNF-HU11_%20american.html
  • ESRI Online report: http://www.arcgis.com/explorer/?open=11487c248b3a407cb6fd446ce8ef73d8

  • Rim fire update: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3660/
  • We will keep you posted.

    This was originally posted on http://kellylab.berkeley.edu/.


    1 Linda Blum says...

    Notwithstanding the safety issues, I sincerely hope that the US Forest Service makes it possible for the SNAMP researchers to take their measurements and observations BEFORE AND AFTER mop-up and rehab crews alter the conditions in both the control and treatment areas. This is an exceptional opportunity to learn, and was the whole point of SNAMP.

    Segregating observation data appropriately is also important. At the very least, there are three or four sub-categories of actions and effects for both controls and treatments: unburned, burned by wildfire, burned by indirect attack (backfire), prepped for indirect attack but not burned, and after standard post-fire rehab actions.

    The Rim Fire has just gouged a giant, long-term gap in landscape habitat connectivity for many of the special-interest wildlife species, e.g. fisher, marten, great gray owl, spotted owl. It has never been more important or more urgent for the Forest Service and the SNAMP to learn how to truly integrate fire management with resource management.

    Posted at 9:04 a.m. on August 29, 2013

    2 Craig Thomas says...

    We need a transformational shift in what the Forest Service does and how they do it. This includes a dramatic ramp up in the prescribed and managed fire programs. This is in addition to the mechanical treatment program (not at the expense of it). We need federal air quality rule changes that accept ecological burning in fire associated landscapes. We need to value the range of characteristic fire effects as a critical natural process, like water is to fish.

    The Rim Fire management story does not stop when the fire is out. Next there will be a battle over how much salvage logging will occur and then a reforestation program to replant the burned landscape in even-spaced, tree farms that will burn again in 25 years just like they are doing now in the Complex Fire reforestation areas of 1987.

    All of the central Sierra fires (American, Rim, Aspen) started in steep canyons where mechanical treatments are not an option. Incorporate fire back into the system or we have more Rim fires and 50,000 ac daily runs becoming the outcome we are selecting.

    Also challenging is the fact that the Air Districts can write off (from their emissions accounting) these big emission blowouts as “acts of god” when, in reality, it is our societal failure to come to grips with the need for transformational change in how we manage this fire associated landscape that is staring us in the face.

    Maybe the urban populations in the Bay Area and elsewhere will have a teachable moment for a short period of time (and contribute directly to watershed health) BUT if all we focus on is spending more on mechanical treatments on flatter ground and ignore the need for a balanced, well-funded ecological fire program, we’d still have these 3 big fires burning in the central Sierra and little ability to manage them.

    Posted at 6:27 p.m. on August 29, 2013

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