Thursday, December 11. 2008
Earlier this year a county planning group released a paper titled "EAST COUNTY MSCP PLAN WILDFIRE ISSUE PAPER". You can read it by clicking here. This paper proposes a method of burning the living landscape in a patchwork "mosaic" as a means of controlling the spread of wildfires. This third world slash-and-burn technique is too simplistic and brutish to apply to the very complex living chaparral and it will do nothing to save us from wildfires.
The mosaic technique was developed after much research in forested ecosystems and probably does work in those landscapes. But the scientific consensus is that it would be a disaster to apply it in chaparral ecosystems. It will cause significant damage to the ecosystems, but will provide no added fire protection. Look at the Witch fire of 2007. It burned unhindered through all types of vegetation: old growth, regrown, degraded, and recently burned chaparral as well as total weed beds. When the Santa Ana blast furnace gets started, anything dry burns.
If these mosaic burns are done, the burned areas will re-grow with a load of weeds and grasses which die and dry out in the summer and will burn even faster than live chaparral, making it very difficult to get out of the way of an approaching fire. Evacuation times in front of a Santa Ana driven blaze could change from hours in a chaparral wildfire to minutes in a weedy wildfire. How are we going to evacuate whole cities in minutes?
Folks, if you want to protect yourselves from fire, you must look at your own home. The rules are very simple and they are something we all can do:
While a house built in a dangerous location may still burn even after these preparations, the large majority of houses are not in such dangerous locations and should survive unscathed.
What the county SHOULD be doing is consolidating development into defensible neighborhoods and then creating adequate protection around those neighborhoods. It is nice to be able to go out into the back country and build yourself a home - makes one think of the 1800s, doesn't it? But this is not the 19th century, it is the 21st century and there are swarms of people here in southern California. We simply can no longer act like we are pioneers still living in the 19th century. It is simply unrealistic to be scattering dwellings throughout the wildlands.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Last entry: 2014-06-27 20:50
96 entries written
16 comments have been made