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Old 06-30-2012, 03:40 PM
 
Location: home...finally, home .
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I'm not sure where to put this question so any mod may feel free to move it :

Why , with all of the wonderful and advanced technology (we can send a rocket to Mars for gosh's sake) can wild fires not be extinguished ? We know how to destroy a whole city and have for 67 years, but our fire fighting methods seem not to have changed since the 1890s. Isn't there any new technology that could prevent the spread of these fires?
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Old 07-01-2012, 06:59 AM
 
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To answer your question look at the thousands of square miles these fires cover.

If we could create a vacuum over the fires that would put them out.... but.....
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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You are looking at the issue with a single lens. Even if there was an easy technology to keep them from spreading, the greater question is - would that be good in the long run? If you look back in history, Native Americans were almost pyromaniacs. They REGULARLY burned forests and grasslands. In doing so, they limited the size of any large fires.

There is a natural cycle of fires in many, if not most areas. The Everglades in Florida burns in some huge blazes every few years. Because of the barriers to construction there, relatively few homes are affected. If you look at the areas of the swamp that were drained for sugar plantations, you'll see the soil is black from the charcoal of past fires.

Technology, growth, and nature have to achieve balances. Currently, growth is out of balance. The real answer is not putting out the fires of flames, but the firelike growth of construction in inappropriate areas and with inappropriate materials.

We live in the country. Although a major conflagration is unlikely here, there is a possibility of grass fires. To that end, we specified cementous Hardyboard for the exterior. Grass in the immediate area is kept trimmed. At some point, the roof will be replaced with a metal one. Our cistern always has at least 500 gallons ready for immediate use and the creek can supply an almost limitless supply for any more serious problem. We have a generator to keep pumps going under all conditions.

If you build a stick-built house in a forest with a known history of forest fires, and you use asphalt shingles, a wooden exterior, have all sorts of flammable junk around, and let trees and bushes grow up surrounding the place, and DON'T keep a quantity of water on hand and a way to use it when the power lines burn down, is the problem really the fire or is it you?
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:14 AM
 
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Isn't there a bomb in the movie Outbreak that uses up all the oxygen and kills everything? Maybe that would work. (Except you'd kill potential evacuees.) But you'd have to catch the fire fast enough.

The thing about these types of fires, like the Colorado one, is that they're more like firestorms. San Diego had two firestorms in the past decade, in 2003 and 2007. In certain conditions, the fires move so fast it's hard to predict where they're going. The winds can be 60mph+ with humidity in the single digits, temperatures near 100 degrees (strong Santa Ana conditions we get every couple of years). There really isn't much you can do, except get out of the way. The Harris and Witch Creek fires of 2007, which started around 9:30am and 1:30pm on the same day, had grown to a combined 5,500 acres by 2:30pm. (The Witch Creek fire had grown to 3,000 acres in less than 90 minutes).

(http://www.co.san-diego.ca.us/oes/do...ment_FINAL.pdf)


I don't think the answer lies in stopping the fire after it's started, but managing the land so the fires won't be so destructive. Allowing small fires to burn naturally, clearing brush around homes, thinning brush (some places use goats on the hillsides to eat up excess brush).
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:48 PM
 
2,182 posts, read 4,755,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy thereader View Post
I'm not sure where to put this question so any mod may feel free to move it :

Why , with all of the wonderful and advanced technology (we can send a rocket to Mars for gosh's sake) can wild fires not be extinguished ? We know how to destroy a whole city and have for 67 years, but our fire fighting methods seem not to have changed since the 1890s. Isn't there any new technology that could prevent the spread of these fires?
How would you do it? Consider animal and nature activists as well as the many many lives currently at stake. There is no way to fight it any more efficiently than how we are doing it now without killing animals and potentially permanently damaging the environment. The politics alone deter more efficient methods.

These fires, while terrible, are also helpful to the environment. Mother nature prefers a kind of phoenix approach. Of course I am not saying we shouldn't try to put them out as fast as humanly possible, but all is not lost.
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Texas
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I remember a few years ago when there was a fire in Colorado -- There was a man who had some kind of foam that he used on his house, saving it. Why didn't these people learn from the past? Was I the only one who saw this news?
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:46 PM
 
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Nope. I saw it as well.
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy thereader View Post
I'm not sure where to put this question so any mod may feel free to move it :

Why , with all of the wonderful and advanced technology (we can send a rocket to Mars for gosh's sake) can wild fires not be extinguished ? We know how to destroy a whole city and have for 67 years, but our fire fighting methods seem not to have changed since the 1890s. Isn't there any new technology that could prevent the spread of these fires?
We have the technology. In my part of the world this technology has been applied for the last 10 years.

One device is called a Masticator. The other is called a chainsaw. Also fire is used.

See here is the problem. Due to poor logging practices and vigorous fire supression for the last 100 years in the West have resulted in forest stands that are unnaturally dense. Time was when a fire started in the Sierras it would do little more than clean out the underbrush and kill a few small trees. So what's been going on in the Sierras for the last 10 years has been a focused effort to restore the forest to its historical density. The goal is to restore 10 million acres in the National Forests of Sierra Nevada Range thru mechanical thinning and controled burns. Also lightning caused fires are allowed to burn in the High Country and Wilderness areas. Yosemite allows most lightning fires to burn.

A side benefit to thinning is it creates jobs and provides small logs for various wood products. Plus the end result of thinning is visually pleasing. Instead of a jungle, you have parklike surroundings.

I should also note that overly dense forests are much more susceptible to beetle infestation. Dense forests tend to have weaker trees.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Here.
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I agree with Mr5150. Areas susceptible to fires should be regularly harvested for their lumber and all the shrubbery should be burned in incinerators to generate electricity. If these forests are going to create tremendous amounts of smoke pollution anyway, might as well use it to our benefit.

Also, it should be noted that the record of geological history has shown that widespread fires often covered the entire southwestern United States. So it is not an environmental catastrophe (unless you are Al Gore ).
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:24 PM
 
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Just think, President Bush (senior) had proposed removing all the dead underbrush from our forests on more than one occasion.

And every time the tree huggers got it shot down.

We could get all the greenies to equip their bicycles with side tanks and bike into the fire areas and spray....
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