Repeat Photography: Osbornes Project on National Parks Completed

Crater_Lake_1933-10

Here is a link I just received to a wonderful repeat photography project using Osborne photographs on our National Parks: http://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/panoramic-lookout-photographs.cfm

This website was completed as part of a Masters degree from Quinnipiac University by Tina Boehle, whom some of you might know from her work as information officer on the Sour Biscuit Fire — which became part of the Biscuit — with a Type II incident management team. She is currently a Communication and Education Specialist, Division of Fire and Aviation, with the National Park Service in Boise, Idaho.

This is one of the particular methods (and datasets) that Larry, John Marker, others, and I are proposing to use in our study of the 2013 Biscuit Complex and Rim Fires, and, in this instance, particularly within Yosemite and the Stanislaus NF: http://forestpolicypub.com/2013/12/07/douglas-complex-rim-fire-paired-wildfire-economics-study-proposal/

This is an excellent tool for studying wildfire events and results over time. For those of you with an interest in this method that is not restricted to National Parks — but is restricted to western Oregon — here is a related repeat photography project I have been working on from time-to-time over the past few years that also uses Osborne photographs as a beginning dataset: http://www.orww.org/Osbornes_Project/

3 Comments

  1. Yes, interesting pictures, seems like it was really dry in Pacific NW during the 30’s.
    We have a wildfire here this morning, in Coos County, Oregon.
    It has been really dry and a East wind came up night before last and started up a slash fire from November or December. Strange weather this winter in the NW. Its putting out lots of smoke this morning so must be growing. Who would of thought the forest in Western Oregon would burn this time of year.

    • Hi Bob: Winter burns used to be common along the Oregon coast whenever extended periods of dry east winds took place — following a couple of killing winter frosts. The Indians used to burn bracken fern prairies under these conditions in order to harvest roots, and then “fiddleheads” when the ferns began sprouting in the spring. These taste and have a similar texture very much like fresh asparagus and can be eaten raw, or prepared accordingly. I’m guessing they might have a similar nutritional value.

      Following white settlement and up until the late 1930s, most rural people had livestock and needed pasturage. So people, called “fern burners,” continued setting fire to the old Indian brakes and prairies in order to improve winter and spring pasturage: anyone who has walked through a 6-foot or higher solid patch of bracken fern in a heavy rain knows how this works; bad enough to walk through sopping wet 3-foot brakes after the killing frosts. Scalping through the roots to plant trees can also get very tiresome after a while.

      Sometimes the fern burner’s fires got away and entered the adjacent forests or burns; the last major fire of this nature was in February (I think) 1951, beginning the final year of the “6-Year Jinx” Tillamook Fires from 1933-1951. In order to limit these types of problems, the Keep Oregon Green organization was formed in the late 1930’s and/or early 1940’s to fight the Fern Burners at this time of year, and under these types of conditions. Because of the danger of forest fires. And they’ve been almost completely successful to date, due in large part to people shifting to automobiles and moving to town instead of raising needed livestock:

      http://www.wildfire-economics.org/Vegetation/Illustrations/Fern_Burners_Lepere_1908.jpg

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