Skip to comments.CA: Fire follies - Common sense missing in forest policy
Posted on 07/05/2007 1:17:50 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
The recent loss of more than 200 homes in the Angora fire near Lake Tahoe was another ugly reminder that California hasn't gotten its act together on forest policy.
As San Diego County residents know painfully well from fall 2003, when the Cedar and Paradise fires destroyed more than 2,400 homes, much of the state is at risk.
But long before 2003, fire experts had zeroed in on the especially destructive possibilities of a wildfire in the Tahoe basin, where thousands of homes are built in forests that are vastly thicker than they were in the days when there were few homes and small blazes went unsuppressed, reducing the risk of much-bigger fires.
In 1998, these warnings finally paid off when the Clinton administration unveiled a plan to use controlled burns and forest thinning to head off a devastating blaze. But a not-so-funny thing happened: The plan essentially went ignored as affected homeowners balked at its inconveniences, bureaucracies squabbled and incredibly green activists slammed thinning as an assault on the environment.
The result, as Lake Tahoe homeowner Richard Carlson complained in the San Francisco Chronicle: Unless you go through an insanely complex, expensive and lengthy permit process, you can't touch a tree that's larger than 6 inches in diameter, even if it's next to your house.
San Diego County, thankfully, learned from its 2003 nightmare and has a much wiser policy. But obstacles to fire prevention are still common around the state.
This is why, as we enter a particularly ominous wildfire season, it's obvious we need a new era of common sense on forest policy one in which homeowners work to protect themselves by taking care of their own property; bureaucracies cooperate by allowing thinning and doing thinning programs of their own; and greens accept thinning as sensible. Otherwise, horrific wildfires will come to seem a painful but routine part of California life.
I wonder, now, if I could design a fireproof house.
The states of Nevada and California and the federal government need to quit passing laws that cannot be financed. Or should it be that they REFUSE to finance.
If the gov’t cannot keep the forests in the Tahoe Basin clean then get the hell out and privatize the land. Let anybody do the job they refuse to do.
How about concrete siding???
There is a house on my block with concrete siding - all the same, it is a wood frame house, and with time, would burn.
More like an outer layer of brick, a middle layer of hollow block vented at the top, and an inner layer of rebar-reenforced concrete, with a steel structure inside. Use steel I-beams for the structure, and steel studs for the walls/partitions, and build the stairwells, etc, of stone.
Oh, and put the main entry on the second floor, with a stone stairwell leading up to it, on the outside of the house. This increases standoff.
And make it round.
Heck, this peel tower would withstand the hurricane in NOLA, more less a fire.
That's part of the problem--as the article alludes to, there are so many regulatory bodies at Tahoe dictating what a property owner can and can't do--the US Forest Service, BLM, and one of the worst, the TRPA (Tahoe Regional Planning Authority), which is like a lake-wide homeowner's association.
Then you have the watermelons to contend with. They don't want a single tree cut in the "pristine" forests, yet the forests in the Sierras aren't pristine. The old growth forest was cut down long ago and replaced with a dense forest you see today. IOW, the forests in the Sierras were customized for logging, yet they can't be logged anymore thanks to the watermelons. The only recourse for the forest is to burn, and that's what happens.
Follow the money. Who were the winners of the government negligence?
There should be things like this available...
The 747 makes a nice photo-op, but...
The DC-10, operating on a Kern County fire two weeks ago, hit a down-draft, clipped some trees, and came within a few yards of feeding the fire with the large fire-ball that would have been caused by its crash. Wildfire conditions need slow-moving, agile, aircraft. Heavies just aren’t suited for that use.
Maybe for a grass fire in the midwest, or something....
For years I have said the major problem with clear cutting is the appearance of the land afterwards. Instead of cutting out a square or a rectangle from the forest, spill some coffee on the floor and whatever shape the spill takes is the shape of the next clear cut.
That way no two clear cuts would be instantly identifiable from 2000 feet with the naked eye. As soon as the natural grasses take hold, in one year or less it wouldn’t be instantly identifiable from 1000 feet with the naked eye.
What passes for environmental policy on the left is nothing more than social engineering. Many of their policies are actually antithetical to good environmental policy.
One way would be an underground house completely covered except for the front. Most of the exposed surface could be concrete or brick. Also very energy efficient.
Yes - but I don’t want to live in a cave.