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Redwood Forest Foundation

Fall 2014 Newsletter

Lodge Lightning Complex Wildfire
Dry Lightning Ignites Wildfire on Usal Redwood Forest
by Peter Ribar

Campbell Global logo

On July 30, 2014, a lightning storm caused a wildfire to burn on BLM property in the general vicinity of the southeast corner of the USAL Redwood Forest Company ("URFC") property. From the point of origination, the wildfire progressed and spread north and east toward URFC's property.

Lodge Fire Perimeter
click to enlarge

Campbell Global ("CG"), URFC's property manager, received notification from CAL FIRE on August 3, 2014, that construction of firebreaks was about to commence on URFC's property, with the principal firebreak to run down a ridge separating Little Low Gap and Low Gap Creeks (see fire perimeter map above).

Lodge Fire: Acres Burned
click to enlarge

A few days later, on August 6, 2014, CG received notice from CAL FIRE that they were starting backfiring operations from these firebreaks as a principal line of control. This backfiring gave rise to an understory burn / ground fire on an estimated 318 acres of URFC property (see topographic map, above, and photos 318, 320, 326, 335, and 336, below).

Lodge Fire
Understory burn area.

Lodge Fire
Understory burn area.

Lodge Fire
Looking from west to the east across Low Gap Creek just upstream
of the junction with Little Low Gap Creek. Note variable intensity burning.
The north-south property line common to URFC and BLM
is located about 300 feet upslope of the large slide.

Lodge Fire
Looking from west to east across the lower portion of Low Gap Creek.
This area is probably not on URFC property, but trying to show sporadic burning.

Lodge Fire
Looking from west to east across the lower portion of Low Gap Creek.
This area is probably not on URFC property, but trying to show sporadic burning.


The result of these backfires was the removal of downed woody material, duff, and small-diameter hardwoods and conifers. A hotter and more intense burn extended into the canopy on approximately 63 acres of the separate 196-acre URFC parcel (see photos 354, 356, 361, and 362, below). This was an area that had been predominately brush-raked and planted with Monterey Pine and two hybridized Bishop Pine types in 1980.

Lodge Fire
Higher intensity burning in the southern portion of the separate 196 acre URFC parcel.

Lodge Fire
Higher intensity burning in the southern portion of the separate 196 acre URFC parcel.

Lodge Fire
Higher intensity burning in the southern portion of the separate 196 acre URFC parcel.

Lodge Fire
Higher intensity burning in the southern portion of the separate 196 acre URFC parcel.


As the wildfire burned north between August 15-20, 2014, approximately 56 acres of URFC property on the east side of Low Gap Creek burned with varying intensity. Of particular note in this area is an isolated patch of old-growth trees that will likely survive the intensity of the burn that occurred.

And lastly, there were a couple of small spot fires that occurred and were controlled on URFC property west of Low Gap Creek (where about 20 acres burned intermittently). In total, the wildfire and associated control operation burned approximately 457 acres of URFC property.

On August 20, 2014, CAL FIRE's website declared the fire at 12,535 acres and 95% contained. Demobilization of equipment and personnel from the fire occurred around August 15, 2014. On approximately August 18, 2014, winterization of firebreaks and roads commenced and was completed before August 27, 2014 on URFC property.

CG personnel were on the property on a daily basis functioning in a liaison role with CAL FIRE personnel during the fire control operations in order to minimize damage to client assets. CG personnel also attended a number of the daily fire briefings in order to provide management with ongoing fire updates. Additionally, CG personnel evaluated the erosion control work conducted on URFC, and determined the work was adequately done to minimize erosion.

Lodge Fire: Proposed Planting Area
click to enlarge

In early September 2014, the CG silviculturist evaluated the area that experienced the hottest burn on URFC's property. We estimate that about 46 acres of the most severely burned area would benefit from reforestation activities (see proposed planting area map, above). If authorized by the Redwood Forest Foundation, owner of URFC, CG will facilitate reforestation efforts during December 2014 following adequate rainfall.

On about September 9, 2014, the fire was officially listed as 12,536 acres, 100% contained. Campbell Global would like to express its appreciation to CAL FIRE and its employees for their dedication and outstanding work in connection with this lightning "bust" and the resultant fires. The spirit of communication and teamwork that we experienced working with them enabled us to protect URFC's timberland assets to the greatest degree possible under the circumstances.


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Fall 2014 Newsletter
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