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Thread: Planning in the American West

  1. #26
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    I'm interested to see what the aftermath will be in Colorado Springs. It was known for a long time that those houses were at a significant risk for forest fires but the residents failed to heed any of the advice on how to mitigate it. Some areas were so bad that the fire department essentially told residents they'd be out of luck if a fire occurred. So now we have a fire and a blame game will likely follow.
    Indeed. In Montana there is a big push for defendable and survivable space around homes in the wildlands. Our rural fire departments are not equipped for fighting structural fires in high fire risk areas. There is a real danger of firefighters getting caught in a blaze. The Mann Fire is always on people's mind. Our local firefighters are volunteers. They will try to protect property, but if it gets too dangerous and their resources are too stretched, they sometimes have to pull back and let a house or houses burn. To expect them to do otherwise is outrageous.

    The state and federal agencies are only supposed to fight wildfires on their lands and adjoining lands, if the fire spreads. Of course if they come upon a house in danger, they will do what they can (being good neighbors).

    In the paper today the stories on the Corral Fire (outsdie of Helena) included the sheriff telling some people to evacuate (which they were supposed to do two days ago) and while he was warning them the wind shifted and the fire was heading straight for them. The sheriff got the hell out of Dodge, being a man of great common sense. The people did too.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

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  2. #27
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I just hope we (in the West in particular) can get out ahead of the game to manage what has burned in a way that will minimize the intensity of future fires. What we do about the endless forestland that is still waiting to explode, I donít really know.
    Just thinking of Colorado Springs where I'm from, I'm not even sure how you can begin to do it. Those forests are so spotted with houses that there's virtually no way to do any sort of controlled burn. It's also not realistic to think additional regulations will do anything either.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    There is a myth, can't call it an urban myth, I guess. I will call it a rural myth. Someone noticed that some houses in wildlands have a rock painted white near the driveway entrance.

    The myth is that the fire professionals paint a rock white or place a painted rock at the driveway of a property that is too dangerous to save. Maybe the fuel load on the property is dangerously high, or the driveway is too steep or too narrow for the fire truck to get through and safely back again.

    Or maybe the house is advertising that they are swingers.

    Either way, it is probably not a good idea to go up the driveway.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  4. #29
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Being from the West (maybe)...

    Much of what you say is true, but you seem to exclude California, much of Arizonia, Washington, etc. from your definition of the west. You seem to only be referring to the most rural parts of the West. I think one thing that does make the West different from the rest of the country is the diversity of the landscape, its people and the political climate. The West includes the San Francicso Bay area and the big wide open spaces of Idaho and Montana. Most (not all) of the area does have scarce rainfall, much is earthquake country. Some if facing growth pressures, some are losing peope fast. Some places are extremely crowded, others empty. Put it all together and it is unique.
    I would say that with the exception of the major metropolitan areas: LA, San Diego, Bay Area, Phoenix, Seattle, this rings pretty true. Anyone who has ever made the drive from SoCal to NorCal can say that there are wide open stretches of what appear to be nothing. I've often wondered who works there and plans there.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post

    In the paper today the stories on the Corral Fire (outsdie of Helena) included the sheriff telling some people to evacuate (which they were supposed to do two days ago) and while he was warning them the wind shifted and the fire was heading straight for them. The sheriff got the hell out of Dodge, being a man of great common sense. The people did too.
    Fontanelle fire in SW WY blew up today. Seemingly every day when I check the satellite picture there is something new showing up. My wife grew up in the Springs and not having a good couple of days.

    That said, fire suppression is one thing, grazing, invasives, man-made climate change and building homes in a fire zone just as important - the latter means you can't do controlled burns to mitigate risk. We were up in Teller Co recently and were shocked at how dry it was. Going to be a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong fire season.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    That said, fire suppression is one thing, grazing, invasives, man-made climate change and building homes in a fire zone just as important - the latter means you can't do controlled burns to mitigate risk. We were up in Teller Co recently and were shocked at how dry it was. Going to be a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong fire season.
    Controlled burns don't always mitigate the risk either. The Corral Fire was started by a fellow who had a burn permit. He followed the requirements and thought his slash pile was out. Along comes a strong wind and there goes the neighborhood and 1,800 more acres.

    But on the brighter side, the fire companies, state fire crews, helicopters and planes dropping water and retardant are doing a wonderful job. The weather helped too. The fire is now 35 percent under control, the air quality is much better and fewer houses are in danger as the fire moves farther into BLM and state lands. Portions of the forest and meadows will get burned and rebound.

    I suspect, as happens when wildfires happen, there will be a brief period when there will be heightened concern about wildfire mitigation and a push for government to do more to protect property and prevent disasters, followed by complacency and back to ignoring the issue again.

    One hope of mine is that the banks will wake up and put pressure on developers and homeowners to mitigate fire risks. We can push and push but get practically nowhere. But banks refuse to give a loan and suddenly property owners listen.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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