Foxfire Today Foxfire Today 3rd Edition - Page 61

saw an increase in the amount of fires and larger fires that occurred compared to other places within the Region. Fall 2016 Wild- fire Season pretty favorable, as far as long term effects go. The Rock Mountain Fire, which was our largest fire, ended up having a low to moderate severity burn. When it comes to the soil damage that occurred, (it) was pretty minimalistic. We’re seeing some immediate effects, such as tree mortality. (How- ever ,) I think given the moisture pattern and some of the impacts we had to the root systems, we’ll probably be seeing an additional amount of mortality over the next few years. I think it will be fairly minimal (in) comparison to some of the other fires that occurred in the region. When you’re trying to figure out the cause, you’re looking at what could have started it and where it may have started from. When we go to an initial attack, we’re usually the first on scene. We look at where the fire is at and its relationship to the slope to help us identify where it may have started. It could be right off of a road and we start looking for the potential origin, which is what we call the starting point of the fire. We identify where it might be and we try to isolate and protect that area for law enforcement to come in and do their investigation. As far as the causes, those (could be) la- beled under two potential categories-lightning-caused and human-caused. Human-caused can be any escaped debris pile, abandoned campfire or an arsonist to name a few. The majority of our starts were human-caused. Some were escaped debris piles and others labeled undetermined. On the Chattooga River, all the fires were human-caused. The only light- ning caused fire on the forest oc- curred on the west side of the state. The amount of fires and the magnitude of the fires was definitely a challenge... We actually have nine regions total when you include Alaska, but we fall under Region Eight. There were still some occasional incidents that (oc- curred) out west, but for the most part, all activity in November of 2016 was isolated to the southeast- ern portion of the United States in Region Eight. As far as within the region, every state from Virginia all the way down to Florida, and west to Texas, had their fair share of initial attack fires. I think some forests, especially in the Southern Appalachians, We saw the potential for increased fire danger by mid-summer, watch- ing our weather patterns and our drought indexes. We knew that we were going to be busy by that time of year. How large the fires were go- ing to get was still to be determined. (The fires) started off on the north- west side of the state and then we started to see an increase in starts and larger fires on state land. By November, we started to see an increase in initial attacks and also to the size (of the fires) we’re getting locally on the district. Given the activity during 61