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Old 06-13-2013, 07:55 AM
 
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Is there any possibility to save forest from summer fires? worldwide?

The kind which start with lightening: Can many many lightning rods solve or reduce the problem
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:16 AM
 
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Hi PromisedPeace,

In short, there is nothing that can be done, and it would not be good to do so. Fire is a necessary abiotic factor in most ecosystems, especially pine forests, and the health of the ecosystem depends on the occasional fire. Fire in many forests is as important an abiotic factor as climate, soil porosity, or water availability. Studies have also shown that occasional disturbances to an ecosystem actually increases biodiversity and fire is an example of an occasional disturbance, so the fires actually benefit the species living there.

For example, in the NJ Pine Barrens, if not for the occasional burning, the forest would evolve from a pine-dominated forest to an oak-dominated forest. Oak trees would close the tree canopy in a way that pine trees do not, so the understory would be affected, as well as other flora and fauna. The pine-dominated forest maintains the soil pH, as well as the very healthy understory of blueberry, huckleberry, and laurel. It helps to determine the other species that can live there. Removing fire from the equation would not only affect the flora there, but also the fauna that depend on it.

Some species of pine (pitch pine, for example) depend on fire for reproduction, a characteristic called 'serotiny'. The pine needle carpet that lines the ground would actually prevent the small and delicate pine tree seeds from touching the earth and getting a healthy taproot. When heated, the pine cones open up and the seeds fall within a few hours, taking advantage of the bare ground and fertile conditions created by fire.

A dangerous consequence to suppressing fire is that the pine needles are loaded with turpenes and other very flammable compounds. Should these be allowed to build up over a long period of time, fires would be much more violent and would be more likely to damage species that have not evolved to tolerate the more frequent but less intense burn. This is the rationale behind controlled burns by state forest fire services.

Last edited by NJmmadude; 06-13-2013 at 11:46 AM..
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:45 AM
 
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Peace be on you. Many many thanks for such in-depth answer.
Is it possible to cut the extra pines and use the wood properly or export them?
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Here in the Northeast we are poised for major fires. We have many evasive insects that have attacked and destroyed trees. Alone the gypsy moths have killed or weakened many thousands of acres of forest. In doing so; they created more dead wood. Dead wood burns quicker and hotter than green wood. Of course many go after the dead wood for firewood – but they will never get it all.

People can help protect their homes by keeping dead wood to a minimum. But, with the right weather conditions and the right spark, everybody that lives in forested territory is at risk. You just have to be aware and do your part to help prevent dangerous fires. It will never stop all of them – nature seems to get the last word.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Destrehan, Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PromisedPeace View Post
Is there any possibility to save forest from summer fires? worldwide?

The kind which start with lightening: Can many many lightning rods solve or reduce the problem

Believe it or not, the way to save them is to allow them to burn yearly. The problem is that we stop the fires and allow dead wood to build up which is like placing fuel throughout the forest.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:58 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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The policy of extinguishing naturally occurring fires wreaked havoc on the ecosystems in the west, some plants even need fire to reproduce.

The decades long practice of putting out the fires in actuality makes the fires that do happen even more dangerous and widespread.

Wildfires Article, Forest Fires Information, Wildland Fires Facts -- National Geographic

History of wildfire suppression in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
The policy of extinguishing naturally occurring fires wreaked havoc on the ecosystems in the west, some plants even need fire to reproduce.

The decades long practice of putting out the fires in actuality makes the fires that do happen even more dangerous and widespread.

Wildfires Article, Forest Fires Information, Wildland Fires Facts -- National Geographic

History of wildfire suppression in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
They are great articles on wildfires.

I also wanted to point out that the rotary mower also made a big difference in wildfires. The rotary mower has only been around for about half a century. The reason that it made a difference is that it can efficiently cut tall grass. Before that farmers had sickle mowers to make hay and straw. For homeowners (before rotary mowers) there were only push reel mowers and some power reel mowers – not very efficient on tall grass (you had to constantly reverse direction to try to get it all cut).

The reason I mention this about the rotary mowers is that many people used fire to control and fertilize the larger lawns and fields – it was quicker and more efficient than the reel mowers. I remember helping to control the fires back in the 1950's and early 60's. We would use scrub pails and old mops (the mops worked better than just pails of water). This 'old' accepted measure of controlling tall grass led to many forest fires when things did not work right (the wind picked up).

I think that it would be difficult to do controlled burns today – especially with so many that have breathing problems (like asthma). Also, years ago, the fire companies would come out and give you a hand with these controlled burns.
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Old 06-17-2013, 04:05 PM
 
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A natural forest is going to have fires. The only way is to allow people to cut down older trees, haul out logs and allow campers to have campfires so they'll run around looking for sticks and smaller logs to burn. Otherwise litter normally builds up, accumulates and are cleaned up with fire.

The problem is with the high growth in population, and urban sprawl, people are building homes in places homes really shouldn't be. If you respect the forests and fires, you wouldn't build your home in a forest and then expect there to never again be a fire.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Have you considered how easily and effectively terrorists could use forest and range fires?
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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Regarding the post above, I am sure that some people have considered it, but it's something that I would be weary about articulating on a public forum (to not risk spreading the idea to someone who might follow through it).
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