Smokey The Bear – You’re Fired

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Wildfires sweeping across California are threatening the US state’s famed Sequoia trees, with firefighters scrambling to protect the national treasures.

The so-called Rough Fire, the largest of more than a dozen burning across northern and central California, has edged closer to the giant trees in recent days with firefighters scrambling to protect them.

“The fire has moved into a number of Sequoia groves in King’s Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Forest and we are taking preventive measures to make sure nothing happens to them,” park spokesman Mike Theune told AFP.

Of particular concern is the General Grant tree, the second largest Sequoia in the world. It stands 268 feet (81.7 meters) tall.

Theune said firefighters are monitoring the tree round-the-clock, spraying water and clearing the area around Grant grove.

Wildfires threaten California’s treasured Sequoias – Yahoo News

Fire is an essential part of the Giant Sequoia life cycle.

Fire in this forest (1) prepares a seedbed; (2) cycles nutrients; (3) sets back succession in certain relatively small areas; (4) provides conditions which favor wildlife; (5) provides a mosaic of age classes and vegetation types; (6) reduces numbers of trees susceptible to attack by insects and disease; and (7) reduces fire hazards.

The 1890 photograph below shows what Giant Sequoia forest is supposed to look like. Large trees, some with bases hollowed out by hundreds of fires.

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Humans decided to fix this natural balance, and quit allowing fires to occur.  As a result, there is a huge amount of underbrush growing in the forest now, which makes fires burn much hotter and makes them much more dangerous to the large trees. The photo below was taken in 1970

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Fire’s Role in a Sequoia Forest – Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (U.S. National Park Service)

Government created the hazard to the trees, and now they blame their stupidity on your SUV creating imaginary global warming.

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2 Responses to Smokey The Bear – You’re Fired

  1. richard says:

    not helped by the spread of non native species spreading across the US-

    “The Great Basin is a large area composed of arid lands that stretch across Utah, Colorado, California and Oregon.The research team found that 39 of the 50 biggest wildfires recorded from 2000 to 2009 in the Great Basin were caused by cheatgrass”

    The findings of the study,”Introduced annual grass increases regional fire activity across the arid western USA (1980-2009),” appear in the online edition of journal Global Change Biology.

    http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/355/20121206/invasive-cheatgrass-triggers-frequent-wildfires-great-basin.htm

    Never plough up prairie grass, it can withstand decades of drought and even flower during them.

  2. Sheri says:

    Cheatgrass is indeed a problem. However, fire makes it much worse. Cheatgrass is an annual. If it burns, as long as it’s gone to seed, it doesn’t matter. It’s first up next spring. Killing it is extremely difficult. You have to apply herbicide before the temperature drops below 40F in the fall or it germinates and there’s no stopping it. The widespread nature makes this effective only if everyone applies the herbicide. Cheatgrass was introduced in the 1800’s when no one gave a thought to what would happen over 100 years later. Contrary to what the article says, cheatgrass only fails to grow in extreme drought and even then, it comes up enough to seed itself for next fall. In thirty years, I have had only one or two seasons that did not have cheatgrass everywhere. (Cheatgrass is up, seeded and dead within a month or so. Mowing is ineffective unless you make sure the grass does not go to seed, which is tricky.)

    Plowing up prairies does not cause the cheatgrass to grow. In fact, one of the major reasons for the spread is wildfires. Where I live, wildfires in 1995, 2001 and 1991 burned thousands of acres of prairie. The native grass came back, but more slowly than the cheatgrass. Throw in a drought, and viola, cheatgrass everywhere. Now that the drought is lessening, the native grasses are coming back slowly. I still have cheatgrass everywhere, but more native grass in with it.

    I wondered how long before the fires threatened something truly valuable, like Giant Sequoias. Never mind the people and their homes. We must “save” the trees. Even if they don’t need saved.

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