Western Wildfires

By: BriarCraft , 9:15 PM GMT on September 17, 2012

A couple of things have happened recently to focus my thoughts on wildfires. First, Ylee featured a webcam from Sisters, Oregon, on his blog and within a few days of posting it, the mountain view was obscured by smoke. Then, last week the weather service issued a Fire Weather Warning for parts of Washington and Oregon, including a "high Haines" index. During that period, when the prevailing high level westerly wind reversed, the sun could not be seen through the layer of smoke aloft.

Prior to last week, I had never heard of a Haines index. Thanks to a link posted by RenoSoHill on Ylee's blog, I discovered InciWeb. WatchinTheSky remarked that it seemed odd for the Evergreen State, home of the Emerald City (Seattle), to be under a Fire Weather Warning. And in my weekly email from Earth Observatory, the first photo was of -- you guessed it -- Washington wildfires. All this, at a time when I was trying to think up a new blog topic, so Wildfires it is.

Earth Observatory image of Central Washington wildfires

The Top 10 wildfires at InciWeb at the time I created this entry. There were 339 entries in the listing at the time and it changes frequently.

What is the Haines Index?
In a 1988 paper, Mr. Donald Haines of the USDA Forest Service’s North Central Research Station proposed what he called the “Lower Atmosphere Stability Index.” Renamed the Haines Index in his honor since then, it has a value of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 and is a simple measure of how strongly atmospheric conditions near the earth’s surface might contribute to an existing fire becoming a dangerous, erratic fire with a strong, well defined updraft. It reflects atmospheric stability and dryness for a layer of the atmosphere roughly 1 to 5 km above the surface.

To learn more about the Haines Index and view climatology maps, go to http://info.airfire.org/haines/whatishaines.html

The wildfire pictures below, as well as the chart above, are just a sampling of what you can find at InciWeb.org

Chall Creek fire (BriarCraft)
Chall Creek fire
Pole Creek fire (BriarCraft)
Pole Creek fire
Yakima Complex fire (BriarCraft)
Yakima Complex fire
Stafford fire (BriarCraft)
Stafford fire
InciWeb 10-01-12 (BriarCraft)
InciWeb 10-01-12

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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60. WunderAlertBot
8:43 PM GMT on October 09, 2012
BriarCraft has created a new entry.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
59. Ylee
8:45 AM GMT on October 09, 2012
I'm just guessing, but it looks like the number of big fires is decreasing!

How's the Tai Chi coming along?
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58. BriarCraft
12:43 AM GMT on October 09, 2012
Hey Janetlee!

LC: Aaaahhh shucks!

I found a new website with info about wildfires. It's the National Interagency Fire Center, which is where I found this:

Daily statistics 10/5/12
Number of new large fires 2
Number of active large fires 19
Total number includes full suppression and resource managed fires.
Total does not include individual fires within complexes.
Acres from active fires 686,270
Fires contained since 10/4/12 2
Year-to-date large fires contained 746

States currently reporting large fires:
Colorado (1)
Idaho (8)
Minnesota (2)
Montana (2)
Oregon (1)
Washington (4)
Utah (1)
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57. LowerCal
8:39 PM GMT on October 08, 2012
"Crazy ...." or alternatively "Highly Popular ....", great portrait photo. :^)
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56. janetlee
8:19 PM GMT on October 08, 2012
I see I'm not the only crazy cat lady down at the end of the road :D

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55. BriarCraft
8:06 PM GMT on October 08, 2012
Pros: We're down to 5 cats, the oldest is 16. All but one were strays we adopted. And yes, all are "fixed". The long orange one is Charlie and when he is stretched out on the floor, he measures 38inches from toe to toe. He's the only cat I've ever known who could reach the kitchen countertops while standing on the floor. Charlie also patrols the property to make sure no more cats come to live here. ;-)
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54. Proserpina
1:31 PM GMT on October 08, 2012
You really are a cat woman! Do I see five of them? Any others hiding somewhere? I love the elongated one, he/she is as long as your legs (almost)! A friend of mine fosters kittens and cats, she helps them heal and or adjust to humans and other pets. She asked me to name one of her latest guests, so I asked my granddaughter to help find a name. So the all black kittie is now known as Pepper.

Have a wonderful day and week.
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53. BriarCraft
7:21 PM GMT on October 06, 2012
GGrrl: souvenir cold? Some people just don't know where to draw the line. At least you didn't bring back any tribbles.

YCD: Five Cat Fall Afternoon - what are you going to do in the winter? If it gets a little colder, I've got a blankie. If it gets a lot colder, then I light a fire in the wood stove, but then there's the problem of roasted cats. They sprawl on the floor a little too close to the stove. By too close, I mean they actually become hot to the touch.
Good story about the converted barn. Whodathunk cleaning, drywall, and paint wouldn't have solved the horse dander problem?
I'm with Tloml in that I'd rather put up with some discomfort rather than live in a plastic shroud, too. That's what aspirin and antihistamines are for. ;-]
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52. ycd0108
4:23 PM GMT on October 06, 2012
Morning BriarCraft:
Five Cat Fall Afternoon - what are you going to do in the winter?
Tloml is allergic to horse and cat dandruff but we have had a few strays adopt us over the years. They tend to sit on me because Tloml can not touch them without a reaction. She decided years ago that she would rather put up with some discomfort than live in a plastic shroud but she still shies away from horses because that reaction is so severe.
Old story (stop me if you've heard this one):
A couple we knew renovated the lower floor of a barn that had been horse stables. Everything was cleaned and drywalled and painted.
They held an "House Warming" with good food and drink and a good time was had by all - except Tloml and two of the men started sneezing and weeping and had to be taken home.
The end.
I want to thank you for commenting on the pictures I post. It feels good to know someone has noticed, eh.
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51. GardenGrrl
6:54 PM GMT on October 05, 2012
Hi ya, it's time to catch up on blogs...although a nap is starting to sound good. In addition to several souvenir t-shirts I brought back a souvenir cold.
They had some great T's at Harry Potter land. Bought a Gryffindor jersey that will most likely be worn out from wearing all the time.
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50. BriarCraft
6:35 PM GMT on October 05, 2012
Ylee: I've heard it said in the Yukon that men judge the coldness of the night by how many dogs it takes to keep warm. (Remember the band Three Dog Night?) Well, the other night, as temperatures dipped and I didn't want to turn on the heat, it became a five cat night. And since their normal temperature is around 102F, they can keep a person warm.
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49. Ylee
2:21 AM GMT on October 05, 2012
Briar, I seen your new avy photo, and I think you won't need a blanket this winter for your chair! :)
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48. BriarCraft
11:45 PM GMT on October 03, 2012
Okay, so I got an email today from Khan Academy telling me about new content at KhanAcademy.org, which is like nerd heaven to me. Anyway, one thing in that email really caught my eye. I mean, I've never heard of hexaflexagons before and they've got an instructional video about them. Gotta go watch. If I've piqued your curiosity, just click here to see it for yourself.

I don't know about you, but that went by too fast for my old eyes (and brain) to follow, so I watched it again. All right, all right, so I'm a bit slow sometimes. But a nerd is a nerd is a nerd and I feel compelled to master this, or at least get a clue about it. And that lead me to discover The Flexagon Portal, which has, among lots of other varieties of flexagons, a Trihexaflexagon Classic just like in the Khan video. Origami is nice, but I'm fascinated now. Who knows where this will lead me? I do. Astray.

So now that I've removed all doubt as to the level of my nerdy eccentricity, you can go back to doing whatever you were doing before you stumbled upon this out-of-nowhere comment. Just try to have some fun while you're doing it, okay?
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47. BriarCraft
7:20 PM GMT on October 03, 2012
Ylee: Funny how cooler temps and rain can rejuvenate flower beds. Enjoy the blooms while you can!

I think we may have had our first frost. Why aren't I sure??? Well, the thermometer read 33F this morning. According to WU, our dewpoint was 31F, so no frost. But and however, when DH went to set some hoses to drip in the orchard this morning, the hoses were blocked with ICE!!! It wasn't real solid ice, as he was able to break it up by bending the hoses. The temperature at ground level had to have been at or below 32F, even though the thermometer said different.

We have another Fire Weather Warning in effect. The predicted low for tonight is 38F, the same as was predicted for last night. Hmmm. Clear skies. Very low dew point. Nothing to hold the warmth. I'm going to pick every green tomato that is showing even a hint of wanting to ripen. I'm also going to pick every remaining sweet pepper, mature or not. Too late for the basil -- the leaves are all black around the edges. Zucchini leaves are wilted. That's it for my itty bitty garden this year.
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46. Ylee
2:30 PM GMT on October 03, 2012
Funny thing about our flower garden, is now that the heat has gone and the rains have returned, all the plants and flowers have started growing and blooming like crazy! Just in time for a killing frost, lol!
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45. BriarCraft
9:25 PM GMT on October 02, 2012
Jus: Hope you have a great October, too!

Ylee: Deer have eaten green bean plants, carrot tops, but pepper plants are a first for me, too.

Gotta go out and clean up some more flowerbeds now. Still no rain in sight, but when it does finally come, it probably won't stop for months. I'm still hopeful of getting all the weeding, deadheading, and general clean-up done before it does. At this time of year, it always feels like a race, with no clear view of the finish line.
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44. Ylee
8:09 PM GMT on October 02, 2012
I've never had deer mess with the pepper plants; corn however, is a different story! :)

Hope you're having a good day!
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43. juslivn
3:35 AM GMT on October 02, 2012
Oh my goodness, I need to come here and read. There's so much interesting stuff here (as usual ;)

Happy October and hope it a good one for you and yours. White Wabits! Be back maybe tomorrow when it could be a little quiet at work so I can watch the Columbia River vid, etc...
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42. BriarCraft
12:48 AM GMT on October 02, 2012
Sandi: I hope you do take a few minutes to watch the Columbia River video on your big computer. It's quite something. And thanks for October poem!

Puget: I'm finally getting ripe tomatoes here, too. It's like the plants have gotten a clue that they'd better get with it before time runs out. Jane Doe (my very own pesky local deer) came through a few nights ago and ate the top half of my 4 pepper plants. Thankfully, she left the immature sweet peppers, but the plants look horrible with nibbled stems and only a few lower leaves.

Ylee: The prevailing winds shifted back to the west a couple of days ago, so skies are blue again. Still plenty of fires burning out west though.

You have a happy October, too, Pros!


Mustang Complex Update
October 1, 2012, 8:00 a.m.

Location: N of Main Salmon River and W of the North Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho

Number of Resources: 341 personnel including 4 hand crews, 13 engines, 8 water tenders, 1 dozer, and 3 helicopters

Size: 339,110 acres (that's 530 square miles!!!)

Percent Contained: 45

Injuries to Date: 8

Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Monday July 30th, 2012 approx. 10:15 AM
Location North Fork Ranger District

Current Situation
Total Personnel 299
Size 339,110 acres
Percent Contained 50%
Estimated Containment Date Tuesday October 9th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM

Fuels Involved
At lower elevations Ponderosa Pines with grass and brush understory. At higher elevations, lodge pole pine with heavy dead and down timber and extensive red needle bug kill. Fuel Model 2 and 10.

Fire Behavior
Creeping. Smoldering in heavy fuels.

I find it interesting that there are way fewer people fighting this fire than many others, and also that they have sustained some injuries. Is that because of rugged terrain? Or that there is no population center threatened?
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41. Proserpina
10:43 AM GMT on October 01, 2012
Happy October Pictures, Images and Photos
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40. Ylee
8:42 AM GMT on October 01, 2012

White rabbits, Briar! I seem to be following Sandi around, lol!
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39. sandiquiz
7:43 AM GMT on October 01, 2012

October: tenth month of the year,
Comes the winds, first frosts appear.
Takes the warmth from pure blue skies,
Opal mists, sun rays disguise,
Beguiles our hearts with morning's mild
Evenings come with weather wild,
Relinquishing our summer

BriarCraft - Wishing you a very happy, healthy and safe month.
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38. Ylee
2:30 AM GMT on October 01, 2012
I happened to check the Sisters cam a little bit ago, and the image is mostly clear, save for a small smoky area in front of the middle Sister!

Hope you're having a good weekend!
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37. PugetSoundPost
12:01 AM GMT on October 01, 2012
Hi Briar! It has been so busy for a long time now and I haven't been around much, but thanks for your time to look at the North Cascades photos! I'm glad you are inspired to go take a look some day. Not many people do - not sure if that is good or bad - could argue it either way I suppose.

Wow! What a September! Surely going out on a stellar note! Such a lovely day today. Nice, but surely fall, clear, blue, warm sunshine. I brought in another medium bowl of tomatoes today and also cut some sunflowers for a vase. My youngest daughter started them from seed early in the summer. When they were still small shoots, somebunny nibbled them off. So she replanted a second set of seeds, thankfully enough season was left to do that, and by a miracle nobunny left them alone and now the are blooming nicely. Too bad she is now gone and can't enjoy them. Our fall garden has now been badly nibbled. Oh boy.
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36. sandiquiz
9:36 AM GMT on September 30, 2012
Thanks for the peach pie recipe, it is one I will save and make later, possibly Christmas!

I can't see the video on my iPad as it obviously needs Flash, and Flash is something that Apple didn't put into the IPad. I will look at it when I get upstairs to the office and the big computer!

Have a happy Sunday :-)
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35. BriarCraft
11:29 PM GMT on September 29, 2012
For a really interesting 4:41 video of a time-lapse journey in/on/around the Columbia River, and also really good photo essay, check out http://www.oregonlive.com/multimedia/index.ssf/co lumbia_river_great_river_of.html

Here's a smaller version of the video, or follow the link above for more and bigger.

NOTE: At least with my connection, the embedded video takes several seconds to load. Be patient, or click on the link instead.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
34. sp34n119w
8:31 PM GMT on September 29, 2012
That peach pie recipe looks delicious! I'm jealous of your dad and all who enjoyed it :)

Thanks for the all the info on the fires up there. That's an amazing amount of acreage.
The Haines index is confusing to me. I'm sure it helps the forecasters so I'll just read what They say, lol
Appreciate the conversation here about the beetles and so forth. No idea what the solution to that could be. None, I suppose, and we'll have to get used to a different ecology.

So glad you are enjoying the Tai Chi! Can't believe how well you're doing. I mean, I can believe it but maybe can't relate since I would probably still be milking it for sympathy, LOL You are tougher than me, for sure!
Hope you're having a great (and smoke-free) weekend :)
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33. BriarCraft
7:24 PM GMT on September 29, 2012
Sandi: I'm not an early-bird, so I rarely see a sunrise. In winter, when the sun rises later, it's generally too cloudy to see. In summer, it's just way too early for me. My parents left here with full tummies yesterday and the pie was a hit.

In case anybody's interested, here's the recipe I used:

Fresh Peach Pie

1 pre-baked 9-inch pie shell
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

Combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Spread mixture over bottom of baked and cooled pie crust.

Place remaining sugar, water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup peaches in a blender and blend until smooth. Heat in a saucepan over medium heat until slightly thickened.

Toss remaining peaches with remaining lemon juice and set aside.

Add peaches to cooked mixture and stir to coat. Let mixture cool.

With slotted spoon, scoop up peaches and place in piecrust. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Top with whipped cream, if desired.
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32. sandiquiz
5:54 AM GMT on September 29, 2012
Happy, early Birthday to BC's dad.

Home made peach pie? Have you got any left? lol

It is only just after 6am and I have been awake for over an hour... couldn't sleep for some reason, bt it is a beautiful sunrise, which I would have missed if I had slept longer! So a win, win situation!

Happy Saturday:)
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31. BriarCraft
5:47 PM GMT on September 28, 2012
Ylee and Sandi: Still no sign of rain here. Very dry and still smoky. Hopefully Pole Creek and other fires will be under control soon.

Parents here for an early dinner. Dad's 82nd birthday is coming in early October, but they'll be at their favorite retreat on the Oregon coast then, so an early birthday celebration for him today -- stuffed green peppers and fresh peach pie.
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30. sandiquiz
6:49 AM GMT on September 28, 2012

How did the second Tai Chi class go? Hope you feel good and not sore!

Looks like we have a decent weekend, weather wise, no rain in my area,but it comes back next week!
Hope the fires are being contained.... as Ylee said, the report is 85% contained, but that means 15% isn't!

Take care :)
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29. Ylee
5:31 AM GMT on September 28, 2012
Pole Creek, at latest report, is at 85% contained!

Hope you are doing well!
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28. BriarCraft
4:16 AM GMT on September 27, 2012
That's a good find, Bogon! It really shows what we've been seeing here. Even when the marine layer of clouds burns off mid-day and the sun comes out, the shadows are "soft", sunglasses aren't needed, and the sky looks dingy-dirty instead of blue.
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27. Bogon
3:47 PM GMT on September 26, 2012
Found this satellite photo of your neck of the woods today. You can clearly see a pall of smoke across northern Oregon and southern Washington.

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26. BriarCraft
2:03 AM GMT on September 26, 2012
Sandi and Ylee: I was a little bit achy Monday evening, but no stiffness or aches Tuesday morning.

DH and I went to Longview today and did a serious grocery shopping and then bought DH a new toy: a leaf blower. We've never had one before, but I think he'll find it useful for clearing pine and fir needles from the roofs and gutters before the fall rains come. Certainly should beat sweeping roofs and clearing gutters by hand. It should also come in handy for clearing gravel pathways of needles and leaves.

Tai Chi class again tomorrow afternoon. Then maybe I can get caught up on some overdue WUvisits. Too long since I've visited some of you. And I know there are some new blogs I haven't even seen yet.
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25. Ylee
10:26 PM GMT on September 25, 2012
Feeling sore from the Tai Chi? If so, I'm sure it will pass quickly!

Take care!
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24. sandiquiz
11:44 AM GMT on September 25, 2012
I am so glad to see you had a good time at your èvening class. I have a friend who has been going for five years and wouldn't miss her weekly session for anything!

I did yoga years ago, but nothing lately. I did buy myself a tread mill to walk on, as I dislike going out walking on my own, and it really isn't that safe in a large town, with busy roads! I have found I can walk and watch tv at the same time! Result! lol!
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23. BriarCraft
12:17 AM GMT on September 25, 2012
Ylee: Yes, it looks hopeful that the Sisters Pole Creek fire might actually be contained one of these days, as long as the winds don't kick up again.

Cascade Creek fire, south flank of Mt. Adams

Closures: The Mt. Adams Wilderness is closed. There is a large area of the forest around the fire and outside the wilderness that is also closed.

Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Sunday September 09th, 2012 approx. 06:30 AM

Current Situation
Total Personnel 611
Size 13,727 acres
Percent Contained 40%

Fuels Involved
Timber (litter and understory) 60% Heavy Bug-killed Timber.

Fire Behavior
Active fire in burnout operations and Division C. Backing fire and smoldering.

Significant Events
Fire continues to burn actively in the northwest (Division C). Fire continues to also burn towards the White Salmon and Lewis River Drainages with fire backing in areas. We continue to be successful in holding our control lines on the southeast flank.

This satellite photo from Earth Observatory shows parts of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. This view was acquired Sept. 17.


I attended the first Tai Chi class today and I think it's going to be just the ticket for the hip rehab. The slow, controlled movements give the muscles a gentle workout, but it is definitely a workout nonetheless. The muscles around the incision area were quivering a bit by the time the class was over, but nothing was hurting. It was interesting to have a 77-year-old teacher, too.
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22. Ylee
9:54 PM GMT on September 24, 2012
I think the Pole Creek fire is winding down; they have the fire 65% contained, and there are fewer firefighters there than there was during the weekend. The light rain they recieved last night helped, too!

Hope you had a good weekend!
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21. BriarCraft
2:02 AM GMT on September 24, 2012
Sandi: Thanks for the poem! Makes me wonder where you've been wandering to find such a nice verse about such destructive power.

Pros: I took a couple of years of karate lessons when I was a teenager. When I first saw someone doing a tai chi routine in a park, it reminded me of a slow motion kata (a choreographed routine of karate moves). From your experience, it would seem that tai chi has its roots in some form(s) of martial arts. And, for those who are good at it, it looks like poetry in motion.

WTS: Rebellious skin? I hope you don't have any more of those. But you're right that nerves are slow to repair themselves. Sure does feel strange though.
Your nighttime low is about the same as our daytime high, so I guess your fall weather is being delayed a bit.

GGrrl: Actually, the forest industry isn't all that bad any more. Between regulations and profit motive, they've learned not only to replant what they cut, but they even plant diverse varieties instead of just a single type of tree. They actually do a pretty good job of growing and maintaining a healthy forest in recent years. 50 years ago, they didn't do anything except clear cut trees and pillage the land. Since they want to make sure they have trees to harvest 30 years from now, they do have a vested interest in finding a solution.

Thanks for stopping by while I was otherwise occupied this weekend!
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20. Proserpina
4:49 PM GMT on September 23, 2012
So sad about the wildfires. So much destruction, some natural but some caused by stupid human beings (intentional fires or 'accidental'). Yes, all it takes is one match!

My husband and I practiced Tai Chi for many years. Our main teacher was a Chinese man, knowledgeable and nice. He eventually lost the venue where he was teaching and we ended up practicing on his lawn with all of the neighbors watched! When I started developing some health problems exacerbated by exercise, I gave up tai chi but hubby kept it us for a few more years. It was fun for us and we got to learn all kinds of martial arts as well, but all good things seem to come to an end. Enjoy your relaxing activity!
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19. GardenGrrl
9:55 AM GMT on September 23, 2012
Good Morning. That would be somewhat ironic if the logging industry came up with an environmentally friendly controll of bark beetles.
Glad you are going to the tai chi. Movement is real important to keep the rust from setting in. It will take a long while for the weird numb feeling at the incision to go away. One day you just won't notice it anymore.
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18. WatchinTheSky
4:00 AM GMT on September 23, 2012
Hmmm.. Nice weather is on hold for a couple days, 97 today, should be 99 Sunday and last night was 68. Maybe Autumn gets here by mid-week.
I had a patch of 'rebellious' skin removed from my shoulder 3-4 years ago and just now the numbness is about gone there. Takes a while for the nerves to move back in, I guess.
Hope you are having a nice and smoke free weekend!
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17. Proserpina
1:40 PM GMT on September 22, 2012

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
George Eliot

I'll come back later to read about he fires.
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16. sandiquiz
7:38 AM GMT on September 22, 2012
I came across this in my Internet wanderings and thought of your blog!

It only takes one match!

The fire comes leaping through the woods
Burning all of Nature's goods.
It jumps and sways from side to side,
Using each tree for its scorching ride.
It sputters left and sputters right--
Killing life with greedy delight.
It plays with leaves and very tall  pines,
Breaking in places, then it combines.
The trip is ended, the forest is gone.
It all started just before dawn.
So many were happy while they lived here;
Now, they're all hiding in fear.
It only takes a single match..

Where's the next forest a fire can catch?

(C) 2006 George E Thompson

Have a good weekend, and a safe one!
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15. BriarCraft
8:22 PM GMT on September 20, 2012
Poppy: Pheromones? Huh! I love it when we find a solution that comes from nature, even if it is produced in a lab. You're right in that the first step is discovery of a solution. Then a cost-effective and efficient method of delivery is needed. Who knows? Maybe the logging industry will solve that one, since their future profits are on the line.

YCD: You're not alone in just sitting back to watch. I do that in a lot of blogs myself. For example, Atlantic hurricanes are of interest, but what can I contribute to the conversation? So I generally only comment in those blogs to wish someone well when a storm is heading toward them or express joy that they were unharmed afterward. Even so, you found a good article and I'll share a couple of quotes here:

[A 2007 British Columbia] provincial report suggested the infestation that currently affects 13 million hectares of forests could kill close to 80 per cent of the Interior's pines in the next few years.

Dead forests behave like a clear-cut when it comes to water. More snow on the ground and more direct sunlight lead to earlier and greater spring run-off. ... That can spell flooding, landslides and decreased water quality. These altered patterns can also lead to water shortages later in the year if the snow melts too early.

WTS: Yes, those #!@% (expletive deleted) bark beetles. I find it rather annoying and surprising that there's seldom if ever any mention of this serious problem in the news or on the Science Channel. It's like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. The more I get to looking into wildfires, the more elephant tracks I see.

As to shorter days and cooler temps, yes, there's always a drawback for every good thing. Nature likes balance. Nothing bad without some good and vice versa.

Yes, the hip is pretty much healed. There's a 2-inch-wide strip of skin aft of the 11 inch scar that's still numb and the muscles continue to be weak. Tai Chi classes start next week on Mondays and Wednesdays for 50 minutes each. I expect that will improve muscle strength in time.


Unprecedented conditions at Table Mountain and Wenatchee wildfires (3:34 video and article with photo gallery and maps)
by KING 5 News (Seattle NBC affiliate)
Posted on September 20, 2012 at 7:13 AM
Updated today at 12:39 PM

From InciWeb:

Table Mountain complex:
Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Saturday September 08th, 2012 approx. 08:00 PM
Location Cle Elum, WA

Current Situation
Total Personnel 564
Size 9,500 acres
Percent Contained 4%

Fuels Involved
Timber,Tall Grass, Brush, Medium logging slash

Fire Behavior
The fires became more active after the inversion lifted. Currently two columns can be seen from Cle Elum. There are wind driven runs in the Sub-Alpine Fir with spotting one mile away. Other parts of the fire have been backing down hills with short uphill runs resulting in downwind spotting.

Significant Events
Two public meetings were held yesterday one in the town of Liberty and one in Ellensburg at Central Washington University. The Governor visited the town of Liberty and spoke with the local residence about the fire situation. She was accompanied by the Chief of the Washington State Patrol. The Table Mountain and Yakima Complex Incident Management Team officials spoke about each of their Complex fires.

Wenatchee complex:
Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Sunday September 09th, 2012 approx. 02:44 PM
Location North and West of Wenatchee, Washington

Current Situation
Total Personnel 1,945
Size 39,330 acres
Percent Contained 22%

Fuels Involved
Timber, brush and grass

Fire Behavior
Active fire behavior on 75% of the fire where it is not contained. Backing fires with some upslope runs. Spotting and isolated torching at higher elevations as well as active burning in the upper elevations.

Significant Events
One fire was added to the prioritization of the Complex: Maverick. Implemented closure on Highway 97 at Swauk Pass.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
14. WatchinTheSky
5:23 PM GMT on September 20, 2012
Hi BC, nice blog - lots of good info from you and WU folks. Mrs WTS has family in Spokane and north and looks like smoke from Manilla/Columbia fire may cloud their skies when there is a westerly. Grr, bark beetles. We've got them chewing up around Julian as well, sad to see the dead trees.
You're right, we have nice weather coming up. Shorter days with the lower sun angle are making for cooler nights and days. Wait, does that make it sound as if shorter daylight is a good thing? There is always a drawback!
Haven't much on the hip front, so, must be doing well!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
13. ycd0108
11:00 PM GMT on September 19, 2012
Reading your blog for a day or so before commenting made me think about how I just sit back and watch and read while others are "under the gun". Sometimes that approach might not be too bad since those far away can really only watch. Here is a link to an article about B.C. Beetle Kill:
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
12. calpoppy
9:43 PM GMT on September 19, 2012
It is interesting to note that the bark beetle will emit a pheromone that tells other beetles to stay away, this tree is full of our larvae. They have isolated this pheromone and have used it in small areas with great success. The down side in using this pheromone now is the expense and delivery method. But it looks like we are headed in the right direction, in at least curbing the little buggers!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. BriarCraft
6:36 PM GMT on September 19, 2012
From the Forest Service's Climate Change Resource Center site. There's a lot more to read at the website, but here's a good overview:


Since 1990, native bark beetles have killed millions of trees across millions of hectares of forest from Alaska to southern California. Although bark beetle infestations are a regular force of natural change in forested ecosystems, several of the current outbreaks, occurring simultaneously across western North America, are the largest and most severe in recorded history.

Bark beetle outbreak dynamics are complex, and a variety of circumstances must coincide and thresholds must be surpassed for an outbreak to occur on a large scale. Moreover, large areas of suitable hosts are an essential requirement for a widescale outbreak. Although outbreak dynamics differ from species to species and from forest to forest, climate change is one factor that appears to be driving at least some of the current bark beetle outbreaks. Temperature influences everything in a bark beetle’s life, from the number of eggs laid by a single female beetle, to the beetles’ ability to disperse to new host trees, to individuals’ over-winter survival and developmental timing. Elevated temperatures associated with climate change, particularly when there are consecutive warm years, can speed up reproductive cycles and reduce cold-induced mortality. Shifts in precipitation patterns and associated drought can also influence bark beetle outbreak dynamics by weakening trees and making them more susceptible to bark beetle attacks.

Options for Management:

In addition to climate change, forest history and management have also influenced recent bark beetle outbreaks. In some areas, over the past century natural disturbances and human activities have produced large areas of host trees that are very similar in size and age, a virtual bark beetle "smorgasbord." Also, when trees must compete for resources in overcrowded conditions, bark beetles can more easily overcome these stressed trees’ defenses and initiate a severe outbreak.

The recent infestations may result in dramatic changes to the long-term ecological pathways of some ecosystems, radically shifting vegetation patterns in some hard-hit forests. Although there are no known management options to prevent the spread of a large-scale bark beetle outbreak, land-use activities that enhance forest heterogeneity at the landscape scale—such as creating patches that contain diverse species and ages of trees—can reduce susceptibility to bark beetle outbreaks. However, because resource objectives will differ and the factors influencing a bark beetle outbreak differ depending on the species of bark beetle, host tree species, local ecosystem, and geographical region, there is no single management action that is appropriate across all affected forests.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. BriarCraft
6:17 PM GMT on September 19, 2012
GGrrl: I'm going to have to learn more about bark beetles, so I'll have to get back to you on that.

YCD: Glad you find this topic of interest! I hope your TLOML was there with you when you got shanghied; otherwise I would love to have been a fly on the wall when you tried to explain your sudden disappearance.

8C=46F is not a bad morning temp. Mornings have been cool enough here to kill my cucumber plant, as low as 2C=34F. This morning was 5.5C=42F with smoky fog.

Last night on the news, there was talk of people heading west from Wenatchee, WA, to get better air to breathe. While I consider it smoky here, it's much better than what I saw on TV from Wenatchee last night.


The Mustang Complex of fires in the Salmon-Challis National Forest of Idaho caught my interest this morning. This is quite an impressive fire, but at least here, we haven't heard anything about it on the news.

Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Lightning
Date of Origin Monday July 30th, 2012 approx. 06:00 PM

Current Situation
Total Personnel 778
Size 329,646 acres
Percent Contained 20%
Estimated Containment Date Sunday September 30th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM

Fuels Involved
At lower elevations Ponderosa Pines with grass and brush understory. At higher elevation, lodge pole pine with heavy dead and down timber and extensive Red Needle bug kill. Fuel Model 2 and 10.

Fire Behavior
Uphill runs with flame lengths of 12-15 ft. Rates of spread of 1/4 mile per hour and torching was observed during firing operations in Divisions P and R. Smouldering and creeping observed elsewhere on the fire.

Significant Events
Forest Closure orders for areas #533 and 544 on the east side of the Hwy 93 corridor have been lifted and are now open.

At 640 acres per square mile, this fire has covered 515 square miles.

Mustang Complex fire along Salmon River in Idaho

Boo Boo with sore paws from Mustang Complex fire 8-(
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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