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Thread: Parts of Yosemite closing for Creek Fire, lucky the Whites have faired somewhat well

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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Parts of Yosemite closing for Creek Fire, lucky the Whites have faired somewhat well

    Yosemite is closing the Mariposa Grove of Giant Seqoias area today in anticipation of the Creek Fire.

    Most of Connecticut is officially in drought conditions at the moment, and while the Whites are hardly wet this summer, and streams are low, I think they have been lucky for the most of the summer. Not too wet, but not drought either.



    Brian

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    I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hike in Yellowstone after the 1988 fire. The section I hiked seemed to be recovering very quickly; lots of beautiful ground cover.

    With the exception of the fires which were fueled by logging slash, have the NE forests been susceptible to the types of forest fires seen out West?

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I spent a summer in Yosemite and explored some burn areas that were in recovery. Absolutely fascinating to see the new growth emerge. In regards to the Sequoia grove, the seeds of the cones need fire become seedlings. They pop like popcorn. For years they wondered why no new trees were growing. It was a direct result of fire suppression.

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    Parts of NH are in moderate drought, the whites are "abnormally dry". I have observed maple trees that are stressed are starting to show some color change.

    I pump water for my home garden using a kludged up solar water system. I had to revise it to be even more kludgey as the groundwater table has dropped enough that one pump will not do it.

    The WMNF knickname by firefighters is the "Asbestos National Forest". There have been lightning and human caused fires on occasion over the life of the forest but the largest ones have typically been logging related. There were extensive precautions taken in the WMNF after the Hurricane of 1938. The chief ranger closed large parts of the forests for several years after the event due to forest fire. The 1940 AMC guide has notes on various large sections of the WMNF that the areas are closed and anyone entering will be arrested. I have a special WMNF forest map of that era showing closed locations. Some trail systems like the area north of Dartmouth Range to RT 2 were abandoned. Many of the older mature birch glades are a result of fires post hurricane of 1938. The large Owls head fire and the previous Zealand Fire was directly attributed to JE Henrys logging practices and the use of wood fired locomotives spewing sparks into dry slash. Various reports of the wasteland formed after the Zealand Fires speculated that the woods would never grow back as the soil was sterilized by the fire.

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    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    Slightly drifting, but still about fires. I remember when we lived in Conway that my father was one of the men who was on the fire line during the Brownfield Maine fire Here is a well written article about that fire: https://www.conwaydailysun.com/news/...3a83391cd.html

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Matt Noyes / NECN would put most of NH, including the Whites, as moderate/severe (dry, moderate, severe, extreme, exceptional).

    Tim
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    More drift

    I worked for water utility in Portland that kept track of the water level in Sebago Lake which is near the Brownfield watershed. The water level in Sebago was the lowest it had been the year of the fire and took a couple of years to bounce back. Bar Harbor also burned the same year at Brownfield https://www.newenglandhistoricalsoci...-state-burned/. The Rockefellers reportedly used the fire to expand their holdings and the parks holdings by buying out burned out properties

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    We hiked Sugarloaf Middle and North last Wednesday in on/off drizzle and showers. Wednesday night we had a steady rain at the campground for several hours.

    On Thursday we hiked Cherry Mountain Owls Head Trail and the woods were quite wet in that area.

    The rain might not have relieved the overall drought, but you would be hard pressed to get a fire going in those woods last Thursday!
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    With the exception of the fires which were fueled by logging slash, have the NE forests been susceptible to the types of forest fires seen out West?
    I see a lot of small patches that look like they had a fire. But they aren't big. People more educated than I can probably speak to this better, but I suspect that a lightning strike starts the fire, and the same rain storm douses it out within a few minutes.

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hike in Yellowstone after the 1988 fire. The section I hiked seemed to be recovering very quickly; lots of beautiful ground cover.

    With the exception of the fires which were fueled by logging slash, have the NE forests been susceptible to the types of forest fires seen out West?
    Not even close for a number of reasons. When you talk drought out west, your talking no rain for months, which means little or no green vegetation like in the east. We are in dry conditions, but we still get rain. Go into the forest here and pull up the moss, its moist dirt. Do that out west, its like moon dust. The dry conditions out west also lend to many lightning strikes, the main cause of fires. We just don't get lightning like that and when we do, its accompanied by heavy rain. Not scientific, but my observations having lived in both parts of the country.

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    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    I have a special WMNF forest map of that era showing closed locations.
    There's a whole series of maps, including the one I think you're referring to, which can be found here:

    http://whitemountainhistory.org/Nati...rest_Maps.html
    http://whitemountainhistory.org/Nati...st_Maps_2.html

    Pretty cool to see all the changes over the years.

    I swear I've seen some earlier maps which showed barely any areas acquired by the USFS, and steadily growing, but I'm puzzled as to where I found them.

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    Yup I have the 1940 version, I always thought it was special edition of a standard map.

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    As of July 25, Maine Forest Rangers had responded to 800 fires in 2020 which burned only 900 acres. The majority of the fires have been from lightning strikes and illegal campfires. The fire detection technology used today is pretty impressive.

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    I spent the last week in Vermont. Its not exactly dry there, but drier than expected. Some of the streams on the Long Trail are at a trickle and the water sources are drying up. Still, I was able to find mud.

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    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_Murphy View Post
    With the exception of the fires which were fueled by logging slash, have the NE forests been susceptible to the types of forest fires seen out West?
    The answer is yes. Perhaps the most extreme example happened in 1947. The year 1947 became known as the Year Maine Burned. From October 13 to October 27, firefighters tried to fight 200 Maine fires, consuming a quarter of a million acres of forest and wiping out nine entire towns. The Maine fires destroyed 851 homes and 397 seasonal cottages, leaving 2,500 people homeless. This was extracted from New England Historical Society article.

    https://www.newenglandhistoricalsoci...-state-burned/

    Mount Desert Island was hit very hard. The mature spruce fir forest was destroyed replaced by birch forest responsible for stunning fall color to be found there and converting many summits to bald granite knobs with mind-blowing views. We were planning to head to Acadia this fall, but pandemic forced us to postpone that until next year.
    Last edited by Jazzbo; 09-10-2020 at 01:37 PM.
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