[UPDATE: Contained] Fire in Miranda

KMUD’s Terri Klemetson alerted us to a fire behind Korbly’s in Miranda which was reported around 6 a.m. The fire is assessed at less than a 1/4 acre in size burning around a large redwood tree which is ablaze. Resources are on the scene fighting the flames.

UPDATE 6:42 a.m.: Fire is estimated to be a 50×50 spot. Cleanup time will be Three to four hours.



  • A large goose pen (a hollowed out redwood tree) at least 15 feet in diameter (the park ranger said
    18 feet, I’ll measure it someday), was the fourth tree to spontaneously combust in the same small
    area of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park recently. This majestic old growth redwood tree was lucky
    that a dedicated group of fire fighters, park rangers and a park tree climber arrived at scene quickly, and with an initial attack knocked down the fire that spread to the surrounding dead redwood limbs, redwood needles and thick forest duff as well as the heavy fire that was raging from inside the tree and spreading upward through the bark and straggly limbs of the giant redwood. With a concerted effort different ideas were discussed about how to put the fire out that had spread up the exterior of the tree up to 150 feet high. A helicopter drop was ordered but we were told that it would be a few hours if we could get one at all. Next, a small smooth bore nozzle was used, but that only reached about fifty feet.
    Then, a twenty four foot ladder was deployed but that only got us another 24 feet. We had another 75 to go. The park ranger told us that a climber/faller was on his way to assess the situation. Having worked
    in the old growth woods in the 70’s, I knew that to fall this particular tree would be a major project and
    take a half a day minimum. But none of us wanted to see this forest guardian felled, although one of the fire chiefs felt that if it was a threat to more of the forest, it would have to come down. The park service climber/faller felt that “we can save the life of this tree”. Another possible option I thought we had was to
    use CAFs (Compressed Air Foam) to shoot foam (water combined with a foam solution and given an extra kick with high pressure air) further up in the tree. A firefighter ran off to get his CAFS fire engine.
    As it turned out, the compressed air foam only gained another fifteen feet. The climber was able to climb
    100 feet into smaller redwood trees on either side of the giant, and direct a garden hose (we call it a pencil line) sized stream onto the burning patches that were burrowing deep into the bark in places high up in the tree. Success! (almost). When I left at noon, most of the fire crew were still down (way down)
    with the park rangers who were setting up to spend the night monitoring the tree in case it reignited.
    a sprinkler was set up inside the hollowed out tree which was still billowing smoke.

    Bottom line: Five fire engines (with crews) were dispatched to this fire at 5:58 am. NO one had breakfast. A CAL FIRE Battalion Chief was dispatched as well as a Division Chief who showed up later.
    A park ranger, a parks climber faller were dispatched. Three cheers to the fire fighter who brought us
    breakfast burritos at 11 o’clock!!! And then there are the investigators who will try to determine how the fire was started and then there are the park employees who are spending the night babysitting the redwood. Hundreds of man/woman hours, thousand and thousands of dollars, spent on resources and the perhaps thousands of dollars that may have to be spent on an engine pump that became overheated by using maximum pressure for too long by trying to shoot CAF way high in the tree.

    It is worth it. The old tree has survived yet another round of fire and with a little luck will be standing
    there, a silent witness to all the human craziness going on all around it for hundreds of years more.

    The consensus at the scene was that the fire was human caused. Keep yer eyes open folks!!!

    All this, because there is apparently a nut job who must get his jollies by torching the woods.

    • Thank you for writing all this out. Would you consider letting me post this as a letter to the editor. Stories of people trying to do the right thing always make me proud.

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