Preventing future fires

mhagen replyto at group.only
Sun Jan 11 13:42:04 EST 2004

Larry Harrell wrote:

> mhagen <replyto at group.only> wrote in message news:<1000elenhnn95b5 at>...
>>>Besides, nothing is more important than firefighting JOBS!
>>Well, youre right about that! It's going to be touch and go for the next 
>>few decades.
> Or would that be TORCH and go? <G>
> Regular firefighters used to sometimes tell me to get moving during
> broadcast burning. I was always wanting to watch fire behavior under
> those "relatively controlled conditions". At this one county park, the
> personnel there wanted to do a "controlled burn" of that flammable
> plant called bear clover or "mountain misery", because of the smell of
> the flammable oils it puts out. The burn was only a small triangular
> piece between the road along the lake and the main county highway
> above. (Mike H. knows where Sly Park is.) Well, they figured they
> could easily light it along the bottom and it would quickly burn up to
> the road and go out. Unfortunately, they didn't burn out the fuel next
> to the road first. After they lit it in several points along the
> bottom, it picked up intensity and started to burn the saplings and
> small trees. When it got to the top, flame lengths were up to 20 feet
> and threatening to jump the road (in this heavily populated dense
> forest). With help from other agencies they somehow stopped it from
> crossing the road. For months that scorched piece of land showed the
> public how stupid a government agency can be sometimes.
> Larry,    wanting to play with drip torches

ARRR, there's a little pyro in all of us ex firedogs.  The joke on slash 
burn days since General Sherman's time: Yep, guys, light 'er at the 
bottom and lets hit the next three before lunch.

On a certain unnamed district in northern cal, the tradition was for the 
entire district to stop whatever else they were doing and work on slash 
disposal for a week in mid to late Fall.  Fish bios, road crew, 
foresters, secretaries, anybody with a red card was out with a truck and 
a torch. The district had a full time slash crew as well but they were 
put on the biggest units. One year all went as planned, hundreds of 
acres of slash was disposed of.  Then the rains came.  The cloud deck 
dropped down low and the cold, dark season began. Of course there were 
days where the deck lifted. The fire recon flight contract ended. 
Lookouts were long since laid off. Several weeks later a call came in 
from the S.O. - say, did you guys notice a forest fire out in the XX 
area?  Seems the satellite that monitors the earth for A-bomb blasts was 
picking up a big heat source on the district and relayed the message 
down through channels to the forest. Maybe we should send an FPT out to 
take a look... Found a several hundred acre burn smoldering away. Seems 
a light and leave pile burn had combined several adjacent 50+ acre cut 
units. Between reburns and reprod the cleaned off area was much larger 
than anticipated. Chalked it up to over-achievement of burn acreage 
goals and let the rains put it out.

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