For the Firefighters Among Us… Thank You!

| November 28, 2020

In regard to the western fires this past summer, the fuel load consisted of dead underbrush that had not been removed, dead trees that had not been removed, debris on the forest floor, a very heavy fuel load of live trees and undergrowth, and dry conditions that encouraged the fires to grow and make their own weather… and that is exactly what happened.  It’s all outlined in the Wired article, which is rather long. I do not know how accurate the author is in his observations, but his observation about air twisting as it rises is something I found happened when I was flying gliders.

After reading this, I’m not just glad that firefighters do this kind of work, but also glad that the DNR people in my area have enough common sense to thin out the overcrowded woodland areas, and restore marshlands and wetlands to their original spots, because that reduces the fuel load that can and will threaten all suburban areas around any large city and creates barriers to fires spreading locally. If you look at an aerial photo map of the larger cities, it’s easy to see how much fuel there is for wildfires to start up and become impossible to douse.

That happened with the Great Chicago Fire, which started on October 8, 1871 near the O’Learys’ barn on the South Side and quickly went out of control, with the hundreds of wood frame houses and shops, and taverns selling alcohol to support it.  (The cow had nothing to do with it.)  There are stories of people seeing blue flames here and there, which would not be unusual considering that many people stored alcoholic beverages like beer and whiskey in their basements at that time.

The Peshtigo Marsh Fire in Wisconsin also started on October 8, 1871 occurred at exactly the same time as the Chicago Fire, and was the result of pure carelessness on the part of lumberjacks, who did not douse the trash fires they’d started, nor did they clean up the sawdust piles they’d produced during logging and trimming, leaving a fuel load that needed nothing but the right weather conditions to go out of control. And the weather was, in fact, perfect for it. The fire temperature at Peshtigo reached 2000F and the fire created “weather” on its own, allowing it to jump from the western bank of Green Bay to the Door Peninsula across the bay.

This is why I am happy to say that firefighters are one group of people for whose existence alone, I am eternally grateful.

Category: Disposable Warriors

Comments (14)

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  1. Skippy says:

    Amen to that
    Where we live it’s a ticking time bomb
    And it’s not because of the USFS
    It’s all the idiots in our village. Who refuses
    To see what’s coming if we don’t start to clean up our village
    And forest.

  2. Fyrfighter says:

    Ex and Skippy, your premises are completely wrong!! The one and only reason for the fires this year is TRUUUUMMMP!!

    Lol, thanks for the post!

    • Fyrfighter says:

      OOh, and the article is actually pretty spot on. The conditions and causes he talks about are exactly what’s driving these fires.

    • SFC D says:

      It’s Trump caused global warming/climate change/whatever the cause du jour is. And how do the geniuses in Commiefornia handle increased unchecked fuel loads? Turn off the power, duh!

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Now, now, now Boys, just cause Klintoon spent the better part of his term(s) blaming GHWB for everything that went wrong during his reign, and the kool black dudette spent the better part of his reign blaming everything on Junior, doesn’t mean that Joe and The Ho will be spending their reign blaming Trump. Will they? I mean, after all, who do they think they are, the spapos seagulled, commissar? Oh sh^t I just called its name 3 times. DAMNIT! There goes the peace and tranquility of this thread. Maybe we’ll get lucky and his Mommy will have gotten together with the delivery drivers and had him a nice cream pie whipped up for his supper. Y’all just chill on that and have a shot or 12 of Jameson with a good stogie on my tab.

        BZ and SALUTE to ALL of our Boys and Girls on the Fire Line. God’s Blessing on them and may His Angels spread their Wings to keep them safe.

  3. AW1Ed says:

    Bless their hearts, all of them. Even the civvie ones.*grin*

  4. When I was in Hose Co. 1, ERFD, we had a Suffolk County LI, NY Volly who moved into East Rockaway LI NY (Nassau Cty)and joined our company. In those days April brought in large brush fires for a number of years and he told us that fighting one of those large brush fires was like fighting 5 house fires in a row.

  5. Mike Gunns says:

    In my state, we periodically take care of dead wood, forest debris and dead falls by doing controlled burns in our forests. A benefit of this is that the ash produced by the fires ends up helping the growth of healthy woodlands which in turn helps production of mast for the wildlife.

  6. The Other Whitey says:

    Like Fyrfighter said, the article is fairly decent from a technical standpoint. “Fire-nado” is not a thing; those are called fire whirls, they are usually a few inches to a few feet in diameter, though they can be bigger (the fire whirl that crossed Highway 395 and overran a CDF Firefighter-1 on live TV on the Eagle Fire in 1988 was over 500 yards across with internal windspeeds in excess of 100mph; the footage of that incident can be found online, very scary) and are indicative of extreme fire behavior. Saying “fire-nado” to a firefighter (as opposed to a PIO) will generally be met with a “Jesus Christ, please STOP TALKING!” A plume-driven/plume-dominated fire is not the same thins as a fire whirl, though the article’s description of what it does and how bad it is is accurate. Other than that, my only complaint is that nomex is absolutely NOT fireproof.

    Fires can be wind-driven, fuels-driven, slope/topography-driven, or any combination thereof. Among the challenges that have hit us in recent years is the increased frequency of fires making rapid fuels-driven runs against the wind. I’ve seen that before; I saw it on the Cedar Fire in 2003, where we witnessed backing fire (i.e. burning against the wind) making a hard run through old-growth brush against a sustained 40mph Santa Ana wind, faster than we could run on foot (luckily we didn’t dismount the engine). Backing runs are not normally a thing, so if it does that against the wind, you can imagine how much worse it is on the downwind side.

    As I’ve explained before, this is directly attributable to California’s criminally-negligent land- and fuels-management practices. The accumulation of dead fuels, grass, brush, shrubs, and trees has been left unchecked for years. Add in live fuels that are not only drought-stressed but also weakened by competition for sun, water, and nutrients due to overcrowding. Fuel continuity in much of the state is such that it is not physically possible to walk off the trail in many areas. Fire roads have often been neglected and are often impassable. This powder keg has been sizzling for a long time, when its genesis was easily preventable. Our chiefs and foresters have spent those years warning the Powers That Be of the danger, only to be ignored in favor of pandering to the utopian fantasies of tree-huggers while siphoning the VMP budget to fund pork.

    Moonbeam Brown and Gavin Nuisance own these disastrous years and the lives they have cost.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      I am certain that some dipshit will say it is actually Global Warming due to free market economics and because somewhere there may still be a Republican in office in California.

      Their StupidAbteilung friends are working on fixing those issues.

      Remember reading “Atlas Shrugged” and finding the collapse events absurdly far-fetched and “can’t happen here”? No one could possibly be that blind and stupid, right?

      Newsome: ” oh yeah? Watch this.”

      Isn’t it about time they banned or deactivated whatever is left that most effectively stops fires? What will it be?

  7. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    I attended college in the late 80’s and was indoctrinated with the eco-disaster propaganda du jour which said at that time that at least 50% of the human race would be dead due to deforestation among other things but lo and behold, I took a college course in Environmental Conservation, part of which discussed different varieties of fires. One was referred to as a Surface Fire” like what happens during a controlled burn whether it’s a Cattleman doing a controlled burn on his pastures or one in a forested area, the temperature as far as fires go is cool and it gets rid of excess vegetation, tree saplings and is beneficial. The next variety was a wildfire like a rapidly advancing one on a plain, i was taught that his variety burns hot and quick and sterilizes the soil making regrowth difficult. The third and most destructive variety is the Crown Fire which happens in neglected and mismanaged woodlands where no controlled burns or logging is allowed to get rid of fuel buildup on the forest floor and when a fire happens, EVERYTHING gets burned as well as the soil being largely sterilized as well as mass habitat loss for wildlife like what happens in California. Neglect and mismanage the forests and that’s what happens! I was propagandized in college to be anti-logger, but after seeing the benefits from select logging, I’m all for letting them do their thing, but college perfessers only tell their young skulls full of mush that loggers ONLY want to clearcut everything and leave a wasteland!

  8. Ex-PH2 says:

    The various fire departments in my AO do controlled burns in the fall and the spring, partly to get rid of unwanted invasive species and partly to keep things cleared out.
    When the tree sapling population is so dense that the younger trees are 35 to 40 feet high with trunks barely 2 inches in diameter, they need to be thinned out to let them get real growth going. There is a lot of misunderstanding about forest preserve management, especially about the probability of fire overwhelming suburban housing, which it could easily do under the right conditions.
    I have difficulty understanding dimwits like Newsance in CA, who think they know more than anyone else and in reality, know next to nothing about environmental stuff. But they get elected by the ecohippies, because they know how to play that song over and over and the result is worse and worse fires in the west.
    What those dorks don’t know is that the more plant mass you have, the higher the oxygen content in those areas. The Carboniferous period 300 million years ago had a 31% oxygen content in the atmosphere, and the land masses on the planet were awash in plants. At the same time, the animal population consisted almost entirely of insects like 6 foot long centipedes and giant dragonflies (meganeura), but that O2 level would kill off most land animals.
    I could go on and on with this, but the sheer ignorance of the ecohippies and their self-inflicted fear of Environmental Doom is enough to make you gag.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      North America is more heavily forested now than 400 years ago. Hugely.

      We planted -way- more trees in prior grasslands and tree-barren areas than we cleared for farming. Also, much of the marginal and hilly coastal farmland reverted to treed suburb or forest when farming moved inland to flatter land. But the watermelon “environmentalists” continue to propagandize the opposite view.

      Vast herds of buffalo eat anything green. Tree seedlings are tasty treats. Bigger saplings get knocked over for their tasty leaves. Prairie grass recovers fast from bison clearcutting. Trees don’t.