One Mile Barriers to Forest Fires – Controlled Burns and Fuel Breaks 1957-1977

California has had several years of bad forest fires. Many billions of dollars and dozens of lives are being lost each year.

There was an 84-page document that describes the practice of 300 foot to one-mile wide fuel breaks.

There have been repeated calls for more controlled burns and fuel breaks.

Earlier in 2018, there was a proposed new commitment of $1 billion to reduce the risk of megawildfires across the state. The legislation, if signed, would commit $165 million a year for five years to thin forests and $35 million a year for five years to fund prescribed burning projects.

This bill for money for prescribed burns was passed.

Even more money needs to be dedicated to controlled burns. Controlled burns need to be used to help establish fuel breaks.

There is a CalFire plan to triple the amount of controlled burns. There also need to be dedicated extra staff hired to perform the burns on an increased number of burn days.

Fuel Breaks – 100-300 feet but some believe 0.5 to 1 mile width needed to protect cities

The term Fuel Break was created in 1957 but there were the creation of strips of land without trees to contain forests and fire going back to 1886.

In wildland fire control, most fuel modification has been done to establish fuelbreaks-the permanent conversion of vegetation on strategically located areas for fire control which occupy a relatively small part of the total wildland acreage. Other fuel modification practices may be employed on part or all of the land in between the fuelbreaks. In California, where the wildland fire problem is acute, experience has shown that conversion of the vegetation on wide fuelbreak areas to a relatively stable plant cover can greatly reduce maintenance efforts.

The term “fuelbreak” has become widely used since it was first coined in 1957, but it has not always had the same meaning. Essentially it denotes a permanent break, or change, in the fuels themselves.

Fuelbreak-a strategically located wide block, or strip, on which a cover of dense, heavy, or flammable vegetation has been permanently changed to one of lower fuel volume or reduced flammability, as an aid to fire control. (In practice, almost any wide break cleared of all or part of the existing vegetation for fire control purposes is called a fuel break, but the term is misapplied unless long-term maintenance of a new vegetation cover on the cleared area is specifically planned.)

Fuelbreak system-usually, a system of relatively large areas of naturally open vegetation, or converted vegetation cover, all interconnected by fuelbreaks to form strategic locations for control of fires.

Fuel modification practice-the broad approach to fuel management on a large acreage of wildland.

80 thoughts on “One Mile Barriers to Forest Fires – Controlled Burns and Fuel Breaks 1957-1977”

  1. Hi Valcan321, I’m talking about doing it naturally over time, spending money we were going to spend on housing anyway, only not repeating the same mistakes of yesterday. Once an area has a smart rezoning plan, it can slowly be redeveloped as the housing stock expires various mechanisms can buy and keep a lot for later redevelopment. While housing stock lasts an average of 60 years, local communities can in fact be transformed with accumulating benefits to become more New Urbanist within about 20 years. With government backing in various financial mechanisms (but NOT taxpayer subsidies — everything will eventually be paid for by residents and the marketplace!) — communities can be transformed over time.

    You mentioned rights? Businesses and people move and sell and age and die. Economic factors like the globalised car market killed Detroit, and it shrunk. What if a newly educated generation of Americans realised being stuck in traffic jams sucked, anonymous bland suburbs with no “there” there sucked, and basically being forced to drive for every little thing sucked when there was another way? We’re talking about over time. Some ugly arsed exurban sprawl area could be earmarked for future farmland or parkland. As people slowly evacuated that exurban area, a government backed financial holding mechanism could buy them out at a fair market price. Governments could either save the land for public parks, sell it to farming or forestry companies to be reimbursed, etc etc etc. So many options. The public health and vastly reduced infrastructure costs of New Urbanism would soon pay for itself. As to “rights”, there will still be rural towns. Cities will become more like cities, and rural areas more like rural areas. They can live in a country town if they desire. New Urbanism also has variety, with cheaper eco-apartments for young couples and some housing stock with reasonable backyards. But think about the other “rights” people have. Don’t they have a “right” to be able to access all the shops and services they need without being told they *have to* buy a car? Don’t the poor have a “right” to be able to walk to the store? The following paragraph was from the “Centre for Policy Development” think tank but seems to have been taken down since I originally linked it.
    “If privacy is socially desirable what about its flipside, social isolation? If sprawl is low density, then the implication is that the distance between homes, workplaces, schools and parks will be long, and therefore people will not be able to walk, and hence will potentially be less mobile — which could, in fact, be seen as an urban form that constrains choice.”
    http://cpd.org.au/article/sprawl%3A-natural-and-democratic%3F

    Reply
  2. Because suburban sprawl SUCKS, traffic jams SUCK, pollution SUCKS, paying for 10 times the pipes and plumbing and wiring and footpaths and everything else SUCKS, and young people generally want to spend time on their phones and talking with each other in cafes rather than being stuck in traffic. Americans love New Urbanism, as shown by the market value of Portland.
    oregonlive dot com/hg/index.ssf/2017/02/portland_gentrification_4_real.html
    governing dot com/gov-data/portland-gentrification-maps-demographic-data.html
    portlandoregon dot gov/bps/62635

    Reply
  3. Portland is heading in that direction, and people flock to it. The only problem is there isn’t enough of the New Urbanist areas of Portland so they gentrify and climb up in value too fast. So American’s DO value New Urbanism — almost too much, and with their hip-pocket nerve! The only answer is *more* New Urbanism to satisfy the demand and lower the prices! So I would say the economic indicators show that “this is America and American’s LOVE New Urbanism’s walkable, vital communities, and compete to be in them!”
    oregonlive dot com/hg/index.ssf/2017/02/portland_gentrification_4_real.html
    governing dot com/gov-data/portland-gentrification-maps-demographic-data.html
    portlandoregon dot gov/bps/62635

    Reply
  4. Wrong. This was caused by a high power transformer that caught on fire because a bill requiring PG&E to clear trees around such flammable assets was vetoed by Governor Moonbeam.

    This was thus 100% caused by outright Bluetard State mismanagement. Trump had nothing to do with it.

    Reply
  5. “New Urbanism uses 10% of the land of suburbia,”

    Only problem is that this is America and Americans don’t want to live in New Urbanist hell-holes like that.

    Reply
  6. Yes, this is life in a Bluetarded state. And like all Bluetard tyrannies, they cover their âsses by claiming this was caused by Global Warming instead.

    Reply
  7. These aren’t forest fires, as firefighters have repeatedly told the Orange Idiot. They’re urban interface brush fires. Extreme drought, single digit humidity and 70 mph winds are responsible for this mess. Incidentally, cutting federal funds to the federally managed lands in California, which make up 59% of open space, is kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

    Reply
  8. Malibu isn’t in a forest, nor has the fire policy in its area changed since Schwarzenegger was in office. Oh, and California does do controlled burns, I’ve seen one. Try again.

    Reply
  9. There’s a big problem with people who’s ‘intentions are good’.

    Results don’t matter at all, as long as the intentions are good. So – let fuel accumulate to insane points in the name of ecological activism. Their intentions are good. That the RESULTS aren’t good (in fact, leave a smoldering landscape in its wake) isn’t relevant in the slightest. (Look at Socialism for the same type of thinking. It’s SUCH a good idea. It’ll WORK this time. Just IGNORE all the haters and the dumpster fire that’s Venezuela…)

    And they’d do it again – because their intentions are good and they won’t learn a damn thing from the wreckage left in their wake.

    Reply
  10. Oh no they knew but their was a desert box turtle on those lands and a cricket and such…so everything had to stop….
    AND………they all died in the fire.

    Reply
  11. They clear-cut the ridges like that for transmission and pipeline easements. It was not about fuel breaks. A large majority of fire-roads and breaks are originally access for infrastructure easements.

    Reply
  12. Please provide evidence for the failed Oregonian New Urban district? Please explain how driving through hours of traffic each day, killing Americans and wasting their time and costing them hundreds of billions in lost GDP every year actually helps anyone? Please explain what peer-reviewed sociological and psychological papers you’ve read explain how suburbia’s isolating town plan *isn’t* actually accelerating isolation and depression rates in the world? Please explain how medical studies somehow mistakenly concluded that people living in New Urbanism lose weight and have healthier hearts?

    Reply
  13. New Urbanism was basically de-facto forced on Oregonians for a couple of decades with some of the harshest anti-sprawl laws in the nation.

    …until Oregonians who were so sick of it they repealed those regs. Seems like even in Oregonians couldn’t stand it.

    “young people generally want to spend time on their phones and talking with each other in cafes rather than being stuck in traffic”

    Young people are stupid. They need to get a job, get a mortgage and then spend hours in traffic to deal with both. It’s called: Growing up.

    Reply
  14. Can we stack California Assembly and Senate members up like cordwood? Clearly, they have oxygen deprived brains when it comes to proper forest management.

    Reply
  15. The power companies wanted to expand clear areas around lines and to replace the bare wires with insulated wires to reduce arcing from tree branches in the wind. They were DENIED the ability to pass through these costs to electricity consumers but instead were required to cut executive compensation to pay. Sadly, their executives didn’t make the hundreds of million$ needed for the work. This was changed by law in Sept, but it doesn’t take effect until 2019. And in the new law, they are forbidden to use revenues to pay executives ANYTHING. Insanity.

    Reply
  16. There’s a big problem with people who’s ‘intentions are good’.

    Results don’t matter at all, as long as the intentions are good. So – let fuel accumulate to insane points in the name of ecological activision. Their intentions are good. That the RESULTS aren’t good (in fact, leave a smoldering landscape in its wake) isn’t relevant in the slightest.

    And they’d do it again – because their intentions are good and they won’t learn a damn thing from the wreckage left in their wake.

    Reply
  17. And that would cost literally trillions of dollars and basically destroy the rights of those who don’t want to sell their land or move.

    Reply
  18. New Urbanism uses 10% of the land of suburbia, housing a million people in 40 square miles instead of 400 square miles. With careful rezoning, suburbia could creep back in on itself over the next generation as the housing stock ages. Allowing for population growth the final city size might be half or even a quarter of the current city size. With normal attrition of the housing stock, suburbia could be replaced by New Urbanism within 60 years. As it collapses back in on itself it would free up heaps of space for natural ecosystems and parks and other firebreaks, and concentrate more wealth and resources in less area — meaning vastly more water saved to pump to a vastly smaller area. Every 5 story eco-apartment complex could have an interior and exterior fire prevention spray system. It would also build cities around our psychological need for connection, physiological need for walking and exercise, financial need to get rid of car dependence, especially for the poor, and use vastly less transport energy.

    Reply
  19. The Native Americas are one of the worst hit communities by these fires and this is 100% due to lack of land management. Hundreds lost their homes last year and here we go again! It is common knowledge that the Native tribes have been doing control burns for thousands of years to make the forests passable and prevent mega-fires from unplanned ignitions.
    Unfortunately, the California government has had incompetent environmentalists in charge of Land Management since Schwarzenegger left office. Obviously, Environmental Scientists couldn’t manage a forest to save their lives.

    Reply
  20. New Urbanism uses 10% of the land of suburbia, housing a million people in 40 square miles instead of 400 square miles. With careful rezoning, suburbia could creep back in on itself over the next generation as the housing stock ages. Allowing for population growth the final city size might be half or even a quarter of the current city size. With normal attrition of the housing stock, suburbia could be replaced by New Urbanism within 60 years. As it collapses back in on itself it would free up heaps of space for natural ecosystems and parks and other firebreaks, and concentrate more wealth and resources in less area — meaning vastly more water saved to pump to a vastly smaller area. Every 5 story eco-apartment complex could have an interior and exterior fire prevention spray system. It would also build cities around our psychological need for connection, physiological need for walking and exercise, financial need to get rid of car dependence, especially for the poor, and use vastly less transport energy.

    Reply
  21. The Native Americas are one of the worst hit communities by these fires and this is 100% due to lack of land management. Hundreds lost their homes last year and here we go again! It is common knowledge that the Native tribes have been doing control burns for thousands of years to make the forests passable and prevent mega-fires from unplanned ignitions. Unfortunately, the California government has had incompetent environmentalists in charge of Land Management since Schwarzenegger left office. Obviously, Environmental Scientists couldn’t manage a forest to save their lives.

    Reply
  22. They clear-cut the ridges like that for transmission and pipeline easements. It was not about fuel breaks. A large majority of fire-roads and breaks are originally access for infrastructure easements.

    Reply
  23. The power companies wanted to expand clear areas around lines and to replace the bare wires with insulated wires to reduce arcing from tree branches in the wind. They were DENIED the ability to pass through these costs to electricity consumers but instead were required to cut executive compensation to pay. Sadly, their executives didn’t make the hundreds of million$ needed for the work. This was changed by law in Sept, but it doesn’t take effect until 2019. And in the new law, they are forbidden to use revenues to pay executives ANYTHING. Insanity.

    Reply
  24. And another thing. Those nice mile wide parcels of former fire break land, most with great views and locations? Developers were able to snatch them up and build were they shouldn’t have. Anything for a buck.

    Reply
  25. And another thing. Those nice mile wide parcels of former fire break land, most with great views and locations? Developers were able to snatch them up and build were they shouldn’t have. Anything for a buck.

    Reply
  26. Please provide evidence for the failed Oregonian New Urban district? Please explain how driving through hours of traffic each day, killing Americans and wasting their time and costing them hundreds of billions in lost GDP every year actually helps anyone? Please explain what peer-reviewed sociological and psychological papers you’ve read explain how suburbia’s isolating town plan *isn’t* actually accelerating isolation and depression rates in the world? Please explain how medical studies somehow mistakenly concluded that people living in New Urbanism lose weight and have healthier hearts?

    Reply
  27. New Urbanism was basically de-facto forced on Oregonians for a couple of decades with some of the harshest anti-sprawl laws in the nation.

    …until Oregonians who were so sick of it they repealed those regs. Seems like even in Oregonians couldn’t stand it.

    “young people generally want to spend time on their phones and talking with each other in cafes rather than being stuck in traffic”

    Young people are stupid. They need to get a job, get a mortgage and then spend hours in traffic to deal with both. It’s called: Growing up.

    Reply
  28. Hi Valcan321, I’m talking about doing it naturally over time, spending money we were going to spend on housing anyway, only not repeating the same mistakes of yesterday. Once an area has a smart rezoning plan, it can slowly be redeveloped as the housing stock expires various mechanisms can buy and keep a lot for later redevelopment. While housing stock lasts an average of 60 years, local communities can in fact be transformed with accumulating benefits to become more New Urbanist within about 20 years. With government backing in various financial mechanisms (but NOT taxpayer subsidies — everything will eventually be paid for by residents and the marketplace!) — communities can be transformed over time.

    You mentioned rights? Businesses and people move and sell and age and die. Economic factors like the globalised car market killed Detroit, and it shrunk. What if a newly educated generation of Americans realised being stuck in traffic jams sucked, anonymous bland suburbs with no “there” there sucked, and basically being forced to drive for every little thing sucked when there was another way? We’re talking about over time. Some ugly arsed exurban sprawl area could be earmarked for future farmland or parkland. As people slowly evacuated that exurban area, a government backed financial holding mechanism could buy them out at a fair market price. Governments could either save the land for public parks, sell it to farming or forestry companies to be reimbursed, etc etc etc. So many options. The public health and vastly reduced infrastructure costs of New Urbanism would soon pay for itself. As to “rights”, there will still be rural towns. Cities will become more like cities, and rural areas more like rural areas. They can live in a country town if they desire. New Urbanism also has variety, with cheaper eco-apartments for young couples and some housing stock with reasonable backyards. But think about the other “rights” people have. Don’t they have a “right” to be able to access all the shops and services they need without being told they *have to* buy a car? Don’t the poor have a “right” to be able to walk to the store? The following paragraph was from the “Centre for Policy Development” think tank but seems to have been taken down since I originally linked it.
    “If privacy is socially desirable what about its flipside, social isolation? If sprawl is low density, then the implication is that the distance between homes, workplaces, schools and parks will be long, and therefore people will not be able to walk, and hence will potentially be less mobile — which could, in fact, be seen as an urban form that constrains choice.”
    http://cpd.org.au/article/sprawl%3A-natural-and-democratic%3F

    Reply
  29. Because suburban sprawl SUCKS, traffic jams SUCK, pollution SUCKS, paying for 10 times the pipes and plumbing and wiring and footpaths and everything else SUCKS, and young people generally want to spend time on their phones and talking with each other in cafes rather than being stuck in traffic. Americans love New Urbanism, as shown by the market value of Portland.
    oregonlive dot com/hg/index.ssf/2017/02/portland_gentrification_4_real.html
    governing dot com/gov-data/portland-gentrification-maps-demographic-data.html
    portlandoregon dot gov/bps/62635

    Reply
  30. Portland is heading in that direction, and people flock to it. The only problem is there isn’t enough of the New Urbanist areas of Portland so they gentrify and climb up in value too fast. So American’s DO value New Urbanism — almost too much, and with their hip-pocket nerve! The only answer is *more* New Urbanism to satisfy the demand and lower the prices! So I would say the economic indicators show that “this is America and American’s LOVE New Urbanism’s walkable, vital communities, and compete to be in them!”
    oregonlive dot com/hg/index.ssf/2017/02/portland_gentrification_4_real.html
    governing dot com/gov-data/portland-gentrification-maps-demographic-data.html
    portlandoregon dot gov/bps/62635

    Reply
  31. Wrong. This was caused by a high power transformer that caught on fire because a bill requiring PG&E to clear trees around such flammable assets was vetoed by Governor Moonbeam.

    This was thus 100% caused by outright Bluetard State mismanagement. Trump had nothing to do with it.

    Reply
  32. These aren’t forest fires, as firefighters have repeatedly told the Orange Idiot. They’re urban interface brush fires. Extreme drought, single digit humidity and 70 mph winds are responsible for this mess. Incidentally, cutting federal funds to the federally managed lands in California, which make up 59% of open space, is kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

    Reply
  33. Malibu isn’t in a forest, nor has the fire policy in its area changed since Schwarzenegger was in office. Oh, and California does do controlled burns, I’ve seen one. Try again.

    Reply
  34. The power companies wanted to expand clear areas around lines and to replace the bare wires with insulated wires to reduce arcing from tree branches in the wind. They were DENIED the ability to pass through these costs to electricity consumers but instead were required to cut executive compensation to pay. Sadly, their executives didn’t make the hundreds of million$ needed for the work. This was changed by law in Sept, but it doesn’t take effect until 2019. And in the new law, they are forbidden to use revenues to pay executives ANYTHING. Insanity.

    Reply
  35. These aren’t forest fires, as firefighters have repeatedly told the Orange Idiot. They’re urban interface brush fires. Extreme drought, single digit humidity and 70 mph winds are responsible for this mess. Incidentally, cutting federal funds to the federally managed lands in California, which make up 59% of open space, is kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

    Reply
  36. There’s a big problem with people who’s ‘intentions are good’. Results don’t matter at all, as long as the intentions are good. So – let fuel accumulate to insane points in the name of ecological activism. Their intentions are good. That the RESULTS aren’t good (in fact, leave a smoldering landscape in its wake) isn’t relevant in the slightest. (Look at Socialism for the same type of thinking. It’s SUCH a good idea. It’ll WORK this time. Just IGNORE all the haters and the dumpster fire that’s Venezuela…)And they’d do it again – because their intentions are good and they won’t learn a damn thing from the wreckage left in their wake.

    Reply
  37. There’s a big problem with people who’s ‘intentions are good’. Results don’t matter at all, as long as the intentions are good. So – let fuel accumulate to insane points in the name of ecological activision. Their intentions are good. That the RESULTS aren’t good (in fact, leave a smoldering landscape in its wake) isn’t relevant in the slightest.And they’d do it again – because their intentions are good and they won’t learn a damn thing from the wreckage left in their wake.

    Reply
  38. Malibu isn’t in a forest, nor has the fire policy in its area changed since Schwarzenegger was in office. Oh, and California does do controlled burns, I’ve seen one. Try again.

    Reply
  39. Oh no they knew but their was a desert box turtle on those lands and a cricket and such…so everything had to stop….AND………they all died in the fire.

    Reply
  40. And that would cost literally trillions of dollars and basically destroy the rights of those who don’t want to sell their land or move.

    Reply
  41. The power companies wanted to expand clear areas around lines and to replace the bare wires with insulated wires to reduce arcing from tree branches in the wind. They were DENIED the ability to pass through these costs to electricity consumers but instead were required to cut executive compensation to pay. Sadly, their executives didn’t make the hundreds of million$ needed for the work. This was changed by law in Sept, but it doesn’t take effect until 2019. And in the new law, they are forbidden to use revenues to pay executives ANYTHING. Insanity.

    Reply
  42. There’s a big problem with people who’s ‘intentions are good’.

    Results don’t matter at all, as long as the intentions are good. So – let fuel accumulate to insane points in the name of ecological activism. Their intentions are good. That the RESULTS aren’t good (in fact, leave a smoldering landscape in its wake) isn’t relevant in the slightest. (Look at Socialism for the same type of thinking. It’s SUCH a good idea. It’ll WORK this time. Just IGNORE all the haters and the dumpster fire that’s Venezuela…)

    And they’d do it again – because their intentions are good and they won’t learn a damn thing from the wreckage left in their wake.

    Reply
  43. There’s a big problem with people who’s ‘intentions are good’.

    Results don’t matter at all, as long as the intentions are good. So – let fuel accumulate to insane points in the name of ecological activision. Their intentions are good. That the RESULTS aren’t good (in fact, leave a smoldering landscape in its wake) isn’t relevant in the slightest.

    And they’d do it again – because their intentions are good and they won’t learn a damn thing from the wreckage left in their wake.

    Reply
  44. They clear-cut the ridges like that for transmission and pipeline easements. It was not about fuel breaks. A large majority of fire-roads and breaks are originally access for infrastructure easements.

    Reply
  45. They clear-cut the ridges like that for transmission and pipeline easements. It was not about fuel breaks. A large majority of fire-roads and breaks are originally access for infrastructure easements.

    Reply
  46. New Urbanism uses 10% of the land of suburbia, housing a million people in 40 square miles instead of 400 square miles. With careful rezoning, suburbia could creep back in on itself over the next generation as the housing stock ages. Allowing for population growth the final city size might be half or even a quarter of the current city size. With normal attrition of the housing stock, suburbia could be replaced by New Urbanism within 60 years. As it collapses back in on itself it would free up heaps of space for natural ecosystems and parks and other firebreaks, and concentrate more wealth and resources in less area — meaning vastly more water saved to pump to a vastly smaller area. Every 5 story eco-apartment complex could have an interior and exterior fire prevention spray system. It would also build cities around our psychological need for connection, physiological need for walking and exercise, financial need to get rid of car dependence, especially for the poor, and use vastly less transport energy.

    Reply
  47. The Native Americas are one of the worst hit communities by these fires and this is 100% due to lack of land management. Hundreds lost their homes last year and here we go again! It is common knowledge that the Native tribes have been doing control burns for thousands of years to make the forests passable and prevent mega-fires from unplanned ignitions. Unfortunately, the California government has had incompetent environmentalists in charge of Land Management since Schwarzenegger left office. Obviously, Environmental Scientists couldn’t manage a forest to save their lives.

    Reply
  48. New Urbanism uses 10% of the land of suburbia, housing a million people in 40 square miles instead of 400 square miles. With careful rezoning, suburbia could creep back in on itself over the next generation as the housing stock ages. Allowing for population growth the final city size might be half or even a quarter of the current city size. With normal attrition of the housing stock, suburbia could be replaced by New Urbanism within 60 years. As it collapses back in on itself it would free up heaps of space for natural ecosystems and parks and other firebreaks, and concentrate more wealth and resources in less area — meaning vastly more water saved to pump to a vastly smaller area. Every 5 story eco-apartment complex could have an interior and exterior fire prevention spray system. It would also build cities around our psychological need for connection, physiological need for walking and exercise, financial need to get rid of car dependence, especially for the poor, and use vastly less transport energy.

    Reply
  49. The Native Americas are one of the worst hit communities by these fires and this is 100% due to lack of land management. Hundreds lost their homes last year and here we go again! It is common knowledge that the Native tribes have been doing control burns for thousands of years to make the forests passable and prevent mega-fires from unplanned ignitions.
    Unfortunately, the California government has had incompetent environmentalists in charge of Land Management since Schwarzenegger left office. Obviously, Environmental Scientists couldn’t manage a forest to save their lives.

    Reply

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