October 2015 Forest Health Task Force Newsletter
October, 2015 Newsletter

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Volunteer Forest Monitoring in Summit County - What it all means?

The Forest Health Task Force meets Wednesday, October 21st, 12 - 1:30.
Mount Royal Room, County Commons, 0037 Peak One Drive, Frisco

This year's inspections have been completed on most of our volunteer monitoring plots. We will be sharing some preliminary observations with our FHTF members. Our findings are not surprising for those of us who have been monitoring for the last four seasons.
  • Pre-logging conditions (tree size, species, and forest density) may not be good predictors of regeneration 
  • Untreated beetle-kill forest plots show high levels of species diverse regeneration along with heavy fuel loading due to fallen trees
  • The rate of dead trees falling is slow (about one tree per 1/10 acre plot per year)
  • Decomposition of downed trees is slow
  • Regeneration of trees varies dramatically from plot to plot
  • Many plots have dense grass cover, apparently hindering the regeneration of seedlings  
What do our results so far show about forest conditions and resiliency in Summit County?  How can we improve our forest monitoring program to make it easier for volunteers and more valuable to forest managers and the community? 

Please join us as we seek to engage with community members with our evolving forests. Come share your information and ideas. Lunch is provided.

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REMINDER! Future Meetings:

Wed, Nov 18, Noon, County Commons, Mt. Royal Room
Wed, Dec 16, Noon, Blue River Room, in Silverthorne
 

Reshaping Forests

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How Megafires are Remaking American Forests
(National Geographic, Aug 9, 2015)

Supersize fires are burning up bird habitat, killing trees, and turning forests into open range. Climate change will only make it worse. TWISP, Washington—The largest fire in state history swept through the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range with explosive force last summer. The Carlton Complex Fire burned more than 250,000 acres, devouring everything in its path at the hypersonic pace of 3.8 acres per second.

Until then, the top slot in the state’s fire rankings belonged to the Tripod Fire, which burned up 175,000 beetle-infested acres in two months on the same slopes in 2006.... READ MORE
Climate and Global Wildfire Activity

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Climate-induced variations in global wildfire danger from 1979 to 2013
(Nature.com, July 14, 2015)

“Climate strongly influences global wildfire activity, and recent wildfire surges may signal fire weather-induced pyrogeographic shifts. Here we use three daily global climate data sets and three fire danger indices to develop a simple annual metric of fire weather season length, and map spatio-temporal trends from 1979 to 2013. We show that fire weather seasons have lengthened across 29.6 million km2 (25.3%) of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in an 18.7% increase in global mean fire weather season length. We also show....READ MORE

 
Fighting Wildfires
 

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How We Fight Wildfires

A wildfire can burn more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s more than twice as hot as the surface of Venus. Its flames can reach more than 50 meters high.

Wildfires can get so big that they create their own weather systems, with hurricane force winds. On the ground, the average wildfire moves twice as fast as the average person can run.  

How do wildland firefighters tame such an inferno?....
READ MORE or
Watch a Firefighting VIDEO HERE
Technology: The Upside of Climate Change?

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BYU proffessor attempts to slow climate change, improve air quality, recycle energy with new technology
(ABC4Utah, Oct 8, 2015)

"The problem we have now is that we're increasing the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere very rapidly -- more rapidly than the earth can adjust," Baxter explained.
 
Using cryogenic -- or extremely cold -- temperatures, the chemical engineer and professor at Brigham Young University has developed a 'carbon-capture' system that traps up to 99 percent of CO2 emissions and costs just half as much as already existing methods.  The technology could one day capture carbon dioxide emissions of any major polluter....READ MORE
Point of View

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The Peak Oil Crisis: Forests & Trees
(Falls Church News Press, Oct 12, 2015)

The old rubric about not being able to see the forest for the trees is becoming more relevant as the world drifts towards numerous catastrophes. While our media talks endlessly about the symptoms of our many problems — Trump, Syria, floods, droughts, interest rates, and whatever – but these are not our fundamental troubles. The real problem is that the global forest in which we all live is coming unglued. There are too many of us. We are growing too fast for the resources left on the planet. The earth is...READ MORE

Policy

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Forest Service outlines changes needed in wildfire policy
(USDA Oct 11, 2015)

Outlining what Congress must do to tackle wildfire spending issues, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said, "First, the chronic increase in the portion of the Forest Service budget devoted to fire suppression must be stopped. The current rate of increase results in progressively less funding for fire prevention and restoration activities. In 1995, fire suppression made up 16 percent of the Forest Service's annual appropriated budget-this year, for the first time, more than 50 percent of the budget will be dedicated to fire....

Second, we must stop the practice of "fire transfer" which occurs when fighting fires in a given year costs more than Congress appropriates for that specific function, and the Forest Service must deplete restoration, watershed and recreation programs to pay for fire suppression. This fiscal year the transfer was a record $700 million..." READ MORE
ANNOUNCEMENTS
FHTF Monthly Meeting
Wednesday, October 21, Noon
Mount Royal Room, County Commons in Frisco (37 Peak One Dr.)

10th Annual Restoring the West Conference: Fire and Restoration in the Interior West

October 28-29, Logan, UT

Summit County Wildfire Mitigation Grants
Check this website in early spring of 2016 for information on the 2016 Wildfire Grant program.
 




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