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Extreme drought in California increases the risk of wildfires

Persistent droughts continue to cause damage to Californians. The state's largest private landowners did not open their forests to the public, primarily due to the threat of wildfires. Sierra Pacific Industries, one of the largest sawmills in the United States, owns 1.8 million acres of land in 17 counties in the Golden State.

"These extreme drought conditions and the resulting increased risk of wildfires. We have closed the forest area to public access and recreation," said Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI). ) Spokesman Andrea Howell said. "The first line of defense against wildfires is to curb wildfires, but we also know that we need to help protect forest resources and public safety." 

This is the fourth time in five years that the company has taken protective measures to close the gate. Only during the summer of 2019, their experts felt that sufficient weather and water conditions were safe for hikers, hunters, backpackers and riding riders to cross the woodlands.

The company's 500,000-acre forest areas in Oregon and Washington remain open as they have not been hit by severe to extreme droughts.

Climatologists say the Golden State is in the midst of a 22-year drought. According to a study by the journal Nature , 2000-2021 was the driest 22 years in modern history in the Southwestern United States. 

Helicopter extinguishing bush fire that broke out on June 17, 2020 in Jurupa Valley.
VCG via Getty Images
Pasadena Fire Department spraying Phos-chek wildland fire retardant onto brush near residential area.
Getty Images

"California is experiencing the driest conditions of 1200 years, despite some of the late spring rains," Howell said. Explained. "We assess the situation on a regular basis, but we expect the closure to remain in effect until autumn."

Over the past few years, from summer to October and 11 when weather patterns change. The closure continued until the month. SPI scientists assess the risk of wildfires by monitoring tree (fire fuel) moisture levels, ground humidity levels, nighttime humidity levels, and long-range weather forecasts.

Long-term climate models show that the drought will continue until at least August.

However, the autumn openings of the land may be at risk. Meteorologists are afraid that dryness will continue into the winter. Winter is usually considered a season of rain and snow.

A semi-permanent weather pattern, La Niña shows signs of being stuck during the third winter. Winter in La Niña usually means the dry Southwestern United States.

Helicopter dropping water as firefighters battle brush fire on June 17, 2020 in Jurupa Valley, CA.
VCG by Getty Images

Recent US Drought monitors show that 97% of California have severe droughts, 60% have extreme droughts, and 12% have exceptional droughts. 

Last year's DixieFire blackened the company's 63,000 acres of wood. SPI land accounted for almost 7% of all land lost in wildfires that burned for more than three months. The crew was able to harvest old timber for timber, but most of the young trees were destroyed. The fire also destroyed more than 600 homes and 700 other structures. 

SPI also works with the US Forestry Department and CAL FIRE to mitigate damage and delay wildfires. In just the last three years, the company has cut down trees and created a 1,500-mile fuel break on its assets.

"We are aware that our common forests in California are overstocked and there is a fire. A fire reaches or there. If you start with, you'll run out of fuel and you'll need to take a break to provide a place where the fire is vulnerable, "says Howell, a tough business decision. "Break also provides safe entry and exit for people leaving the fire area or trying to get in and out to fight the fire." 

Dry brush in Deane Dana Friendship Park and Nature Center in San Pedro, CA.
Los Angeles Times via GettyImag

CALFIRE during the 2018 deadly campfire , Stand in one of these breaks. These firefighters were able to save the community around Sterling City and Paradise Lake. The deadliest fire in California's history killed 85 people. 

SPI's 100-year plan includes replanting harvested land with fewer trees that are larger, healthier, and more fire resistant. 

"They are bigger, faster, more resistant to disease and pests, and more susceptible to wildfires," Howell said economically. However, he mentioned future fire mitigation efforts. Lumber from sustainable forests. 

Depending on the type of tree, SPI forests grow for 60-80 years. The crew harvests trees on average 17 acres of parcels. Replant the seedlings in 1 to 2 years. It keeps most of the forest open for recreation.