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Forest Fires 2009

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
It was just a week ago that we were discussing the Blackholm Mountain fires, which were sparked by lightening. 

A couple days ago similar fires sparked in Utah

Yesterday Lightening struck at Vail

If the news I'm reading is accurate, all of these fires were contained rather quickly, but what kind of impact have these fires had on ski runs?
I fear that the ultra dry summer in the west has the potential to make for a scary fire season. 
post #2 of 5
I imagine there's a fairly readily available supply of water at the resorts. Plus with landscaping, I imagine you might not notice much. Backcountry sites would be another story. Fire is a part of the wilderness since there's been trees. I actually would love some fire in my "home" county in Colorado. There's a bunch of dead lodgepole pines-killed by a combination of old age, drought stress, and pine bark beetles. It doesn't help that a lodgepole pine cone only open to release seed when it's exposed to fire. Fire is good. We have made fire bad and the result is infrequent fires that burn too hot. A better management would be small frequent fires that release nutrients back into the soil and minimize dead underbrush.
post #3 of 5
You don't put out forest fires with water like you do a house fire.  You may use it to manage or help contain the fire, but what makes you think there is a big water supply?

Landscaping?  A forest fire aftermath?  Uh, I don't think so.  You replant trees, or you do nothing and let nature take its course.  There 'aint that much beauty bark in the universe and there's even less incentive to landscape the area.  Some fires are thousands of acres large.

Fires are necessary but are in no way benign.  They are horrible events that kill wildlife, plant life, and sometimes people and property.  We need them and they are good in the long run, but that doesn't mean that they are nice.  I'd never wish for one.

And to the OP, yes, it is looking like a pretty bad season coming on.  We've already had several small fires in Western Washington where they are not so common as on the east side of the Cascades.  B.C. has already been hit hard and there's lots of time left for more.  It's like a tinder  box out here.
post #4 of 5

You are spot on about conditions being bad in The West.  Forest fires are fought by teams.   Many western fire districts areas have wildfire  teams that they will send out to other areas that have a fire.  Think of them similar to National Guard units.  BLM and Forest Service firefighters are like the regular military, they are always out there when needed, but they depend on the fire district teams for man power at a bad fire.  

Conditions  are bad to the point where a many of the fire district teams are being kept at home to take care of local smaller problems.  Spokane is a very good example, they have regularly sent their team out of state to help, not now. 

Had to wonder how much of these decisions are being pushed by fiscal restraint.


post #5 of 5
It has been anything but a dry summer here, probably one of the wettest on record. There was a fire burning near Snowmass last weekend., and another one about 20 miles away a few days before that. Lightning fires are just a way of life out here. Fires happen and you just move on. Most people would be very surprised at how many fires actually happen. There were five individual small fires one afternoon a few years ago on the mountain I live at the base of. If the fire is somewhat contained and is not threatening they let them burn. If the fires are moving in a direction that threatens structures they push to suppress it and put it out.

Any impact on ski runs, the brush cutting crew might have less work for a season or two. The fire could damage some structures but those would just get replaced. If a fire did burn some ski runs, most resorts might evaluate the runs it burned and see if any erosion controls measures need to be taken. The lack of vegetation might cause for the hill to slide with heavy rains. Honestly I do not think it would make much of a impact. Skiing in the winter you would just see the charred remains of the trees everything else would be the same.
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