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[Yosemite]

Fire Season

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Fire Season

Postby balzaccom » Mon Aug 17, 2020 12:05 pm

Fire season is in full swing...and note that all USFS have prohibited campfires outside of campground fire rings. That means no campfires in the backcountry at all.

And in case you don't understand why, here is an emergency notice we just received from the Napa County Sheriff's office:

NAPA CO SHERIFF: Mandatory Evacuation: Sage Canyon Rd from Chiles Pope Valley Rd to Lower Chiles Rd due to Hennessey Fire nixle.us/C57PQ

Yep. We have another fire in Napa County. It's a few miles from our house, and burning the other direction, so no immediate danger for us. But for those who live there, it's one more nightmare.
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Re: Fire Season

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 17, 2020 3:01 pm

USFS have prohibited fires in the national forests outside developed campground fire rings, but not in designated wilderness areas. At least that's the case in Sierra NF. Should always check before you go tho.

They are however prohibited in the Yosemite backcountry, which is a first in my memory...
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Re: Fire Season

Postby balzaccom » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:42 pm

The view from my classroom at the college this evening. The fire is 20-30 miles away. Big fire.

Image
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Re: Fire Season

Postby huynguyen1 » Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:52 pm

I love campfires as much as the next camper, maybe more so. But I'd happily sign a petition to ban campfires anywhere (backcountry, fire rings, anywhere) from August through November (end date subject to seasonal precipitation) from this point on. I know lightning was responsible for almost all of it this time, but campfires still pose a high risk. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but the fires have been beyond ridiculous for at least several years now. Our beloved stated will now be a matchstick every late summer through fall.
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Re: Fire Season

Postby balzaccom » Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:18 pm

huynguyen1 wrote:I love campfires as much as the next camper, maybe more so. But I'd happily sign a petition to ban campfires anywhere (backcountry, fire rings, anywhere) from August through November (end date subject to seasonal precipitation) from this point on. I know lightning was responsible for almost all of it this time, but campfires still pose a high risk. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but the fires have been beyond ridiculous for at least several years now. Our beloved stated will now be a matchstick every late summer through fall.



Agreed. They are banned outside of campground fire rings in all national forests right now. So we're moving in the right direction
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Re: Fire Season

Postby Phil » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:38 am

It's bad here. We're the Walbridge Fire. Fire roared through our place last Tuesday night and again on Wednesday morning. They barely saved our houses, and only because of a huge crew and because they somehow managed to get about an hour of miraculous air support when all of it was in Napa. We were involved early on, and with all the fire lines and structures threatened and destroyed now (close to 600 last time I checked), the resources that were scarce then would be deployed all over the place, and we would have lost it all. Fire up to within 5 feet of the back deck of one of our houses, and incredibly steep and wooded ravines burning so hot that the energy lifted sticks and small branches up into the air and rained them down on the firefighters. Man, do I have some wild and terrifying pictures....there is no such thing as a mandatory evacuation for us; at this point, just staying out of the walls of 200' flames and becoming very familiar with shovels and rakes. I always thought of wildland firefighters as tough and dedicated, but hesitated to call them "heroes", but after seeing them at work first hand, I now know that that these people deserve every ounce of being called just that. We're still going at it up at my neighbor's place...they're on a ridge, and the fire has run at them for 3 days now, and from all sides. Crazy, crazy, crazy!! Just when you think you've seen pretty much everything! One word of advice if you live in a wildland-urban interface... MOW!, then MOW again...then MOW some more!! Take "defensible space" very, very seriously. If you don't give them something to defend, it's not that they won't, it's just that they can't.
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Re: Fire Season

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:42 am

I hope you all get through it okay, Phil. Sounds intense. Stay safe.
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Re: Fire Season

Postby balzaccom » Wed Aug 26, 2020 2:47 pm

Wow Phil, you are seeing it up close.

In Napa they continue to have the eastern half of the county evacuated....but Napa Valley itself is covered in vineyards---and they don't burn. Better than mowing!
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Re: Fire Season

Postby levyj414 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:56 pm

Best of luck to all of you!
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Re: Fire Season

Postby Phil » Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:29 pm

balzaccom wrote:Wow Phil, you are seeing it up close.

In Napa they continue to have the eastern half of the county evacuated....but Napa Valley itself is covered in vineyards---and they don't burn. Better than mowing!


Most of my shots are from up in my neighbor's vineyards. They were definitely a great buffer for them, but the outside rows did burn. The bunches are shot, but the roots appear to be fine. Their biggest problem is the smoke taint. The wineries were all in under contract at high prices and weren't too happy about it already, so now they're going to either reject the harvest outright or try to test their way out of honoring their contracts. 2020 will have a hint of smokeyness about it, to say the least. They were lucky enough to have already done a second mowing and discing, whereas the other neighbors didn't mow their rows a second time so their bunches are fried and drip system and root stock are are wasted.

We were already about to put our place on the market, but now that it's incinerated, and I'm sure we'll take a hit on that, I can now see that we have much more plantable land since it's less trees and more like just pure topography, with a whole lot of dozer cuts thrown in. I'm going to drill a couple more wells (the geology for which I can also now see better) and see how it turns out. We'll probably be at least a year with serious tree removal. Pragmatically speaking, we know the risks or living where we do and have always accepted that as part and parcel. I'm glad it was nature and not some arsonist, the power company, or an illegal campfire. Things are just now coming into control at a few of the lines, but our area is still going strong in the canyons, and I think it's still only at about 20% containment. Failures and successes that are going to take years to sort out and rectify. PG&E is restoring power, and it was amazing to see all the firefighting agencies that came to help. The best ever is Beverly Hills...boy are they out of their element! lol

We're hurt, but by no means are we even close to beaten. We adjust and move forward, always.
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Re: Fire Season

Postby balzaccom » Thu Aug 27, 2020 6:47 am

Stay safe. Phil. At least Guerneville isn't flooding!
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