Full Chisel Blog

December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:04 am

I hope everyone had a Happy Solstice, a perfect time for an all night party, being the longest night of the year.  It is now officially Winter as the sun enters Capricorn and is as far south as it will be for the season.  Of course it is summer time in the southern hemisphere.

Back in Reno, the trip over the Sierra’s yesterday was interesting, with road controls there was a bit of a backup at the chain up areas.  Once on the leeward side of the mountains and in the rain/snow shadow, the weather was much better.

Scars from the forest fires that have burned along the interstate was evident in the snow, when you could see the mountains.  These fires have been increasing in intensity ever since that Bear survived that fire in Arizona I believe and became a beloved icon of fire prevention.

While the road to hell is paved with good intentions, this was a really, really bad idea.  Without seasonal fires, undergrowth and dead fall that were periodically removed by those fires, are now allowed to build up until they burn with catastrophic results.  Also the ash from fires neutralizes acid rain and the fires prevent infestations such as the pine needle borer (The Red Death) that is destroying thousands if not millions of evergreen trees.

Unfortunately with this stupid approach we have created a tinderbox and ecological disaster that is going to difficult to rectify.  Without massive cleanup of the underbrush and dead-fall and adopting a policy of ‘let it burn’ we will continue down this path until we don’t have any more trees.

And when we don’t have any more trees, we don’t have any more oxygen, we don’t have any more worries.  I do apologize for bringing this up during this festive time of the year but with the Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes around it did get me thinking about this condition.



  1. Stephen,
    Here’s information on that bear.

    Completed in 1979, the Park was established to honor Capitan’s favorite son Smokey, the little bear cub that was found with burned paws after a 17,000 acre forest fire in 1950 on the Capitan Mountains near Capitan, New Mexico. After living in the National Zoo in Washington D.C. for 26 years, Smokey passed away and was returned to the Village of Capitan to be buried at what is now the Smokey Bear Historical Park.”


    Comment by Jack Ervin — December 22, 2008 @ 9:53 am

  2. Jack,

    Thanks for the exact information. It is one of the historic sites that I will never visit, not interested in adding that one to my list. I shouldn’t hold this personal grudge against an animal that was manipulated by humans for their stupid efforts, but the forest fire prevention thing was and is a bad idea.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — December 23, 2008 @ 8:10 am

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