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Grayrock group -- torched

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby madbuck » Thu May 17, 2012 12:28 pm

gregS wrote: The media and the damn bear make everyone think that wildfires are always bad. They're very important ecologically. The reason that the fires up in that area have been small, is that they're suppressed.


Wildfires important ecologically = Yes

The "damn bear?" I think his message is about not being an idiot when it comes to human-caused fires. I still dig that message.

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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby bpko » Thu May 17, 2012 12:56 pm

gregS wrote:
Steve Knapp wrote:That is a huge jump in size from what they quoted yesterday. 5,000 acres is about the size of the entire Vail ski area including all the back bowls. Let's hope it doesn't get too much bigger. Some fires can be good but not when they nuke huge areas. The Hayman fire was 138,000 acres (biggest ever in Colorado). Ten years later that area is still devastated and only slowly coming back.



Mixed-severity fire regime, so not anymore close to being outside of HRV. It may be sad if it burns some houses down, but that's a risk people take living in the woods, same with floodplains, coasts, tornado-prone areas, etc). Next year and in subsequent years, there will be a ton of flowers and grasses, and loads of wildlife. The media and the damn bear make everyone think that wildfires are always bad. They're very important ecologically. The reason that the fires up in that area have been small, is that they're suppressed.



Wildfires are very important, but it becomes a hazard when you have overpopulated forests such as ours.

Hundreds of years ago, the forests to the west didn't look as they do today. They were sparsely populated, and because of this, wildfires generally only burned low-lying shrubs and brush, and the occasional young and vulnerable sapling. Large, adult trees rarely ignited because of the magnitude of heat and energy it takes to blaze an adult tree.

Because of overpopulation and close vicinity of adult trees, that is one reason why we get large crown fires.
Maybe, just once, someone will call me "Sir," without adding, "you're making a scene."

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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby gregS » Thu May 17, 2012 2:04 pm

bpko wrote:Wildfires are very important, but it becomes a hazard when you have overpopulated forests such as ours.

Hundreds of years ago, the forests to the west didn't look as they do today. They were sparsely populated, and because of this, wildfires generally only burned low-lying shrubs and brush, and the occasional young and vulnerable sapling. Large, adult trees rarely ignited because of the magnitude of heat and energy it takes to blaze an adult tree.

Because of overpopulation and close vicinity of adult trees, that is one reason why we get large crown fires.


No disagreement on the level of hazard, albeit to firefighters, not the ecosystem. If you look at the data, ponderosa pine trees began migrating into that area of Poudre Canyon around the 1500s (based on the oldest trees in plots). They were most likely there much earlier. Ponderosa pine forests along the Front Range are characterized by a mixed-severity fire regime (low intensity surface fires, as well as isolated and group torching, and stand-replacing fire). If you want to speak of wildfires that “generally only burned low-lying shrubs and brush, and the occasional young and vulnerable sapling”, go down to Arizona. For my capstone forestry/fire science project at CSU, my group was the only one that correctly identified this exact area as having a mixed-severity regime.

We have overpopulated forests because of fire suppression. As you mention, trees in the area were normally more spaced out and there were larger areas of shrubs and grass. Stand replacement and group torching created those gaps. Since it’s a mixed-severity regime, fires in the area of that magnitude and characteristics of isolated/group torching and stand replacement are not of the norm. As I stated earlier, it’s a good area to burn because of the vast expanse between communities where the fire is currently burning. Historically, fires in the 10s of thousands of acres would’ve burned over such an area.

Hopefully no one loses their house, but don’t pretend that fire is a bad thing or that this is an abnormal or ecologically destructive event.

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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby birdsall » Thu May 17, 2012 2:06 pm

this is sad. regarding spectators clogging up the area, you'd think they could post someone by ted's place and just asking people why they need to go into the canyon. ask them if they could turn around if it's just to look at the fire. you can't stop them, but it couldn't hurt. that person's probably better served helping out with the situation in the canyon, though.

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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby wildlobo71 » Thu May 17, 2012 2:12 pm

bpko wrote:
gregS wrote:
Steve Knapp wrote:That is a huge jump in size from what they quoted yesterday. 5,000 acres is about the size of the entire Vail ski area including all the back bowls. Let's hope it doesn't get too much bigger. Some fires can be good but not when they nuke huge areas. The Hayman fire was 138,000 acres (biggest ever in Colorado). Ten years later that area is still devastated and only slowly coming back.



Mixed-severity fire regime, so not anymore close to being outside of HRV. It may be sad if it burns some houses down, but that's a risk people take living in the woods, same with floodplains, coasts, tornado-prone areas, etc). Next year and in subsequent years, there will be a ton of flowers and grasses, and loads of wildlife. The media and the damn bear make everyone think that wildfires are always bad. They're very important ecologically. The reason that the fires up in that area have been small, is that they're suppressed.



Wildfires are very important, but it becomes a hazard when you have overpopulated forests such as ours.

Hundreds of years ago, the forests to the west didn't look as they do today. They were sparsely populated, and because of this, wildfires generally only burned low-lying shrubs and brush, and the occasional young and vulnerable sapling. Large, adult trees rarely ignited because of the magnitude of heat and energy it takes to blaze an adult tree.

Because of overpopulation and close vicinity of adult trees, that is one reason why we get large crown fires.


Let me ask a first grade question simply because I've never thought about a forest being overforested naturally... How does a forest get overforested naturally? USFS doesn't reseed acres and square miles of forest every year trying to make the forest dense... So how is it that "overforested" forests we are seeing now aren't natural? All factors being equal, the only variable to a "natural" thinner forest and an "unnatural" thickly forested forest is the lightning strike that starts the fire. Was there more lightning - or simply were the forests so heavily forested - without man to suppress them - that entire ranges of forest would be cleared out in a season with one big storm event?

In otherwords, these forests went from near "normal" to thickly forested in the matter of 60-80 years, or since the advent of modern forest-fire fire fighting techniques?
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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby Vincopotamus » Thu May 17, 2012 2:25 pm

wildlobo71 wrote:Let me ask a first grade question simply because I've never thought about a forest being overforested naturally... How does a forest get overforested naturally? USFS doesn't reseed acres and square miles of forest every year trying to make the forest dense... So how is it that "overforested" forests we are seeing now aren't natural? All factors being equal, the only variable to a "natural" thinner forest and an "unnatural" thickly forested forest is the lightning strike that starts the fire. Was there more lightning - or simply were the forests so heavily forested - without man to suppress them - that entire ranges of forest would be cleared out in a season with one big storm event?

In otherwords, these forests went from near "normal" to thickly forested in the matter of 60-80 years, or since the advent of modern forest-fire fire fighting techniques?


The idea is that since humans started suppressing and excluding fires from forests about 100-150 years ago, smaller 'baby' trees that would have normally been killed by more or less regular fires have been allowed to grow up into mature trees. Mature trees, especially the thick-barked, ponderosa pine like Greyrock has, are more fire resistant/resilient than immature trees. The result is an overcrowded forest, which is more prone to disease and more serious, catastrophic fires.

I'm starting a wildland firefighting job in Montana in a couple weeks, and in a perverse way, I hope it does end up being an active fire season. That said, I hope there are no injuries, deaths or property losses this season.
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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby madbuck » Thu May 17, 2012 2:48 pm

The talk about fire suppression, overforestation, and where people choose to live is true enough.
We could argue about how much suppression, or when and where controlled burns should be done. (Poorly-planned 'controlled' burns that result in loss of life, property, and acreage notwithstanding).
And clearly, lightning happens.

But this fire is suspected to be human-caused. By all appearances, this fire, at this time, shouldn't have started 'naturally.' I consider stupid human behaviour (unattended campfires, careless cigarette butts, wanton arson, or un-"controlled" burns) to be orthogonal to the discussion of what to do after the fire started, for stupid human behaviour is also not natural. (Or, at least it shouldn't be! :D )

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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby bpko » Thu May 17, 2012 2:50 pm

^ what The Potamus said
Maybe, just once, someone will call me "Sir," without adding, "you're making a scene."

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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby Vincopotamus » Thu May 17, 2012 2:55 pm

madbuck wrote:The talk about fire suppression, overforestation, and where people choose to live is true enough.
We could argue about how much suppression, or when and where controlled burns should be done. (Poorly-planned 'controlled' burns that result in loss of life, property, and acreage notwithstanding).
And clearly, lightning happens.

But this fire is suspected to be human-caused. By all appearances, this fire, at this time, shouldn't have started 'naturally.' I consider stupid human behaviour (unattended campfires, careless cigarette butts, wanton arson, or un-"controlled" burns) to be orthogonal to the discussion of what to do after the fire started, for stupid human behaviour is also not natural. (Or, at least it shouldn't be! :D )


I agree. But the way I think of it, that forest "needs to" burn (ecologically speaking) sooner or later. And with the way the Front Range population is growing, it's probably only going to get more crowded with people and trees in the future, so now is just about as good of time to burn as any. Not saying people should be stupid and/or start their own prescribed fires, but as long as it's already on fire, might as well make the best of it.
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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby wildlobo71 » Thu May 17, 2012 4:04 pm

Thanks gents... just feel silly since as soon as I read your responses, it unfolded in my mind clearly.

Let's not mention this mental-lapse moment on the other threads, okay? Thanks... :P
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Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby madbuck » Fri May 18, 2012 2:14 pm

Update:
http://www.coloradoan.com/viewart/20120518/NEWS01/120518004/Fort-Collins-man-gets-citation-starting-Hewlett-Fire-while-camping

Alcohol stove...a little more surprising (to me) than an unattended campfire.

Re: Grayrock group -- torched

Postby its_not_a_tuba » Fri May 18, 2012 3:04 pm

Good for him coming forward. I would be scared out of my mind if that were me.
"Wilderness settles peace on the soul because it needs no help. It is beyond human contrivance." -- E.O. Wilson

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