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Cleaning out California forests...  RSS feed

 
Posts: 245
Location: Nevada
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Given the massive amount of destruction in California due to the wildfires, I am wondering if it would be possible to get a permit to help clean up areas?  either that were partly burnt or were untouched but host a tangle of live and dead debris that is waiting for another spark to set it aflame?  Take in a good wood chipping machine....chain saw...maybe a bagging machine....and haul out a huge liability for the state in the future and a huge asset for your compost pile.
 
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Tom Connolly wrote:Given the massive amount of destruction in California due to the wildfires, I am wondering if it would be possible to get a permit to help clean up areas?  either that were partly burnt or were untouched but host a tangle of live and dead debris that is waiting for another spark to set it aflame?  Take in a good wood chipping machine....chain saw...maybe a bagging machine....and haul out a huge liability for the state in the future and a huge asset for your compost pile.



While that's a very practical idea... it'll never happen because California is ruled by the insane. The environment is sacrosanct and cannot be touched. It's a fine punishable up to $10,000 to trim an Oak branch larger than 3 inches in diameter. Outside our front door is thousands of acres of open land. There are whole areas which have become tree dead zones due to the drought. The amount of fuel which has accumulated over the years is absoluteely astounding.

This is why California wildfires are DISASTERS.



 
pollinator
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This is where we should be subsidizing timber companies (rather than helping them log the closest stuff to old growth they can get) to do less economically rewarding thinning and chipping, then make it easier for the m or someone else to sell or spread those chips in deforested areas in need of erosion control or soil remediation. I think my first post on permies was about our need for “a great mulching” project on the order of 30s CCC works or greater. This would pay for itself in fire risk mediation, water retention and soil building. Also, felling dead and unhealthy trees close to on contour with the crown behind another stump or trunk would create quick check dams that would become essentially hugel beds that hold moisture and soil, dampening future fire runs up slope and stopping falling flaming debris that causes “j-runs” of fire on slopes that are a major hazards and causes of spread.

I am currently working on teaming with our local fire departments and landscapers to divert woody debris that would otherwise be burned to soil building on our Crescent City Food Forest site and other garden projects in the area.
 
pollinator
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Location: San Diego, California
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Here in SD County, some community organizations have obtained permission(not sure if permits, private land, or what) to cut and sell partially burned logs as firewood. Many of them are designed for rehabilitation, sobriety, work-release programs, etc.  Job Corps, American Conservation Experience, and maybe even the Boy Scouts could do projects like these; seems like you could volunteer your expertise/equipment to one of these organizations for one of their work projects, and do some good.

Doing it yourself, for profit or without oversight/exorbitant permit fees? they'll never let that happen.
 
Greg Mamishian
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Ben Zumeta wrote:This is where we should be subsidizing...



While fire fuel (Forest and Chaparrel) mitigation is likely the best solution... I believe it should be an economically self sustaining private enterprise rather than being propped up by government subsidizies like a dependent benefits recipient. Handouts only encourage waste and cheating.

Just the Woolsey fire here in our area alone caused $6,000,000,000 in property damage.
The Camp fire in northern California caused even more damage... $7,000,000,000.

Get enough of these mismanagement caused disasters and pretty soon you're talking real money.
 
pollinator
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This is what happens when you get decades of NO forest management.  I do not mean timber cutting either.  The western forests are somewhat fire dependent and fire, of any kind, has been a no-no for decades.  Controlled burns would do more good for those forests than anything and would mitigate the huge fuel loading  that is there from decades of the enviros screaming about any type forest management.  Another thing about the western wildfires is what is called the urban/wildland interface.  Many people build in areas that in my humble opinion should be avoided.  Not saying they shouldn't be allowed to, but common sense should discourage building on the edge of a brush filled ravine on steep ground.  Most people have no clue how to fireproof a property to help mitigate any risk the surrounding environment may present.  I really feel sorry for those that have lost everything up to and including life in those fires.  devastating.
 
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Location: Qld, Australia. Zone 9a-10
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Greg Mamishian wrote:

Tom Connolly wrote:Given the massive amount of destruction in California due to the wildfires, I am wondering if it would be possible to get a permit to help clean up areas?  either that were partly burnt or were untouched but host a tangle of live and dead debris that is waiting for another spark to set it aflame?  Take in a good wood chipping machine....chain saw...maybe a bagging machine....and haul out a huge liability for the state in the future and a huge asset for your compost pile.



While that's a very practical idea... it'll never happen because California is ruled by the insane. The environment is sacrosanct and cannot be touched. It's a fine punishable up to $10,000 to trim an Oak branch larger than 3 inches in diameter. Outside our front door is thousands of acres of open land. There are whole areas which have become tree dead zones due to the drought. The amount of fuel which has accumulated over the years is absoluteely astounding.

This is why California wildfires are DISASTERS.



This sounds like many parts of Australia. The only legally available method for reducing fuel in many areas is burning, which is often far to dangerous due to fuel loads and other factors. While many people are worried about snakes here, it is out of control trees that kill far more people.
 
gardener
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While that's a very practical idea... it'll never happen because California is ruled by the insane.  



I imagined George Carlin explaining that. haha


One of many worthy CCC projects. The fire tower is still standing but no longer in use. Good place to dry out after a long rainy hike up.

Two years later about 5 miles away some teens burned thousands of acres of Smoky Mnt national park & half of Gatlinburg to the ground. Saw too many wildfires close up in TX. Scary stuff.

Mt-Cammerer-fire-tower.jpg
[Thumbnail for Mt-Cammerer-fire-tower.jpg]
 
steward
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Any federal lands may now fall under the presidents executive order. HERE

Might be worth asking at your local forest service or BLM office if they are issuing permits under the new rules.
 
Ben Zumeta
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Well Greg, I hope we can enjoy our cheating on our subsidized roads using subsidized oil obtained through subsidized military exertion of power while drinking subsidized potable water. Many people, ourselves likely included, live on land obtained and settled by predecessors through the Homestead or Graves Acts, which was a subsidized land grab/give away that required the subsidized support of the military to protect settlers as they stole native people's land and resources. Also, most of the logging of 96% of our pre existing old growth forests was done through subsidized roads, infrastructure, and this may back up your point, a whole lot of fraud using the aforementioned land Acts to conglomerate land ownership into barons' hands. We are almost all cheaters by your definition, which may be fair, and may be part of our societal ennui and angst.

What I mean by subsidy in this case to mitigate fire hazards while improving soil and water retention is to permit waivers for the use of public resources (woody debris that also poses a fire hazard), and the allowance of profit (monetarily or indirectly) off the repurposing of those public resources. It would even be worthwhile for collectives, whether independent or local government agencies representing the public, to invest in a large scale chippers, portable sawmills, or other equipment to help those without immense capital to both assist and benefit from fuels management. As you may know large scale chippers cost 6 figures. If we help more people make money off of ladder fuels, they will disappear remarkably quickly, and many hands make lighter work. Also, small scale subsidies like food stamps and unemployment insurance are recycled into the economy much more quickly and repeatedly, making them more effective stimulus of economic growth, so I am advocating helping more homeowner and small business (ie landscapers) be part of a fuels management-soil-water retention strategy. This is a form of subsidization, just a better one than we use to facilitate timber companies robbing the public and future. It would also be undoubtedly cheaper than funding firefighting and rebuilding after inevitable fires exacerbated by our logging/firefighting hist. Subsidies lowering the capital bar for engaging in an industry such as fuels management- may be prone to abuse, but so are almost every aspect of government or any collective endeavors. My main point is if we allow and show people how to profit off an overabundant resource like ladder fuels, we will be amazed by how fast they disappear.

Also, in California, at least my area, a 20$ permit allows you to collect 4cords of wood. Its supposed to be dead and down but I doubt that's well policed. I haven't done this, but would be very easy to repeatedly collect 4 cords a day of "firewood" that may be just for chips or hugels, and never get caught or questioned.
 
Greg Mamishian
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Mike Barkley wrote:

While that's a very practical idea... it'll never happen because California is ruled by the insane.  



I imagined George Carlin explaining that. haha










 
Ben Zumeta
pollinator
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I can understand wanting to "starve the beast" having worked for the federal government and seeing people being lazier than I thought possible in jobs that mainly entailed hiking and having fun teaching and helping people in the woods. However, as long as the beast is still alive and so massive, I say we milk 'er for all she's got and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and make the blind see.
 
Dustin Rhodes
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So I found this:

Forest products permit CNF

Basically, you can go out into the Cleveland National Forest (and harvest a cord of (already dead) wood for $25(max six cords/yr)).

Maybe the National Forest in your area has a similar program?  It's not a lot of wood, in terms of mitigation, but if there's enough people, it would help a little.  They concentrate the collecting area to within 100ft from the road, so, if picked clean, it would help extend a fire break.
 
gardener
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There's four great paths for this:

1. Purchase land in the forest and clean it up. Contrary to popular opinion, you can cut down almost anything you want down to clear cutting if your heart desires. There are special rules around oaks, but you will not find many (realistically: any) oaks in wildfire prone areas. There are numerous grants available for private landowners to build a more resilient landscape and replant with diverse, fire-hardy species.

2. Join the USFS or CalFire where you will do this work on public lands. All fall/winter/spring most of the effort is spent around cleaning out undergrowth, burning piles, doing controlled burns, and clearing out standing dead.

3. Join the California Conservation Corps https://ccc.ca.gov/ where they will put a chainsaw on your back and send you out to the forest to clean up the forest.

4. Get firewood / Christmas tree permits and harvest your firewood from public lands. There's no rules that say you can't clear out standing dead and smaller trees.

From my own personal experience, I might suggest that one man with a woodchipper is not the right mindset to strive for. A woodchipper may be able to clean up maybe 10 acres a year (I'd guess closer to 5), assuming full time work in a low elevation (no snow) landscape, plentiful funds for gasoline, and mechanical expertise. Wood chippers don't travel well in the forest. But one man with a chainsaw and a can of diesel can clean up hundreds of acres per year with burn piles with similar effort.

There is plentiful motivation from the USFS and California government to clean up their forests. But the scale and terrain of our forests escape human imagination. Thirty three million acres of granite cliffs, flooded valleys, and high elevation bowls with hundreds of feet of standing snow in the winter. If you're passionate about this, I'd suggest to start small and local. Volunteering for CalFire is a great way to get more expertise in the nature and behavior of our wildfire ecosystem.
 
If you have a bad day in October, have a slice of banana cream pie. And this tiny ad:
Wild Homesteading - Work with nature to grow food and start/build your homestead
https://permies.com/t/96779/Wild-Homesteading-Work-nature-grow
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