Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Reply: Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California: Over a million Acres burned

Fernando, I looked at numerous areas in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho for a rural homestead. With the exception of some desert areas in NV, nearly all of the areas I looked at have burned to some extent in the past few years.
IMO it is unwise to think that one is safe from crime in a rural area, but one only has one LONG route of escape in case of fire. In the Sprague River/Moccasin Hill fire last year in Oregon, “survivalists” who had chosen the area for its remoteness found their escape route blocked by fire and had to submerge themselves in ponds so they wouldn’t burn to death.
There was a murder/suicide incident in Montana earlier this year where a paranoid “survivalist” killed his family and set his cabin on fire before shooting himself. He lived at the end of a long, rutted dirt road that took 45 min to travel via 4×4 vehicle, and the cops and firetrucks had an awful time trying to get to his cabin.
That road was the only way in or out of his homestead, which was located deep in a forest. He had called a friend and said that he would kill himself, or else nobody might have ever found him out there. Sometimes I wonder what people are thinking to go live in such remote areas.
Before Collapse
Here’s something from a bit further North, in Canada… basically the fires moved so quickly, people didn’t even have time to gather their things, they just had to literally run. That makes an argument for the importance of physical fitness as well!

Thank you folks for the interesting comments. I sure do agree. I believe many people practice selective risk assessment, simply to justify their personal preferences regarding where they live. They focus on the aspects they would hope such a choice would present an advantage while completely overlooking the disadvantages of living in such places, some of which are far more likely than the extremely unlikely events they are theoretically preparing for.


D.V. said...

My grand mother lived in rural Northern Ontario around the turn of the last century. She was burned out twice as a child. Everything gone and had to start from nothing. The 1916 fire had a 40 mile front. Fire is a very serious risk in wooded areas and you had better know your escape route.

Bill in NC said...

As D.V. said, "wooded areas."

In ALL the post-fire damage I've seen, vegetation was very close to the buildings; often you'll see a blackened tree trunk as little as 2 meters from the nearest wall.

If you live anywhere west of the Rocky Mountains (with a few notable exceptions, mostly right next to the Pacific coast) you're living in a desert & need to plan accordingly.

In that region of the U.S. vegetation blooms out early in the year and by mid-summer is as dry as tinder.

Only by ruthlessly clearing vegetation 30 meters or more (leaving literally nothing that can burn in that radius) from around your building(s) can you hope to save them.

In addition, the buildings themselves MUST be masonry/steel frame (monolithic concrete also works well), with metal roofs.

That means NO wood siding, NO wood or asphalt shingles, & NO stucco over wood framing.

But most people here in the U.S. don't want residences built out of such "industrial" materials, so they use wood, even when they can afford the extra costs of steel & masonry, and then cry on national TV when their new, multi-million dollar home burns to the ground.