Exterior Fire Sprinklers Saved 188 Properties – Wet homes don’t burn

As renowned fire scientist Jack Cohen has said repeatedly, the wildland fire problem is a home ignition problem, not a wildfire control problem. Cohen has been trying to help fire agencies understand this since 1999. Unfortunately, they have shown little interest. We are hoping with the recent wildfire tragedy in Paradise, California, attitudes will change.

But private citizens don’t have to wait.

There are a number of proven strategies and retrofits that can be implemented easily to homes and communities now. One is the installation of exterior fire sprinklers.

The story of the resistance to exterior fire sprinklers illuminates a crippling dichotomy between the structural fire protection and wildland fire communities. But first, the good news. Exterior fire sprinklers systems work, are affordable, and can be easily installed.

Exterior fire sprinklers in action in Australia. From Platypus Fire Pty Ltd.

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Posted in Fire, Misconceptions, Politics | Leave a comment

It’s about Flammable Homes, not forests

Here’s how to respond to those misleading posts claiming our recent fires are all about tree huggers preventing logging and a supposed fuel build up via past fire suppression.

1. Most of California’s most devastating fires were far from any forest (see map below).

2. For those few devastating fires that were near forests, most if not all of those forests around the communities destroyed had the kind of suggested thinning and fuel treatments misinformed commentators claim didn’t exist.

3. The majority of the area burned during the Camp Fire before it hit the town of Paradise had burned 10 years ago and was composed of habitats other than forest (e.g. post fire shrublands). The wind-driven ember rain that ignited the town came primarily from these 10-year-old sparse to dense shrublands, grasslands, areas damaged from salvage logging, and young tree plantations northeast of the town. A large percentage of the trees within the devastated town did not burn. See the fire progression map here and match it with the current view on Google Earth.

The Los Angeles Times discussed the science behind the fire’s path.

Here is an excellent map of the fire from the New York Times.

4. Climate change is drying the state. Dryer conditions lead to a more flammable landscape. We may also see more of the kind of winds that powered the Camp Fire into Paradise.

“The major factor is climate change across the west. Regardless of fuels management, we just wouldn’t be burning like this, especially in Northern California, in a normal year.”
– Dr. Leroy Westerling, UC Merced

More fires will dramatically alter the kinds of habitats we are used to seeing. Highly flammable, non-native weed-filled landscapes that dominate places like Riverside County will likely become more common. More on this issue here.

Tree Mortality 14 Final

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Posted in Fire, Forests, Misconceptions | 8 Comments

Rediscovering our true, wild selves through Nature

Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, was once asked about the future of our species.
“Are we going to make it?”
“Yes,” he answered, “if enough people do the inner work.”

Jung’s answer is providing the guidance for the Chaparral Institute’s new vision – Rediscovering our true, wild selves through Nature.

Jake chasing butterflies III

Reestablishing our intimate connection with the natural world can provide a path toward helping all of us create a more meaningful existence, which in turn will heal the wounds that cause so many to treat Nature (and each other) with malice. While the intellect is important in assembling facts and discussing shared ideas, it fails miserably when we seek to replace destructive behavior with understanding.
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Posted in Reconciliation with Nature, Reconnecting to Nature | Leave a comment