Sep 8, 2011: A post about fire (that's mainly about trees)

News from Here

The Big Hump fire, which is burning to the north of us up the Duckabush drainage, has grown from 50 to 400 acres in the past week or so. Today the sky is so full of smoke we can't see the Brothers from the shore.We'd take a picture of it for you, except that it just looks like clouds, and that isn't very exciting at all. Here's a picture of the fire from Seattle, which we found at the blog My Ballard:

And here's a Kitsap Sun article about the fire, and you should definitely check out Dr. Dale's webcam, where the fire looks like a volcano, and the sunsets are spectacular. Historically the Olympics experienced a cataclysmic burn every 300 to 500 years... a fire regime that provided perfect growing conditions for Douglas-fir trees, which can regenerate in direct sunlight and have thick enough bark to survive low intensity fires. We've had a really dry (albeit cool) summer, and the 5 day forecast calls for only a 10 percent chance of rain. It'll be interesting to see how big this fire gets. What's the deal with drought in the rain forest, you ask? This is a temperate rain forest, and summertime droughts are the norm. That's why we have softwood (evergreen) forests, instead of predominately deciduous forests... the big, broad, summertime leaves of the deciduous trees lose a lot of water through transpiration, placing the trees at a competitive disadvantage. Conversely, in the winter (when hardwood forests in places like Vermont experience drought due to freezing temperatures) our evergreen trees don't have to fret about losing water through their needles, because it's (normally) 45 degrees and raining sideways.

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