Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

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Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line
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Update by edhat staff
5:00 p.m., November 12, 2019

Prescribed burn near Los Alamos jumped containment lines and burned an additional 10-20 acres on Tuesday. 

The three-day 557 acres prescribed burn started on the BarM Ranch south of Los Alamos around 8:00 a.m. Close to 5:00 p.m., the Santa Barbara County Fire Department reported the fire went beyond the containment lines.

Air tankers have been brought in to assist and it's unclear if the firefighters have regained control of the area outside the containment line.


Source: Air Pollution Control District
November 11, 2019

WHAT: Prescribed burn of approximately 557 acres of Oak Woodland, Chaparral and Sage Scrub

WHEN: Tuesday, November 12, Wednesday, November 13, and Thursday, November 14. Burning will occur on three consecutive days as conditions allow; each day, the burning will begin at approximately 8 a.m. and conclude by 6 p.m. on a permissive burn day.

WHERE: Bar M (also known as Barham) Ranch, approximately four miles southeast of Los Alamos along Highway 101. 

WHY: The goal of this three-day burn is to reduce the risk of wildfire by removing old growth flammable vegetation while helping to improve rangeland. Prescribed, or planned, fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires. The burn will be conducted when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers. 

WHO: This vegetation management prescribed burn is being planned and conducted by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department & Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control on private land in coordination with the California Air Resources Board in order to minimize impacts on air quality on surrounding communities. APCD staff have reviewed the Smoke Management Plan and provided conditions to minimize smoke impacts in Santa Barbara County.

HEALTH PRECAUTIONS: If you smell smoke, take precautions and use common sense to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities. When you can smell smoke or when it is visible in your area, avoid strenuous outdoor activity and remain indoors as much as possible. These precautions are especially important to children, older adults, and those with heart and lung conditions. If you are sensitive to smoke, consider temporarily relocating and closing all doors and windows on the day of the burn. Symptoms of smoke exposure can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest tightness or pain, nausea, and unusual fatigue or lightheadedness. Use caution when driving near prescribed burns. 

A portable air monitor will be set up in Los Olivos to monitor air quality conditions. Data will be available on the Air Pollution Control District’s website: www.OurAir.org/todays-air-quality/

To view prescribed burns throughout the state, visit the Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS) website: https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/pfirs/.

This burn depends on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If the conditions are not as desired, the burn will be rescheduled.

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SBZZ Nov 13, 2019 09:26 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Shasta - 1491 does sound interesting and I will check it out but your following statement is an oxymoron - "Halting regular burning not only upset the natural balance here in California, but also in every location in NA." What is natural about Native Americans setting fires to the countryside? They did it to manipulate their environment! Ending these man-caused fires allowed the environment to revert back to a more natural state. Sounds like you are just trying to justify promoting controlled burns.

Shasta Guy Nov 13, 2019 05:37 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

SBZZ it’s a very enlightening book. Pick it up at Chaucer’s, or at least order it through them. For most locations in North America fire shaped the landscape for Millenia. The combination of lightning fires that can’t be extinguished until winter and fires caused by the natives ensured substantial burning every year. The first change was the unfortunate loss of the native population by disease which stopped the annual man made burning. The second change was the aggressive fire suppression starting about 100 years ago. Were it not for aggressive fire suppression, the mountains of Northern California would burn every year due to lightning strikes alone.

a-1576226129 Nov 13, 2019 08:42 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Professional Arsonists? Paid FireBugs? Ooops, we burned your house, it was controlled until it wasn't. When are they going to learn what our mothers always said, don't play with fire...

a-1576226129 Nov 13, 2019 07:52 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Reflective tape: animal cages and their water/food bowls (and on collars), your to-go bag and paper map, fire extinguisher, wall outlets - to unplug - to prevent surges when power is turned back on, anything in driveway you want to avoid hitting if you evacuate in thick smoke and are scared (other cars, mailbox, garbage cans). A piece of reflective tape on your driveway will help you find your house at night (if power is turned off or you have no street lights). If you are counting on personal protection, a piece of reflective tape will help you locate it. Your purse. Your wallet.

a-1576226129 Nov 13, 2019 07:40 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

More cow bells? No...more self-home protection. Reflective tape really comes in handy. You can put a patch of it on all your children’s shoes and they’ll glow in the dark. Wrap it around a screwdriver handle or anything at all, and it really helps you find things dropped in the dark, use reflective tape during weather-related power outages and thick smoke. Firefighters use it on the handles of their tools, for seeing the tools in thick smoke, and it helps prevent losing fire tools or equipment at night. There are various colors of tape and you can color code (1) charger cords and phones, laptops (2) handle on garage door (3) garden hose (4) mark sidewalk from front door to driveway (5) mark battery powered push button lights (6) flashlight if you drop it in the dark or smoke (7) door handles (8) car door handle. (9) beds, cribs (10) car key.

a-1576226129 Nov 12, 2019 10:24 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Great. Controlled burn out of control. Is there anything more shameful than this deliberate pollution of our air?

Shasta Guy Nov 12, 2019 09:25 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

A fascinating read is “1491” which is an attempt to reconstruct indigenous life in North America prior to to the arrival of the Europeans. One of the contentions of the book is that the entire continent was basically set alight every year. Halting regular burning not only upset the natural balance here in California, but also in every location in NA. The first paintings of Yosemite Valley show it occupied by oaks, but after more than a century of fire suppression conifers are now the dominant type of tree.

a-1576226129 Nov 12, 2019 06:14 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Fire became uncontrolled this afternoon as it jumped containment lines, they had to bring air tankers in. Who is paying the bill for the airdrops, they are very costly. Yep, you guessed it, the tax payers. Is it very smart to have a “controlled” burn in the middle of high fire season? Leave it to the fire department to have such a brilliant plan.

jqb Nov 13, 2019 03:02 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

"or at least pay the extra costs out of their own budget" -- the cost for those air tanker drops does come out of their own budget … which is paid by taxpayers one way or the other. Controlled burns that jump lines are still vastly better, and cheaper, than uncontrolled massive conflagrations. I won't waste any more of either of our time arguing against such an obviously absurd and poorly argued position. If you think that firefighters are paid more than the work and risks merit, feel free to apply for a job.

Chip of SB Nov 13, 2019 01:41 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Agree with you 100% on that JQB. I have a lot of confidence in the firefighters. The bottom line is overgrown land will burn whether we like it or not. I believe it is better to burn it under favorable conditions with firefighters preparing for and monitoring the process from start to finish. I also believe that burning land more often will result in less destructive fires. Instead of creating a scorched earth WWI battlefield, fires could clean up overgrowth and dead foliage and leave a healthier surviving forest behind.

PitMix Nov 13, 2019 11:29 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Be nice if the professionals could figure out a way to do controlled burns with no chance of jumping containment, or at least pay the extra costs out of their own budget. With the current situation, there is no accountability for their mistakes. Have you looked at their salary and benefit costs lately?

jqb Nov 13, 2019 10:32 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

And that's your evidence that anonymous people taking pot shots at fire departments know better than fire departments? You're better than that. And you can always find mistakes made in any profession … I didn't claim otherwise. What I *did* say is not touched by your anecdote, let alone "all the evidence".

PitMix Nov 13, 2019 08:09 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Job, all evidence to the contrary, right? I remember in San Diego the fire dept burned some Xmas trees to show how flammable they were, and that fire went out of control and burned 1500 acres. Professionalism at work.

jqb Nov 13, 2019 12:10 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

I do believe that the fire department understands these things far better than people anonymously taking pot shots at them.

Chip of SB Nov 12, 2019 01:41 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

I found the paper at the link below which gives some interesting historical context. In the pre-industrial era, nearly 150 million acres of forest burned annually in the conterminous US. That is on the order of 10% of the total forested area at that time, which was something like 1 billion acres according to Wikipedia. Today, only about 10 million acres burn every year. Fire is a natural process that we have suppressed for generations. We have a long way to go to restore the natural balance between fire and growth, and our forests are severely overgrown as a result. I think that controlled burns will play a crucial role in restoring and maintaining a healthy balance in the future. However, the 557 acre burn at issue here is a drop in the bucket. Santa Barbara county alone encompasses around 1.75 million acres of land. How much of that would have burned naturally every year in the pre-industrial era? https://www.nifc.gov/PIO_bb/Policy/FederalWildlandFireManagementPolicy_2001.pdf

a-1576226129 Nov 12, 2019 10:19 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

In the pre-industrial era I betcha there was a heck of a lot more forest than there is now, dontcha think? Duh.

jqb Nov 12, 2019 03:44 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Forest land is not evenly distributed across the U.S. You can't use these numbers to make conclusions about heavily populated areas.

Chip of SB Nov 12, 2019 03:11 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

There is less forested land now than there used to be. Today over 800 million acres are forested, and that has been increasing in recent years. That is about 20% less than the forested area before the arrival of Europeans in North America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forests_of_the_United_States If we reduced the annual acres burned by the same 20%, we would still have well over 100 million acres burned per year.

jqb Nov 12, 2019 02:30 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

"That is on the order of 10% of the total forested area at that time, which was something like 1 billion acres according to Wikipedia. Today, only about 10 million acres burn every year. " -- But much less is forested. "Santa Barbara county alone encompasses around 1.75 million acres of land. How much of that would have burned naturally every year in the pre-industrial era? " -- Not a meaningful question because there's far more cleared land now.

macpuzl Nov 12, 2019 12:24 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Trees burn and are burned much faster than they grow, however, so burning increases the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Above a certain level of CO2, plants do not benefit, but instead grow more slowly.

jqb Nov 13, 2019 02:48 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Here is a discussion of the paper you cited that provides some important context: https://massivesci.com/articles/plants-trees-carbon-dioxide-storage-climate/ ".... With excess carbon dioxide, fertilization allows plants to take up more carbon each year. But the margins of these increases are growing ever slimmer without extra amounts of all of the other things plants need to grow, like nutrients and water....As plants reach their limit to take up more carbon dioxide, other variables will run the carbon storage show: carbon dioxide will likely affect the planet going forward mostly by warming it rather than by greening it..." and it comes back around to your erroneous claim about burning being carbon neutral: "Longer growing seasons caused by warming can increase carbon uptake while warming-induced drought can significantly curtail it. Intense fires can liberate huge amounts of carbon dioxide from trees very quickly, which take much longer to build back up." and finally, "All of this underscores what decades of climate research indicates: we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote carbon storage so that we don’t have to learn about warming’s unpredictable and destructive effects firsthand."

jqb Nov 13, 2019 02:33 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

P.S. You should read the Advanced tab, not just the Basic page that MacPuzl linked to (if you even read that in full): "In the climate change debate, it appears to be agreed by everyone that excess CO2 will at least have the direct benefit of increasing photosynthesis, and subsequently growth rate and yield, in virtually any plant species: A common remark is that industrial greenhouse owners will raise CO2 levels far higher than normal in order to increase the yield of their crops, so therefore increasing atmospheric levels should show similar benefits. Unfortunately, a review of the literature shows that this belief is a drastic oversimplification of a topic of study that has rapidly evolved in recent years...."

jqb Nov 13, 2019 02:17 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

The articles at skepticalscience.com are 100% science, written by climate scientists--show how anything they have written is erroneous. Even your cherry picked article, which does not in any way contradict the skeptical science article, says "While rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the air can be beneficial for plants, it is also the chief culprit of climate change. The gas, which traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere, has been increasing since the industrial age due to the burning of oil, gas, coal and wood for energy and is continuing to reach concentrations not seen in at least 500,000 years. The impacts of climate change include global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and sea ice as well as more severe weather events." and, in direct agreement with MaxPuzl, "The beneficial impacts of carbon dioxide on plants may also be limited, said co-author Dr. Philippe Ciais, associate director of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, Gif-suv-Yvette, France. “Studies have shown that plants acclimatize, or adjust, to rising carbon dioxide concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.”"

Chip of SB Nov 13, 2019 01:27 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

I have to say, I am a bit skeptical of "skepticalscience.com" Below is a link to NASA's website which describes a paper about the recent greening of the earth. "An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States." And this conclusion regarding CO2: "Results showed that carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect, said co-author Ranga Myneni, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. " https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

macpuzl Nov 13, 2019 12:40 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Climate myth #43 - "CO2 is plant food" ======================================================================== https://skepticalscience.com/co2-plant-food.htm

Shasta Guy Nov 13, 2019 06:48 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

One option for greenhouse growers is to increase growth rate and yield of plants by artificially raising the CO2 concentration as high as 1000ppm in the greenhouse. I think the CO2 growth enhancement starts tailing off above 1500ppm based on what I’ve read. It would be great if some of the greenhouse growers in the area could chime in.

jqb Nov 12, 2019 01:21 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Indeed. The notion that burning trees is "carbon neutral" is ludicrous, since it releases carbon into the atmosphere where it has a half-life of 100 years. Thus the burning of trees in the Amazon has severe consequences for global warming. But release of carbon from burning trees is not a reason not to have controlled burns, when those burns help prevent much larger and hotter uncontrolled fires.

a-1576226129 Nov 12, 2019 11:02 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Finally. The Native Americans who lived in Yosemite did controlled burns, they were smarter than we are with all our so called "edumacation" and technological savvy. We need to put these environmental nazis in their place, as their pushiness has significantly impacted us in a very negative way.

jqb Nov 12, 2019 01:41 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

It's not either/or, zenyadda. "Decreasing the risk of larger scale, catastrophic fires which consume decades of built up fuel" is one of the reasons listed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_use_of_fire_in_ecosystems

jqb Nov 12, 2019 01:10 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Lack of education results in false beliefs, like being mistaken about where opposition to controlled burns comes from (it's not environmentalists), a general misunderstanding of environmentalists and environmentalism, the stance of Native Americans (they are on the forefront of the environmental movement), mistaken ideas about how smart "we" are, the exclusion and separation of Native Americans from "we", the current state of our technological savvy (controlled burns are a regular occurrence in Yosemite because we smart educated folk learned from the practices of Native Americans, among other sources), etc. Anyone who frowns on technological savvy should turn off their smart phone, cancel their streaming services, stay off the internet, ditch their car, and give up all the other things they use that are the result of smart educated savvy technologists and go live in the woods off their own wits. (One could say that they need to be put in their place.)

a-1576226129 Nov 12, 2019 12:54 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

11:02 The Native Americans in Yosemite did not set controlled burns for wildfire mitigation. The used it in farming. They did it to propagate plants like Milkweed & bunch grass ( which is highly flammable) which they used as sources of food. Fire also encouraged more acorn production from the oak woodland

a-1576226129 Nov 12, 2019 12:31 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

11:02 - Not sure "environmental nazis" (a stupid thing to say, either way) are against controlled burns, but way to politicize yet another non-political thing!

Chip of SB Nov 12, 2019 10:04 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Concerned4Calif, I believe fires are 100% carbon neutral. When plants grow, they absorb CO2 from the air and turn it into wood. The higher the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the faster the plants grow. The sun provides the power to transform the CO2 into wood, and a significant amount of energy is stored in the wood. When a plant dies, all the carbon it absorbed and turned into wood is released again. Whether the plant rots, gets eaten, or burns, it releases the same amount of CO2 that it absorbed. When a forest reaches a steady state of equilibrium between new growth and decomposition it will release CO2 at the same rate that it absorbs CO2. Carbon is not created or destroyed, it just changes forms.

jqb Nov 13, 2019 03:25 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

BTW, if burning trees were carbon neutral, then so would burning fossil fuels, since the carbon in fossil fuels also got there via photosynthesis (https://www.geochemsoc.org/files/6214/1261/1770/SP-2_271-284_Sato.pdf). Of course this is nonsense, because burning trees or fossil fuels adds carbon to the atmosphere, which by definition is not carbon neutral--a term which refers to offsetting added CO2 by reducing it some way. Of course you can offset it by planting some number of trees (it takes far more than one for each one burned, since trees grow far more slowly than they burn), but the planting decades or centuries earlier of the tree you just burned doesn't offset the CO2 released by burning it ... that's a radical failure of basic logic and science.

jqb Nov 12, 2019 11:59 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

"When a forest reaches a steady state of equilibrium between new growth and decomposition it will release CO2 at the same rate that it absorbs CO2." -- Um, sure, so when there's a fire that obviously throws it wildly out of equilibrium, completely contradicting the claim that fires are carbon neutral. "Carbon is not created or destroyed, it just changes forms." -- Um, yes, it changes from being sequestered in the trees' cells to being part of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere that slow the escape of infrared radiation from the surface of the earth, resulting in global warming. "carbon neutral" OF COURSE doesn't refer to the net sum of carbon on earth staying the same, it OF COURSE refers to amount of CO2 in the atmosphere staying the same. So burning trees is BLATANTLY OBVIOUSLY not carbon neutral.

jqb Nov 12, 2019 11:50 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

But it takes a certain amount of intelligence to comprehend why that disparity between the input rate and the output rate makes it not-neutral. Remember that deniers don't understand the basic science of global warming--that when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reach a certain point (which we are well beyond), the rate of escape of energy from the atmosphere is slower than the rate of influx from the sun, resulting in a net increase in temperature over time.

macpuzl Nov 12, 2019 09:51 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

I think a simple thought experiment will illustrate the absurdity of the denier talking points here: How long does it take a tree to grow to 30 feet in height? How long does it take the same tree to burn to the ground?

jqb Nov 12, 2019 09:22 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Since it takes much longer to pull down the CO2 than to release it, and when released it has an atmospheric half-life of 100 years, there's nothing remotely neutral about it. But this is consistent with all those other completely incorrect posts about climate science and denial of the scientific facts of anthrogenic global warming. P.S. If you go on one of Robert's hikes, be sure to let him know who you are … that should be interesting.

Shasta Guy Nov 12, 2019 09:16 PM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

Photosynthesis 101: CO2 from the air becomes carbohydrates in the plant tissues and when the plant tissues are combusted it returns to air as CO2. It doesn’t get more neutral than that.

Concerned4Calif Nov 12, 2019 08:33 AM
Prescribed Burn Jumps Containment Line

I always wonder about how these burns and even wildfires contribute to carbon load in the atmosphere. Is one burn more pollution than all the cars in California for a year?

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