Creating a Fire Ladder?

One of the elements of the plan for the Demonstration Areas is to remove vines that climb tree-trunks to a height of ten feet. The vines above that level (maybe another 100 feet or so) will of course die. This is supposed to reduce hazard by removing a fire-ladder. But does it make it worse?

The assumption is that the dead vine material will just die and blow away. But from what we’ve seen of the forest, that is not what happens. The dead material remains, creating a much more flammable fire ladder than before, because the moisture content is low. Now there really is a fire ladder that didn’t exist before.

If there’s no further maintenance, the vines return, with the new vines layering over the dead stratum. If this is cut, there’s a much airier but thicker layer of dry material. That’s even worse.

Meanwhile, all the fauna that relied on the vines as habitat are out of luck. Birds. Insects. Maybe bats. Who knows? It hasn’t been studied.

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2 Responses to Creating a Fire Ladder?

  1. Charlie says:

    hmm… at some point you may have to choose between the eucs and the ivy. I don’t know if it can kill a 200 foot tree but it definitely kills 50 foot plus trees sometimes. As for cutting ivy to reduce fire danger, yeah that seems ineffective. The bark of the Eucs is more flammable than the ivy, probably, anyway.

  2. Pingback: ABC7 Television, an Idyllic Forest, and Fear of Fire | Save Mount Sutro Forest

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