#53 – California Fires-Raking The Forest

Today (August 21, 2020) while listening to the news, I heard the familiar refrain that if California would only “rake the forest” they wouldn’t be having all these fires. This story is not about what you hear in the news or about our current leadership in Washington. But I do want to describe what it takes to make our forests and wildlands safer from fire. As I’ve described in previous stories, it is not easy to treat the fuels in our wildlands. It doesn’t matter if it’s a forest or brush or even just grass. It might be a federally managed Park or a National Forest. Maybe it’s a private or corporately owned timber production area. You may own 20 acres in the back country yourself. Or even more likely, you may live in a house surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape.

What’s important to keep in mind is that all the fires burning in California right now are not even burning in what we think of as a Forest. Many of the fires are burning in brush lands. There may be big trees scattered throughout the brush, but many of the fires are burning small state parks and individual’s small plots of lands. This isn’t gross mismanagement of public lands. To be more specific, there were more than 70,000 lightning strikes across California during their driest part of the year. Plus, the State is beginning to enter drought conditions once again. 70,000 lightning strikes on dry natural vegetation is going to start a lot of fires. I don’t care where you live.

So before you get all riled up, I’m not suggesting we can’t do more than we are now. I’ve been working for more funding and better regulations for years. And keep in mind I’m coming to this discussion with 45 years of experience and multiple degrees including a Masters of Forestry. I’ve been a prescribed burning practitioner and a fuels management expert for a long time. There are some who have more experience than me. But that list isn’t that long either. Lets just agree that this is a complex issue. And we really need public support for the agencies managing our wildlands and we need private land owners and homeowners to take some responsibility for themselves. And “Rakes”… rakes are critical around your own home to keep the pine needles away from your home. That’s about it.

As always, thanks for listening.

Episode 53, California Fires-Raking The Forest, BobbieOnFire.com, August 21, 2020

6 thoughts on “#53 – California Fires-Raking The Forest

    1. Hi Pam. I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. I thought I did already. Anyway, yes I am still riding the motorcycle. Road from Anacortes down to Seattle and back today. Not much but it’s riding anyway. How are you guys doing? Hope you are well.
      It’s funny, I got a call today from the RO asking if I was available to go out on a fire. Nah not really. That’s not how I want to spend my summers now. Let me know if you’re coming up this way sometime I would love to connect. Or if I’m coming down I’ll let you know. Hugs my friend.


  1. How do I get to blog 1? I can only get back to the 34. I will start listening to these while walking the dogs. But I want to start from the beginning. I got do things in order. Just me.

    Thanks. Kathleen

    Damn Californians should have let you burned!! Now look at what is happening 😳

    We have two houses in out neighborhood that are covered in trees. They have been tagged by the fire department and nothing is done. Then after the Camp Fire PGE sends out Davey Tree to our neighborhood. They told my momthey were going to have to dig up her small succulents because they were near a pge box. My mom told to get lost . I think Davey Tree has a raquet going.


  2. Hmmm. Maybe I know of which big fire in WA you speak of. And I think I know who that “polite” lady on the phone was also; may have fielded a few calls myself.
    Great stories here. I hope someday the public understands forest and fuel management.


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