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Huge California Wildfire Is Making Me Sad


Predicto

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So you may all have read that the fire season in California has come early and with a vengeance.  The biggest one is the Rim Fire, which is to the west of Yosemite National Park.  It is growing fast (over 100,000 acres so far) and engulfing the Hetch Hetchy basin.

 

Here's some photos

 

http://framework.latimes.com/2013/08/22/state-of-emergency-declared-in-wildfire-near-yosemite/#/0

 

So we get wildfires in California every year.  Why is this particular fire bothering me?

 

For the past decade, my family has joined up a half dozen other families (nearly all of our closest friends), and spent a week every summer at Camp Mather,  which is San Francisco's family camp in the Sierras.  

 

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Camp Mather occupies the buildings originally built to house the workers that erected the Hetch Hetchy Dam in the 1920s.  

 

Every year we would swim and hang out by the lake,

 

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hike to waterfalls and swimming holes,

 

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take the kids for horseback rides

 

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meet for meals in the big communal dining hall

 

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watch kids with no talent put on a talent show, catch frogs and snakes, sing around a campfire, play bocce ball, and lay around on our asses.

 

fhjqmJD.jpg

 

 

It is my children's favorite place on the planet and I have more wonderful memories from there than I can count.

 

 

Now, take a look at the map of the Rim Fire, which is zero point zero percent contained at this time.

 

http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3660/

 

 

I am seriously bumming out.  

 

 

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I've been here 3 years now, and have never gotten the chance to head to Yosemite.  (Coordinators with other people always fell through).  I hope there is something still left when i get the chance.

 

Don't worry, Yosemite Valley will be fine.  This fire is on the far west side of Yosemite National Park, which is a huge park.  There is a large mountain range of High Sierra granite rock between this fire and the scenic valley that you see in postcards.

 

This isn't burnable.

 

0cfx2WW.jpg

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I'm way bummed out. The future Mrs. wants to get me out there to see it. That and from my brief travels out that way,(North of there),I can tell it's awesome country. That and though we are 150 miles driving and about 80 or so miles as the crow flies from the fire,the smoke has settled here. So bad folks around town are wearing masks. This is sad stuff "seeing" such wonderful country burn. :(

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I hear you and know the feeling of a lost or damaged special place in nature that I loved to visit, but I'm thinking more of man-created messes. Little in life pleases me as much as being in the kind of setting and doing the kinds of things you described, P. 

 

My love of outdoors has played a huge role in my life as after growing up to adulthood in Alaska, I have traveled but chosen to live in OR/WA since then. I am greedy, and need relatively close proximity to mountains, all forms of bodies of water (including an ocean), and vast forests. My choices mean compromising on high temperatures and sunny days (among other things---and the weather isn't nearly as overcast/cold/wet as many people think in many places out here) but then you get acclimated, too. 

 

When I was doing the audio electronics career and had stores in So Or, P, I loved hitting Northern CA from Mt Shasta to the coast and the Redwoods. Never made it to that park, but it looks like my kind of "oboy! huge score!"

 

 

It's sad you're watching it change like this, but I have to say I went from empathy to smiling in knowing that you had so many great times in such a fantastic setting.

 

I don't know how devastating the fire will end up being, but maybe those good times there are not all behind you. We'll hope.

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Couple of pics of the smoke here. I walked in from work tonight and it honestly smelled like I was right by a campfire. Man I feel for those fighting this beast. 

 

smokey.jpeg

 

Here's what I should see when I walk out front of the house and look down the street at mid afternoon. 

 

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Instead. :(

smokeyhome2.jpg

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Here's the latest CNN update:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/26/us/california-yosemite-wildfire/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

 

I definitely sympathize with you, Predicto :(  While my family hasn't spent as much time as yours at Yosemite, I have fantastic memories of vacations at that park.  I hate to hear about this devastation, this totally sucks.  

 

It's been a terrible fire season up north as well.  River activities on the Rogue River in southern Oregon have been essentially decimated by fires which stinks since we normally head up there to raft a few times.  And now the heavy smoke from the fire on the Salmon river is killing our normal river activities on the Klamath where my parents' have a vacation house.  We're thankful our river home isn't threatened like it was 7 year ago when we were evacuated and the fire came down directly across the river from us, but it's still been a rough season.  Praying firefighters get this Yosemite fire under control soon though :( 

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Update: looks like they *may* have saved Camp Mather.  The fire was stopped literally at the edge of the camp, and swept around it to both sides.   There is still a chance of a flareup but signs are good.  Unfortunately, Mather rests on the edge of the valley to Hetch Hetchy, and now the fire apparently is threatening the primary source of San Francisco power and water.   Hoo boy.

 

Unfortunately for the residents of Berkeley, their summer camp was completely destroyed.  

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There are giant sequoias that have been their for millennia (some more than 2,000 years) that are being threatened now.

 

:(

I thought they were largely fire resistant? (one reason they are still around)

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I thought they were largely fire resistant? (one reason they are still around)

 

Yeah, in general they are.  However, this is a bigger, hotter fire than the ones they have evolved to deal with.  A century of fire suppression has left a lot more tinder and leads to bigger and hotter fires.  No one really knows if they can survive a fire like this.      

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Yeah, in general they are.  However, this is a bigger, hotter fire than the ones they have evolved to deal with.  A century of fire suppression has left a lot more tinder and leads to bigger and hotter fires.  No one really knows if they can survive a fire like this.      

I hope so, the expert says they will be

http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2013/08/yosemites_giant_sequoias.php

 

"These two groves are precious resources that the public is concerned about, and rightly so, because they are amazing," Stephen C. Sillett told National Geographic. Sillett is an ecologist with Humboldt State University who specializes in tall trees....But Sillett said placing sprinklers around the sequoias in Yosemite isn't really necessary. "The main thing they are doing with sprinklers is appeasing the public, who are worrying about how ugly the area will look when they visit later and that some trees are going to die," he said.

"The big trees are going to be fine," Sillett explained. "Smaller, weaker, non-giant sequoias will die, but it's not so much that they are protecting the trees."

Sillett said full-grown sequoias are adapted to survive even the hottest wildfires. They have fibrous, fire-resistant bark that can grow up to two feet thick. Although fires can damage the biggest trees, they usually don't kill them.

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Whenever I get to thinking the north Georgia mountains are beautiful, I see pics like yours. :-) I have some great memories and pics of my own from the Stanley, Idaho area. You guys have a really good thing going out west. I really hope they can get this thing under control soon but it's not looking good right now. :-(

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Whenever I get to thinking the north Georgia mountains are beautiful, I see pics like yours. :-) I have some great memories and pics of my own from the Stanley, Idaho area. You guys have a really good thing going out west. I really hope they can get this thing under control soon but it's not looking good right now. :-(

 

North Georgia Mountains are beautiful, but it's a different kind of beauty.  It's softer and greener. The hills are older and more worn-down, but no less beautiful.   California beauty is raw and oversized and spectacular.  Both have their advantages.

 

WHich is more beautiful?  This?

 

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or this?

 

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The correct answer is both of them.

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