Finally got up to the high peaks in the Angeles (besides Baldy). NICE. Baden-Powell is now easily my favorite peak. (BTW, good luck to the Angeles Crest 100 people this weekend!) I posted when I was up there before but didn't include any of my own pictures. Below are a couple.
There have been some fires recently and it kills me every time I hear how much acreage has been lost. I hate to be a negative Nellie but I just can't understand: our forests in SoCal are so precious, why do we let people have ANY kind of fire during fire season? Isn't a forest worth enduring the crippling inconvenience of not making s'mores between Easter and Halloween?
I started thinking about HOW precious. Since 2009, counting just the Station Fire, Mountain Fire, and Springs Fire, we have lost about 13% of our total forest. That works out to 3.3% of our forest per year. By that rate, all the forests will have burned by 2040.
How do I justify this number? The data I used is below. My assumptions are:
-Burnt areas were all forest (I know that's not true); but I also assume that ALL of SM, Angeles and SB are forest. Liberally speaking, not even half are. So the % destroyed is possibly worse than my estimate.
-Not counting Los Padres as SoCal. I also don't include Cleveland NF. If you've done much hiking in Cleveland, you know there are a couple spots with trees, but I'm overestimating the forest in SM+Angeles+SB a lot more than I'm underestimating Cleveland's contribution (which I estimate at 0).
-This neglects regeneration. I know fire-damaged areas recover, but over a human lifetime(s). (Cedar Fire-damaged areas in San Diego are still just bushes 10 years later - there's nothing like a forest there as yet.)
If you still think I'm being pessimistic, consider climate change. Will SoCal get hotter and drier over the next few decades, or cooler and wetter?
|Area||Forest Size||Fire size||% lost|
|Santa Monica NRA||156,670||28,000||17.9|
|San Bernardino NF||823,816||27000||3.3|
The total forest lost to fire in four years - actually, not even four total years - is 13.2%, or 3.3% lost per year, reflected in the graph above.