November 12, 2009

Smoldering landscape.

"Looks like the day after a battle."



"Did we just stumble into a forest fire?"



"Pretty exciting!"



Shortly thereafter, we ran into the forestry worker who was managing the burning — "prescribed fire" — there in Cherokee Marsh, and he explained how he did it and why. Black cherry trees are always threatening to clutter up the space under the big oaks, and red osier dogwood, if left to their own devices, would turn the marsh into a place where the cranes can't walk.

ADDED: A still:

DSC05349

28 comments:

tim maguire said...

"Where the cranes can't walk" sounds like the title of a short story collection.

knox said...

"let's take a closer look at those flames"

tee hee

wv: slizin

Irene said...

The still photo looks like what I imagine when I think of the Civil War (the one that occurred when Lincoln was president).

blake said...

Sarah Palin shoots Black Cherry trees from a helicopter.

Jason (the commenter) said...

..when Meade yelled "Fire bad!" and ran away, that was when Althouse realized she had married a Frankenstein...

Lem said...

The fact that nobody was around made it safe to yell fire, fire ;)

(thanks Jason i didn't want to go first)

chickenlittle said...

The still photo looks like what I imagine when I think of the Civil War (the one that occurred when Lincoln was president).

Nonsense. The Civil War and Lincoln all happened in black and white: no hue ways about it. ;)

Crimso said...

"There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees, for the maples want more sunlight and the oaks ignore their pleas."

rcocean said...

We had to destroy the forest in order to save it.

Robin said...

Is it weird of me to want video of Meade? I mean, the fire was interesting and all, but Meade is a fine lookin' man. I'm just sayin'...

kynefski said...

Just today, I attended a seminar, given by Roger Latham, on the ecology of the Pocono till barrens, another ecosystem that has depended on periodic disruption. Latham made a point that I previously hadn't encountered. Prescribed fire, due to human activity, has been practiced in North America for at least ten thousand years. Before then, disruption was accomplished by large mammals, ground sloths and mammoths and such.

chickenlittle said...

The great Peshtigo Fire of 1871 in Wisconsin remains the deadliest fire in American history, killing between 1,200 and 2,400 people.

And check out that map on the Wiki link. I wonder how much deadly CO2 was released into the atmosphere as a result?

Penny said...

"We had to destroy the forest in order to save it."

Fortunately, "best practices" continue to be monitored and updated, usually by some government worker or a govt grant-infused NGO.

Hang in there, Smokey! We haven't heard the last word on this. Merely the LATEST word.

Lem said...

Smokie The Bear is just another Big Tabaco ploy to sell cigarretes to kids ;)

Shame

Theo Boehm said...

On the day after Armistice Day, if you're thinking burnt landscapes, don't think of the Civil War. Think Great War.
And it all wasn't all black-and-white. Color Autochrome had been invented by the Lumiére Brothers in 1903, and the French took a lot of color pictures of the Western Front.
For "controlled burns," there's this Autochrome. Or, if you prefer blue skies, there's this lovely forest view.
I've got a few more on my blog.

edutcher said...

Irene said...

The still photo looks like what I imagine when I think of the Civil War (the one that occurred when Lincoln was president).

As opposed to the one that will probably be going on this time next year?

Robin said...

Is it weird of me to want video of Meade? I mean, the fire was interesting and all, but Meade is a fine lookin' man. I'm just sayin'...

Ann says you have to get your own Meade. Hers is taken.

Theo Boehm said...

On the day after Armistice Day, if you're thinking burnt landscapes, don't think of the Civil War. Think Great War.
And it all wasn't all black-and-white. Color Autochrome had been invented by the Lumiére Brothers in 1903, and the French took a lot of color pictures of the Western Front.


There are some excellent examples of it in the title sequence of "The First World War", airing occasionally on one of the history channels.

What's even more interesting is the series has a short film clip of some German grenadiers (complete with mitres (sp?)) in gorgeous color - red jackets and white caps with gold detail. Sort of a time machine back to the Hessians in the American Revolution.

WV "ingus" A dingus missing its head

Penny said...

"Nonsense. The Civil War and Lincoln all happened in black and white: no hue ways about it."

Crap, I was just getting into coffee, and now Chicklit has me singing...

"Tea for two, and two for tea,
And me for hue, and hue forty."

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

"Looks like the day after a battle."

Ah ... no. The trees would all be shattered about halfway up from airburst artillery. The ground would be deeply pocked, and there would be all manner of military impedimenta scattered about.

I suggest you check some of the photos from the Battle of the Bulge, 65 years ago next month. There was not much left of the Ardennes forest, and most of the trees are now (unsurprisingly) about 60 years old.

Irene said...

edutcher said, "As opposed to the one that will probably be going on this time next year?"

Bingo!

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I'm confused.

Do the cranes need man to burn the forest to make it habitable for them, thus meaning man is forced to modify nature for nature,

OR

Has man prevented natural fires, so they need to start man made ones so the crane can enjoy its natural habitat?

AND

Isn't burning bad? Don't they have any other way to remove the brush for the cranes?

AND

Aren't these naturalist, who should know about the burning and the cranes?

I tell, I'm confused.

WV: sjoiat: redneck for inquiring if you had a good time:
s'joi 'at?

Penny said...

Civil war is an oxymoron, and as such, should not be engaged in before at least 51 percent of the population understand that the battlefield may spread beyond the internet.

Translation: You may be required to get away from your screen and out of your chair.

David said...

Theo Boehm--

I looked at those photos of the Great War. Amazing. I had never known that the color photos exist, and the one of Hitler, which I think I saw before, is stunning. What is the origin of these photos? Do you own the copyrights? Anyway, thanks for the link.

Kynefsky--The natives burned forests and prairies all over the continent to make the land more friendly to their needs. In parts of New England they would burn out just the understory, in order to make transit and hunting easier.

When the Maori first got to the uninhabited (by humans) land we now call New Zealand, they burned about a third of the land.

Basically the primeval forest began not being primeval as soon man arrived across the land bridge from Asia.

Theo Boehm said...

Hi David: Those photos came from a now-defunct site about 7 or 8 years ago. They, and others like them are on the web, but they may take a little poking around to find. They are not copyrighted, so feel free to copy and repost any of them if you wish.

I have more information about an interesting WWI archive at Oxford University, and the person who put the photographic part together. I think many of these photos are in there.

In any event, I'm going to do another blog post in a day or two, outlining all this and featuring the photo editor for the Oxford collection, who is a fine photographer in her own right.

Bruce Hayden said...

We had to destroy the forest in order to save it.

Unfortunately yes. I don't know about the East, but out West, at least, the government (e.g. Forest Service, BLM, et al.) suppressed fires for better than a century on much of the land that they managed. The problem is that the ecosystem was dependent upon periodic burns, maybe every decade or two, to clear out the underbrush. Twenty years ago, when I was consulting for the USDA, and, esp. the Forest Service, I was repeatedly told by FS experts about the problems of having 100 years of fuel on the ground. Back, 100 years ago, the climax vegetation (such as the big pine trees) would typically survive the every decade or two fires. Not any more. All that fuel on the ground pretty much guarantees that everything burns. And then a year or two later, all the top soil is washed way in the first big rain.

Brad V said...

A vaguely Tom Uttech flavor to it:

http://www.porcupineliteraryarts.com/uttech.html

DADvocate said...

ADDED: A still:

I started looking for a moonshine still. Guess that's natural for someone who grew up in Tennessee.

Ann Althouse said...

@Redneck The forester talked about the way the Indians burned this landscape in the olden days. They did it so they could get around and find food efficiently.

Canada Guy said...

Forests fires are a natural event. They are beneficial for forests and help to create a diversity of ecosystems. The traditional approach of fighting all fires without reservation has been wrong and misguided. It damages the environment, costs more, and risks more lives. Fortunately many scientists and fire fighters are now changing their approach. Smokey Bear's time is over.

http://www.selfdestructivebastards.com/2009/11/forest-fire-suppression.html