Odds and Ends
1 12, 11:51am
I worked for CAL FIRE for a decade, the majority of that time in Butte Co. I have fought fire in the very areas that burned here. The area in question is primarily SRA (State Responsibility Area) and is known to have significant fire history. After the 2008 Lightning Store almost wiped out the same area plans were implemented to respond to similar fires (and it's a good thing, had they not paved and widened the road north the loss of life would have been much worse).
One factor at play here are the notorious Jarbo Jap winds, tinder-dry or not sustained winds of 20 mph with gust to 70 are going to drive a fire fast. More so when terrain and winds are aligned.
While the area has burn history I can also attest that this area of California is thick with Manzanita, a shrub of the Arctostaphylos genus, which grows fast when given the opportunity to receive adequate sunlight. These shrubs have a natural oil and they burn hot and fast.
I do know that salvage logging is happening in the Berry Creek and Feather Falls areas South East of the burn, but I cannot say for sure whether they have been doing salvage logging in the area that burned. I can say that when I was last up there it was pretty dense vegetation wise.
Which brings me to my last thoughts. To be completely honest we do not really do a good job of forest management in the SRA. Fire is a natural part of a healthy forest, something that we interrupted back when the UF Forest Service declared war on forest fires around the 1930's. While the US Forest Service has changed its tactics into fire management and does fire mitigation and forest floor clearing work. The SRA is a much different story. The SRA is heavy I-Zone, specifically Urban-Wildland Intermix. 1) No one is really willing to risk prescribed burning around homes. 2) There is not much funding for state mitigation work. Yes, the CCC and Prison Work Crews do some thinning, but this is typically around roads, trail systems, and publicly owned facilities. Nearly no thinning is done in the SRA that is not private or conducted as noted above.