9-12-2016 in Yellowstone

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 19:40:35 09/12/16

In Reply to: I think they got a good soaking today posted by Hoot


This Biscuit Basin YVO web cam image was taken at 7:25 p.m. (MDT) today. You can see some substantial snow remaining on the tree branches around the cam. We know Dunraven Pass was closed. I'm guessing this storm did some damage to the fires.

I've seen some of the damage in Colorado when visiting family down there in the last several years. In some areas, the beetles have totally ruined the forest, including some special places in Rocky Mountain National Park. I have some firsthand experience/knowledge of the Colorado situation, because I lived there for several decades, was a volunteer firefighter, and have tracked certain geographies very closely. We actually have some cases of beetles having killed off a forest, and if the dead trees haven't been removed via logging, firewood gathering, or controlled burns, eventually, nature delivers the knockout punch with a searing wildfire. Then, with the vegetation removed from the hillsides, the next major rain event creates canyon flooding and landslides a la California.

Funny thing, back in the late 1970s, when I lived in the Seattle suburbs, I noticed that when we got a big dump of rain in an area of the Cascade Mountains where Weyerhauser had been clearcutting huge swaths of forest, we got major river flooding, because there was nothing to help the hillsides hold the water. (I had stumbled onto a view of one very large watershed that was just short of entirely denuded of trees, while out playing with my new 4x4!) We had 2 "100 year floods" two years apart, in 1976 and 1978. Of course, Weyerhauser steadfastly denied having anything to do with the flooding, and since only the low income folks living in trailer parks down along the rivers were seriously impacted, there wasn't much of an outcry.

I'll deliberately avoid getting off into a rant about the human tendency to build homes in the wildland/urban interface, and expect the government to come protect their property when wildfires occur. Thankfully, we are starting to see pushback on committing lives and tax dollars for that mission.

I can't wait to see how the fires look via the cams tomorrow.


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