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Old 07-09-08, 10:40 AM   #1
Velo Fellow
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Share the Air.....Code Purple in CA...Self-Pity.

With all the wildfires and the hot inversion layer, air quality in central CA here is wretched. Not only can I smell the air, I can taste it. Even as I sit here in the house, my nose tingles and can faintly smell smoke. Current air quality is "Very Unhealthy" for all groups....including cyclists I'm sure. Ventured out for a ride yesterday but returned early with a headache.

Stuck inside, got the trainer in from the garage and in front of the TdF early this am. But this is summer...time to build mileage, flatten hills, etc. and not return to short, foggy winter days.

Anyone else in CA intimidated by the ozone out there? Someone commented, with hyperbole I'm sure, this is alike a mini-apocalypse.
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Old 07-09-08, 11:16 AM   #2
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I remember riding in the Baldwin Hills in the mid '70s. I could taste the lead in the air. And other times, I remember riding and smelling the smoke from distant forest fires.

But I really feel for those still in California. That state is majorly hurting now.

Hope it gets better soon.
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Old 07-09-08, 11:47 AM   #3
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I was in northern Cali last September when the smaller run of fires was on. Smoke in the air was almost a constant companion.

What shocked me was the amount of deadfall on the ground. I commented on it to one of the locals and they said they knew that it's like tinder but the EPA and lobby groups had mandated against the clearing of the deadfalls in favour of a more natural environment.

Now that's all fine and dandy but it flies against the use of common sense to just leave ALL of it out there. Even if there were alleys of deadfall clearing these alleys would act as firebreaks to some extent and make it easier to contain and limit a fire when it did start.

The locals agreed that this made sense but there's not much common sense in the world these days.... The odd thing is that it's likely the city living Sierra group types that lobbyed for a "natural" setting and against clearing the deadfall at all but these very folks are the least likely to be faced with losing a house or even major parts of the smaller towns that live IN the forests.

Anyway, enough ranting. The best of luck to all that live in the endangered areas.
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Old 07-09-08, 12:01 PM   #4
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The deadfall types mentioned above do not dread forest fires....after all, they're a natural part of the natural cycle of things and therefore reverenced. C'mon, they seem to say, think in big picture terms of the grand cycle of the earth's eternal rhythms--- your piddling lifetime and little homestead are like a mite living on the belly of a tick. IOW, reverence the deadfall and rejoice in your sacrifice.
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Old 07-09-08, 03:26 PM   #5
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The deadfall types mentioned above do not spread forest fires....after all, they're a natural part of the natural cycle of things and therefore reverenced.
Yes, in this case, started by lightning as most of the Northern California fires are, they are an unfortunate, yet integral part of the natural cycle.
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Old 07-09-08, 03:39 PM   #6
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IOW, reverence the deadfall and rejoice in your sacrifice.
What kind of pot-smoking, New Age crap is that? Fuel loads in the forests are at all-time highs due to a number of factors; and lack of clean-up of dead-and-down and quashing salvage-logging operations only adds to that.

I fight wildfires all summer and I would just as soon they weren't part of my "natural cycle."
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Old 07-09-08, 03:54 PM   #7
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dMinor,
Guess my undercurrent of irony in that "reverencing" statement wasn't strong enough.......I agree that it may be nature's cycle, but screew it-- so is aging and most of us here do our best to extend our life by intervening with hardwon fitness, not bow down to what's "natural".
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Old 07-09-08, 04:03 PM   #8
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There were terrible fires around here in 1998, and there regularly are wildfires in the spring in sunny Florida. They've gotten pretty good with the controlled burns throughout the rest of the year to cut down the undergrowth. When there is a rare hard freeze here during the winter, a lot of underbrush dies resulting is a lot of dry brown tinder for the dry season in the spring. I am pretty impressed with the competence of those who do the controlled burns.

I remember how one minute the smoke would be chokingly thick, and a few seconds later it would be clear when the wind changed. The planes they use for fighting the fires are impressive to watch closeup as well.
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Old 07-09-08, 04:08 PM   #9
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dMinor,
Guess my undercurrent of irony in that "reverencing" statement wasn't strong enough.......I agree that it may be nature's cycle, but screew it-- so is aging and most of us here do our best to extend our life by intervening with hardwon fitness, not bow down to what's "natural".
Oops! My irony meter was on the fritz. Too much head-down grubbing in the smoke with my combi-tool I guess

It is noteable that decades of fire suppression have contributed to fuel loads; but that isn't the all of it for sure. Sorry for jumping you on it, VF - - just a bit touchy this time of year.
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Old 07-09-08, 04:29 PM   #10
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No problem, dMinor-- you've still got a long season ahead or you...best wishes for it.
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Old 07-09-08, 06:02 PM   #11
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The first week it was so smoky, I didn't ride for 6 days. I didn't do anything that required much physical exertion. Breathing particulate matter and smelling like a campfire has no appeal to me.

The wind switched around on Sunday and brought back the smoke. It isn't quite as bad as it was 2 weeks ago, but with the high temperatures and windlessness it feels worse. I rode early in the morning on Mon. and today and feel okay. The PM effects are cumulative, I think, and that's a concern.

I feel for those in the paths of the fires. How frightened and helpless they must feel. Sure wish we'd get some rain...
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Old 07-09-08, 06:23 PM   #12
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I saw a lot of the fire guys and chatted over a beer with 3 of them at one place I stayed. You guys don't get paid well enough for what you do and the hours you put in dminor. I doff my riding helmet to you with respect.
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Old 07-09-08, 06:35 PM   #13
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My group had cancelled a couple of rides because of the smoke (I live in Lincoln, north of Sacramento). Three of us could stand it no more and left at 7:00 this morning. Did 50 miles and were home before 10:30. Felt good. Smoke wasn't too bad. Heat wasn't bad either. Then it got very apocalyptic and hot (108).
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Old 07-09-08, 08:56 PM   #14
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Congratulate Greenpeace and the Sierra Club for the extensive burning of America's forests. They won the court battle stopping any cutting of trees on Federal and State lands. By cutting approximately every 3rd tree, forests will be healthier, fuller and less susceptible to unstoppable forest fires. Since the foresting of public lands has been prohibited, we burn 10 times the natural forestland every quarter than we used to burn in a year. Another great idea gone bad.
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Old 07-10-08, 12:09 AM   #15
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You guys don't get paid well enough for what you do and the hours you put in dminor. I doff my riding helmet to you with respect.
Especially when we're volunteers (which is what I am) . But thank you. This May marked 25th year on my volunteer F.D. I've worn every hat from recruit to EMT to station Captain and I'm content now to just be a grunt on the fire line. I'll stay with it another 5 years at least as long as they let me just come back to get my red card and work wildfire seasons.
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