Fire on Tassajara Rd.

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Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by Pecky »

So, now we have seen lightning-started-fires in:

1977 Marble fire
1994 Rat Fire
1999 Kirk Fire
2008 Basin Fire
2013 "Fire on Tassajara Rd"
2015 Post fire

I probably missed a few, but this suggests a burn-rate of every 5 years if these fires are not suppressed. Would the suppression of the Soberanes fire have been less if the 2015 Post, and 2013 fire had been allowed to burn longer (I am assuming they were successfully repressed)??

Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by Pecksniff »

What is BSMMMC ??
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Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by darkwatcher »

peckn wrote:cmon dark, if you can't trust the "scholars archive" who can you trust?
That is a fair question which should also be put to your alter egos: Peck, Pecky, P Sniff, Pecksniff, Burr Nable. See you at BSMAAC. :roll:

Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by peckn »

cmon dark, if you can't trust the "scholars archive" who can you trust?
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Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by darkwatcher »

P Sniff wrote:I forgot to post this informative thing :
One thing is for sure, if you search the internet enough you can always find something to support your argument. After all, if it is on-line it must be true. Kinda like “I read it in the newspaper” or “I heard it on TV.” :D
P Sniff

Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by P Sniff »

I forgot to post this informative thing :

http://scholarsarchive.library.oregonst ... =1#page=14

Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by Pecky »

I was suggesting that it would be better to let the fire burn rather than spend money "fighting" it. It seems to me that this would have resulted in spending less money. That fire was burning very slowly in an area where no structures or folk were in immediate danger. It seems like it would have extinguished on its own and in the end the more it burned in that slow patchy way, the better.
I looked into what criteria are used for when to do prescribed burning. I found this interesting article which has a variety of information about fire frequency and ultimately makes the recomendation of burning every 2 years. The guy who did this study found that a CFI (composite fire interval) of 2.4 was normal for the time period 1754-1896( studying an area in colorado ).
Some other guy in this web-page noted "fire intervals ranging from 4.8 to 6.9" for historic CFI in other areas.

So, this stuff is not specifically related to the ventana, but I have not seen anything from what I believe to be a credible source (sorry chapparal lovers site) suggesting an optimum burn interval significantly more than 5 years which is the interval between fires for the area near tasssajara which was burning.

Summary, let it burn. hahahahaha
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Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by mikesplain »

Fire ecology is far too complex to assign an "optimum fire frequency" across vegetation types.
One of the reasons the northern Santa Lucia is so interesting
is its many veg. types, with consequently varied fire-return intervals.

Take for instance Abies bracteata (Santa Lucia fir),
which has adapted to avoid fire outright by inhabiting moist, sheltered north and east-facing slopes-
very different from coast redwood, with its thick bark and high branches perfectly suited to frequent fires.

Even components within chaparral have very different strategies for dealing with fire-
Ceanothus oliganthus (hairy ceanothus or "jim brush") is an obligate seeder,
meaning its seed bank generally won't germinate without fire;
Arctostaphylos crustacea is a resprouter, which reproduces clonally after fire;
Adenostoma fasciculatum (chamise) reproduces via both seeds and resprouting
(which might explain its abundance throughout the range).
Check out this classic paper for an account of post-fire reproduction strategies in chaparral-

As I understand it, the conventional wisdom is that nowadays,
upland conifer forests tend to burn less frequently
than they would prior to modern fire suppression activities,
and that chaparral is tending to burn much more frequently,
generally due to anthropogenic ignitions.

But don't take my word for it, read the literature!
And please read primary sources.
While Wikipedia is certainly useful as a reference for dates, names and places,
it's a secondary source at best
and subject to the perspective of whoever posted the article.

A good starting point for free & genuinely peer-reviewed papers on fire ecology-
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Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by K Vandevere »

I'm not sure what to think about the idea that Wikipedia is "reliable." That hasn't always been my experience.

Nevertheless, the Wikipedia article states:

"Caribbean Pine in Bahamian pineyards have adapted to and rely on low-intensity, surface fires for survival and growth. An optimum fire frequency for growth is every 3 to 10 years. Too frequent fires favor herbaceous plants, and infrequent fires favor species typical of Bahamian dry forests."

Although they had been talking about sequoias in the preceding sentence, I think that, unless the authors of the article are extremely challenged in their ability to use the English language, the optimum fire frequency of 3-10 years refers to Caribbean pines in the Bahamas.

Wikipedia aside, research into historic fire intervals in sequoia forests (both giant sequoia and coast redwood) is voluminous and dozens of scholarly papers on the subject can easily be located via Google (most involve painstaking examination of burn scars in tree rings). I've seen research indicating that fire intervals in giant sequoia groves were, in fact, very frequent. Maybe as often as 7 years. Coast redwood forests, on the other hand, lie in moist coastal areas where natural ignition (i.e. lightening strikes) is far less frequent than in the Sierra. As a result, fire return intervals in these forests vary widely, from 500 years or more, to less than 10 years in areas where, presumably, Native people were conducting regular burning. As the redwoods seem to have done fine under either regime, it would probably be hard to establish an "optimum" fire frequency for these trees.

Not to mention that what was optimum historically, in the absence of highly flammable invasive plants, isn't necessarily optimum today.

And, finally, even if you decided somehow that a fire return interval of 3-10 years was optimum for coast redwoods in the Ventana, do you really think it would make sense to let a fire burn across tens of thousands acres of chaparral in order to reach forests that aren't overdue for a burn, during the height of the fire season, when firefighting resources are already strained?

Re: Fire on Tassajara Rd.

Post by Peck »

The chaparral people and the wikipedia seem like the most credible. Of the two, I believe that the wikipedia is the more reliable. It is my understanding that wikpedia articles are peer reviewed when possible. The wiki article states,

"An optimum fire frequency for growth is every 3 to 10 years." This statement is seems to be specifically related to "sequoia sempervirens" (hover over the word 'sequoia' on

If I assume that the chapparal poeple are correct in their estimate of ideal burning, I still prefer to burn every 3-10 years as recommended by the wiki page. This is because, of the two environments, the sempervirons is more enjoyable to me. If I had to sacrifice one or the other, I would elect to have "optimum" semperviron growth.
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