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The Rake


Every time Trump praise a Scandinavian country for something the country responds with mockery. After he talked about how good Finland is at preventing forest fires the Finns responded with a flood of photos of themselves raking the snow covered ground and otherwise showing off their awesome rakes and all the amazing uses for them.

Finland
30th November 2018
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10 days ago #9801325        
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As someone who actually lives near Paradise and the fire zone, part of the problem is that the Cali greens have this wrong idea about forests. They put out all the fires, allowing a massive build up of biomass. They prevented the harvesting of deadwood - not just tree thinning. The tree density is around 40 trees per acre* instead of a much more healthy 15 or so. They ignored the devastation of an invasive beetle that made that dense forest have many dead trees, refusing to use pesticides to kill the beetle or remove the dead trees.

"It's natural, don't you see" said the greens. Yet the prevented the summer wildfires for years. Decades. They couldn't see the forest for the trees. The dense, dying trees.

So...

40 trees per acre, many of them dead. The ground piled with decades of leaf litter, dry brush, and deadwood. Think about that, my Nordic chums.

Now in California we have a Mediterranean climate. That means during the winter months we get rain and cold, and the three other seasons are dry with very hot summers. My Nordic friends this is NOT a taiga forest.

I mean it's not like a lot of Californians did not point out the problem. Yell and scream about it even, especially those of us who live near those forests in the less fashionable parts of the state. But our politics are weighted by population and the two vast cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles have nearly all the votes in our legislature. They don't live near forests. They visit them to protest loggers and hug trees. So they stopped any harvests, any clearings, and any new roads through the forests. They shot down the logging industries in all the small, unfashionable towns far away from them.

One spark. A downed power line, or the hot exhaust pipe of a car pulled on the road side. All that wood. Dry wood built up after years. Whoosh. No firebreaks. No roads to get to the fires. The dry autumn winds of a California autumn.

78 confirmed dead so far. The lucky asphyxiated before they burned to death. The unlucky didn't. 300+ still missing. My friends and family are the lucky ones - a house can be rebuilt.

I hope that maybe, just maybe, the rest of my fellow Californians change their minds and their legislators minds about forest management. Maybe allow some, I dunno, logging? Clearing out reasonable amounts of deadwood? Creating service roads to access the deep forest? It's not like we don't know how to manage a forest.

*An acre is one chain by one furlong for you metric people out there, AKA the rest of the world ;-)


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10 days ago #9801296        
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To be fair, Trump actually has a point (shock and horror!). I guess there is a first time for everything. Americans tend to remove the branches of trees before they are cut down. Finns, on the other hand, remove the branches after the trees have been cut down. This is known as raking. Then the floor of the forest (yes, it is called the floor no matter what Seth Meyers and other American journalists and entertainers say) is cleaned from the branches. This combined with removing bushes and small saplings, and thinning the forest regularly are known as gardening. And gardening combined with keeping roadside vegetation short slows down fires and makes it easier for firefighters to do their job, even though the Santa Ana winds and the California droughts will make these measures less effective than they are in Finland.
A note: I think that Trump’s views on climate change are appalling, but ignoring these things would be stupid, because the climate change will get worse before it will get better, since we need energy to make the windmills, solar panels and electric cars that will eventually slow things down. Ignoring gardening measures is like ignoring seatbelts while waiting for people to learn how to drive better, because seatbelts do not prevent traffic accidents.


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8 days ago #9801573        
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Yes, cold, wet Finland doesn't have as many forest fires as hot, dry California because of "rakes", that totally makes sense.


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9 days ago #9801475        
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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.


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Liki

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10 days ago #9801319        
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image

Dorsai

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9 days ago #9801551        
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One of the most entertaining aspects of the Trump years has been getting to watch entire nations of supposedly sophisticated people gibber and caper any time Trump mentions them.

You guys are the best!


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9 days ago #9801354        
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Could someone from Finland please come hit this spray-tanned shit-gibbon with a rake? You'd be doing the whole world a favor.

Henlaar

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8 days ago #9801672        
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For Finland, a rake is a 7 pronged Knife.


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8 days ago #9801569        
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Why doesn't a cold, wet place get as many forest fires as a hot, dry place? Probably rakes.

6 days ago #9801969        
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The mindless hatred of Donald Trump is ridicules.


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