A Fire-Scape_Hanna Prinssen

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A FIRE-SCAPE

A new form of a fire resilient landscape

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A FIRE-SCAPE

A new form of a fire resilient landscape Hanna Prinssen Committee Yttje Feddes - Joyce van den Berg - Gert-Jan Wisse Master of Landscape Architecture Academy of Architecture Amsterdam 29-06-2020

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PREFACE This project is a start of research and design in landscape architecture for the topic of fire. For me this started 2 years ago, when I was travelling through the West states of America. During our visit to Yosemite National Park, the Ferguson fire was burning and made us not enter the famous valley. It effected our trip and not only the fire, but the smoke followed us for a couple of days. It made me realize the big impact that a fire has on a huge amount of land. The question rose, what can I bring to this topic being a student landscape architecture? In the next year’s big catastrophic wildfires happened and it was all over the news. In the autumn of 2018 in California (Camp fire) then the Amazon in 2019 and this winter in Australia. It even happens more often in the Netherlands. Climate change is one of the main drivers behind this new extreme force. Less water means drier, more combustible vegetation. Add to that record-breaking heat waves, and you’ve got even drier fuels. These together are perfect conditions for big uncontrollable fires to happen, that destroy homes, forests and ecosystems. In the past fire was part of the ecosystem, it played an important role in the succession of forests. Big parts of forests burned down, creating open spaces that gave opportunities for younger forests to grow. But today we started living in the so called ‘wild land urban interface’ defined as areas where homes are built near or among lands prone to wildland fire. This means that is has become a threat to our living and has become a ‘hot topic’ in the news.

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Burned relicts - Yosemite National Park 6


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San Francisco

Los Angeles

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CALIFORNIA DREAMING The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire season on record in California, with a total of 8.500 fires burning an area of 750.000 ha, the largest area of burned acreage recorded in a fire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL Fire). California is very vulnerable to wildfires because of the Mediterranean climate with extreme heat and drought in the summer and mild temperatures with rain in winters. This creates perfect conditions for trees to grow that become fuel to fires in the summer. Studies say that the drought in California will increase because of the melting of the Arctic ice, this makes the Californian landscape even more vulnerable to fires. The weather circumstances (climate change) and the fact that former wild land areas are being built with houses increases the risks of damage of wildfires. This makes the ‘wild land urban interface’ the most interesting area to design in. Here fire and human meet and need to find a way to live together. This project will focus in design and research on an area like that on the west foothill of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.

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Burned landscape - Rim fire 2013 10


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INDEX PREFACE 1. A FIRE HISTORY 14-19

2. A FIRE TOOLBOX 22-31

3. PROJECT LOCATION 34-49

4. A FIRE START 50-63

5. A FIRE PLAN 64-75

6. MI-WUK VILLAGE 76-93

7. GROVELAND 94-115

EPILOGUE

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1. A FIRE HISTORY

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PREHISTORIC TIMES In prehistoric times fires in the landscape where caused by ignition of lighting and where part of the natural system of the forests. We humans lived in small groups in these landscapes and learned to control fire for our own needs; protection, warmth, cooking and developing of social rules.

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NATIVE AMERICANS In the developing of our own (fire)skills, the Native Americans started to use fire as part of the collection of food. They started controlled burns to open the forests for hunting and creating light for the growth of the Oak trees from which they ate the Acorn. By this way of setting fires they created a managed landscape that was diverse and a fire-adapted ecosystem.

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GOLDRUSH Around 1800 the English Colonists pushed the Native Americans out of the landscape and started to own the land, building houses, roads, railroads, etc. Fires where no longer wanted because of livestock, logging leases, communities, and forests in national parks that emerged in the late nineteenth and early twenties centuries. Fire policies where introduced that made sure the fires where suppressed. Not only was fire suppressed in the forest, also fire as part of daily life was changed into industrial fires.

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PRESENT DAY Around 1990 more people and industries have been moving to these foothill montane forests. These forests have had decades long policies of fire suppression in where trees took over. These overloaded forests in combination with drought of the climate change and people living in these forests that lost the connection with the natural landscape are know facing the problem of extreme wild fires.

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Burned sculptures - Camp Fire November 2018 - Paradise CA 20


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2. A FIRE TOOLBOX

To design with fire, basic knowledge is needed on the topic and its behavoir in the landscape. This toolbox generates tools that can be used in designing with fire.

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BASICS OF FIRE

The very start of knowing about fire and its behavior is explained by the two fire triangles. To start a fire, you need heat, fuel and oxygen. If you remove one of these the fire will stop. The behavior of fire is determined by the type of fuel, weather and topography. If one of these changes, the fire will change its behavior.

Fire triangle

Fire behavior triangle

TYPES OF FIRE

There are three different types of fire: CROWN FIRE High-intensity fires, dependent on either strong wind, steep terrain or a high proportion of branches/leaves in canopies.

SURFACE FIRE Spread by fuels on the ground where there is a disconnection between surface bushes and tree canopies. Often die out before they develop into crown fires

GROUND FIRE spread by smouldering combustion of leaves & needles. It can smoulder for months. These are un- predictable fires that can, when the weather changes, irrupt into a surface or crown fire. 24


MOVEMENT OF FIRE

RADIATION Spread through the heat of the fire with a max of 10m. This is can be compared with the heat of a camp fire of where you don’t want to be close.

CONVECTION Movement through connection of fuels which can be fastend if the fuel contains flammable liquids or materials.

CONDUCTION Can move a fire up to a few m to several km due to winds that move the embers through the air that ignite a fire km further.

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VEGETATION AND FIRE

VERTICAL FUEL SPACING If fuel is vertically connected from ground to crown, the fire will spread easily to an extreme crown fire

HORIZONTAL FUEL SPACING If fuel is planted or grown close to each other the fire will spread faster and more easy. If fuel is spread around with more space inbetween trees the fire will slow down

REGENARATION Gabs of burned areas are good for the regenaration of forests, they create more diveristy for flora & fauna. But if the gab becomes bigger than 10 ha the trees have trouble regenarating by seeds.

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FIRE REGIME HISTORICAL Surface fires with sometimes patches of burned trees. Seeds spread by wind created regenaration of new trees.

FIRE REGIME TODAY Because of policy lots of fuel is grown in forests. creating ladders for big crown fires. Leaving big gaps and taking a long time for seeds to arrive

BARK BEETLE Drought in the forests is changing the climate for insects to attack such as the Bark Beetle. Leaving dead dry trees in the forests that are highly flammable.

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VEGETATION TYPES GRADIENT OF PLANTING The foothills of the Sierra Nevada have a gradient in planting along the height of the mountain. Every type has its own fire regime.

CHAPARRAL Can adapt to fire, but due to fire prevention and the urban interface this vegetation type turns into extreme crown fires.

CONIFEROUS FOREST Can adapt to fire every once in a while, but these forests are changed due to fire prevention.

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TOPOGR APHY AND FIRE

SLOPE EFFECT Fire always move uphill with the fuel above the fire. Canyons often heath up and give the fire a start to move upwards. This can spead up the fire in seconds and can have a catastropic outcome, such as the Camp fire (2018) that tear up the hill.

ASPECT Topography influences the vegetation by the sun direction of the slope. North sides are more moistures and South sides more dry. This effects the behavior of the fire.

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WATER AND FIRE

WATER RESERVOIRS Used for household water, to generate energy and to put out the fires

SEASONS Water is effected by the seasons and the amount of snow/rain fell in winter. During fire season, the rivers are often drier than in spring when the glaciers are melting. This results in dry vegetation that is more prone to fire

WIND AND FIRE

WIND The behavior of fire is highly effected by winds and spreads really fast with high winds. Knowing the winddirection of the design area is crutial.

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SOIL AND FIRE

GRANITE AND OTHER SOLID ROCKS Soil is effecting the watersystem in the deeper layers. Water that is transported in the top soil creates more moist and growing conditions for trees.

BROKEN ROCKS Soil is effecting the watersystem in the deeper layers. Soils that are more porous will drain the water away from the surface. This creates dryer conditions for less trees to grow on.

EROSION Trees let the water infiltrate into the ground. If a big area is burned the water will directly touch the damaged soil and create erosion of the top layer.

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Mysterious fire landscape - Roya Ann Miller 32


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3. PROJECT LOCATION

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Sierra nevada mountains

Project location

Central Valley

San Francisco

Coastal mountain range

California coastal mountains - central valley - Sierra Nevada mountains

Sierra nevada mountains

Coastal mountain range San Francisco Pacific ocean

California section

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Central Valley

Granite Metamorphic Rock Sedimentary Rock


TUOLUMNE COUNTY

Existing houses and roads

The project location is a typical example of an area on the westside foothill zone of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Like any other area this location consists of rivers flowing in lake basins feeding the agricultural Central Valley, a gradient in trees from dense stands pine forests to more open oak grasslands and villages spread out into these forests. What makes this specific area interesting is the touristic attraction of Yosemite National Park, from which this area is the route to and lots of people are staying over around the village Groveland.

Rivers and relief

Lakes/reservoirs

Pine forests

Open grasslands with oak trees Hetch Hetchy water tunnel

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10km

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LANDSCAPE SECTION The section is showing the landscape gradient from high to low in the difference of vegetation, water system and soil. The vegetation changing from dense stands of pine trees, to a combination of pine and deciduous trees to on the lower foothill open grasslands with single oak trees. The subsurface also changes with the gradient from hard stone granite bedrock that was formed with the movement of the earth’s crust and later in time new layers of earth pushed onto and changed into softer metamorphic/ sedimentary rocks. This influences the water system on the surface, where on the hard stone granite rock the surface water is transported more through the first 1,5 meter of loam soil and on the softer stone seeps through the deeper layers and forms aquifers in the rocks. All the layers together creates a beautiful gradient that is experienced when moving uphill or downhill the Sierra Nevada.

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Coniferous forest- Mi-Wuk Village CA 40


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Oak woodland with ranches

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Ungoing coniferous forest with some dead trees


Wood prodcution in the area

Remains of the Rim fire in 2013, with no regenaration of new trees

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Oak woodland with ranches

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Ungoing coniferous forest with some dead trees


Wood prodcution in the area

Remains of the Rim fire in 2013, with no regenaration of new trees

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Map of vegetation types

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10km

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Private Sierra Pacific Industries

Farmers

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Map of ownership

Stanislaus National Forest

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10km

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THE DAMAGED LANDSCAPE The vegetation contains many planting types that gradiently turn from dense stands conifer forests, to oak woodlands to open grasslands. (shown in the landscape section) This is the natural habitat and the way the vegetation should be. Although around the Tuolumne river the vegetation is changing into Chaparral and grasslands. This chaparral vegetation is indigenous to the Coastal hills of California, but not native to the Sierra Nevada mountains. The landscape is damaged due to the many human interventions happened in the area which changed the natural ecosystem of these forests. Such as the build of the Hetch Hetchy dam and tunnel that uses 50% of the water that used to flow through the Tuolumne river, leaving the area dry and the prevention of fires in the forests, that changed the ecosystem. The combination of this made the area in the last years more vulnerable to extreme wildfires. This Rim fire of 2013 was one of the first biggest in hectares happened in the national forest and park. This area has trouble returning to its conifer forest and an even more flammable vegetation is returning, Chapparal. (shown in the next picture)

Mi-Wuk Village

Sonora

Previous fires Tuolumne

Groveland

Map of fire history

2km

10km

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Burned landscape - Rim fire 2013 48


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4. A FIRE START

A concept is formed combining the fire history, fire toolbox and project location characteristics.

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“Some landscapes from the past look like wilderness, but are actually human modified landscapes� 52


INDIAN LANDSCAPE The Native Americans use of fire played an integral role in broadening fire-adapted ecosystems. Controlled fires were part of the maintenance of wildlife habitats that sustained the people’s cultures and economies. Thereby the collection of food was the main reason for starting these fires that opened the forest for hunting and the growth of the oak trees. Fire became part of the way of living and was a craft in the society. What was initially perceived by colonists as “untouched” wilderness in North America, was actually the result of these occasional, managed fires creating a mosaic of grasslands and forests across North America.

north facing slope - high density of trees - moist/cool

south facing slope - low density of trees - more mature trees

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“ We are standing in the middle of an ecological disaster, and we humans are entirely responsible for it� 54


AMERICAN LANDSCAPE The fire-prone landscapes as we see today are controlled by programs of fire control and prevention by humans, that unintentionally place the public at risk. The risk to extreme wild fires is higher than ever due to: unmaintained forests that lead to dense stands of trees with no diversity, longer periods of drought and inhabitants/visitors that lost the connection to the natural landscape. Today this problem is hard to solve because of the many stakeholders and separated functions. There are people living in the area, companies owning land for the timber production, Stanislaus National forest and electricity companies.

some dead trees by drought and the bark beetle

same trees with same age

river is invisable in landscape

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“Fighting fire with fire” 56


HUMAN MODIFIED LANDSCAPE The human modified landscape is a landscape in where the needs of today are combined with the fire landscape from the past. By introducing a productive landscape again in where in stead of food, wood is produced, a modified landscape is created. This landscape is based on the natural circumstances and is maintained in by ecological forest management, so that it is designed to handle fire. Areas are created for people to live and recreate safe in the landscape, but to enjoy the excitement of fire.

diversity of trees reflecting the natural conditions fire break along the mountain ridge natural river which slows down the water

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APPROACH Since now these programs have been focused on protecting the build environment from fires, but what if there is a different approach? Like for example in the Netherlands we have been defending ourselves against the water by building dikes, seawalls and dunes. Big interventions are designed to control the water to make sure we don’t flood. Now, new ideas are being tested, to work with instead of against the water and to make room for it. This leads to new landscapes and new forms of resilience. So instead of strengthening the defense lines against fires, we may need to design with fire in a comparable way we treat the water challenge.

Dutch river landscape where room for the river is created in the urban area of Nijmegen

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CONCEPT By introducing the Dutch dike landscape into the topic of fire, a new form of landscape will emerge. This landscape will not only have fire-dikes in order to protect the people from burning, but also have a fire-plain in where fire is allowed to be and to form the landscape. Doing so by reintroducing a productive landscape that also economically wise brings something and creates closer relationship for the people with the landscape. Not only the production of timber, but also CO2 storage is now and for the future an important sustainable product. Doing so in an ecological way, that has a better and sustainable output from the forest and most importantly lowers the risk of extreme wildfires.

Sacramento

Murphys

Stanislaus National forest

Sonora

Yosemite National Park Groveland Modesto

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On fire watch 62


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5. A FIRE PLAN

The landscape system is explained and designed in layers, creating a plan for fire.

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EXISTING WATER SYSTEM 5.000m

5 km

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10km

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WATER SYSTEM The water system as it is now, functions mainly for the collection of water in the Don Pedro reservoir. This water is used for the agriculture in the Central Valley of California. While actually the area itself needs the water to fight the drought and to lower the risk of wildfires. This is done by adding natural water stops in the rivers, to slow down the water flow and create smaller natural basins that moisten the surroundings. On the detailed level this will be elaborated more in the elaboration designs.

natural stops in the river system

Water stops with small lakes to slow down the water

Water stream and its direction

Moist inpact on a bigger area

Water lakes like the Don Pedro Reservoir

5.000m

5 km

67 2km

10km

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EXISTING FOREST STRUCTURE 5.000m

5 km

68 2km

10km

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FOREST STRUCTURE

north facing slope

The forest will be like a mosaic based on the natural conditions of the relief, water system and the position of the sun. This creates different habitats for different types of forests. North facing slopes will have more shadow and be more moistures, which means a dense stands of young trees will grow that are used for the production of (soft)wood. South facing slopes will have more sun and drought, which means more old mature trees for the slow production of (hard)wood. The West-East facings slopes are half open forests. The different types of forest will change the behavior of fire in the area. In this way the fire can be controlled and monitored better knowing the pieces of a mosaic forest.

south facing slope

North facing slope with a dense stands of trees

East-West facing slopes with half open forests

South facing slope with open grassland and older trees

Property line of the Stanislaus National Forest

5.000m

5 km

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10km

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FIRE SYSTEM The fire system is a designed system based on relief and wind-direction. Fire always moves uphill, so by strategically placing fire breaks along the mountain ridges, the fire stops or slows down. Camp sites are often the ignition point for a wildfire to start. In the fire season (MayNovember) the wind direction is mostly SouthWest/South-East. The fire breaks are placed along mountain ridges in the opposite direction. This in combination with the forest structure and water system creates a fire-plain that is designed to handle a wildfire. To ensure that people can still live safely in this landscape a main fire-dike with a dike-landscape is designed.

fire breaks along moutain ridges

Fire dike in combination with a zone behind the dike

Camp sites as high risk for ignition of wildfires

Fire breaks in the fire-plain along mountain ridges

Wind direction during fire season

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5 km

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10km

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LIVING & RECREATION

dike zone

To ensure a safe living environment, not only a fire-dike is needed but also a landscape behind the dike. This landscape is more open and diverse and should slow down any escaped wildfire. From this safety zone multiple lookouts over the fire-plain are placed that connect the landscapes on both sides of the main dike. From here routes starts to walk through the divers fire wilderness landscape.

viewing points recreational routes

View points over the fire-plain

Lodges in the safe zone

Recreational routes trough fire-plain

Existing and new camp sites in the unsafe fire-plain

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5 km

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10km

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5.000m

10.000m

15.000m

20.000m

25.000m

5 km

10 km

ELABORATION MI-WUK VILLAGE 15 km

20 km

30 km

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30.000m

35.000m

40.000m

45.000m

50.000m

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ELABORATION GROVELAND

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A FIRE PLAN The task is to design a fire resilient landscape in where fire is part of the natural system of the forest and thereby lowers the risk of extreme catastrophic wildfires. The main issues that causes this high risk of extreme wildfires are: • Years of fire prevention, which changed the ecosystem in the forests into a monoculture of dense stands pine trees • Longer periods of drought by the absence of rain due to climate change. Fire seasons used to be from June-September, but are now almost year round • Ignition of fire by people unknown to the circumstances in the area In the layers of this masterplan these issues are changed into opportunities to design a modified landscape that can handle a wildfire. Together they form a fire-scape that is a new form of a resilient landscape based on the approach of the Native Americans to see the need of fire in the landscape and thereby creating a productive mosaic landscape. And the Dutch defense strategy against water by the design of fire dikes to create a safe living environment, but also not only to defense but create room for fire in the landscape. This design uses elements form the toolbox and looks at the natural conditions like wind, sun and relief. By doing so a new form of resilient landscape arises.

LEGEND Mosaic fire-plain with a diversity of forest types based on the natural conditions of the landscape

Rivers that flow through the fire-plain and keep the water to create more moist in the area

Fire breaks in the fire-plain along mountain ridges, designed to control the wildfires

Camp sites in the fire-plain

Fire dike in combination with a zone behind the dike that functions to protect the living environment

View points and recreational routes from the safe zone through the fire-plain

Existing houses

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6. MI-WUK VILLAGE

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Aerial map of the current situation, a continuous forest with houses, a river and relief

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Soil map of the bedrock in the surface


MI-WUK VILLAGE The elaboration area around Mi-Wuk village is known for its large areas of pine forest in wherein houses are situated. Most of these houses are built around 1990 in where the American population grew and people were looking for places to live in the wildland. This is the so called ‘wildland-urban-interface’, the zone between wildland and human development that is at high risk of catastrophic wildfires due to its unmaintained overloaded dry forests. It is almost like the people are looking for danger, living in wooden houses in these forest.

Mi-wuk village, housing in the forest

Housing on hills

North Fork Tuolumne River

Overloaded forest with no diveristy

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1.000m

2.000m

3.000m

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4.000m

5.000m

6.000m

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DETAIL 1 2 km

3 km

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4 km

5 km

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20m

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Fire-dike along the mountain ridge that stops the fire from moving to the living environment Mosaic fire-plain with prodcution of wood

Living in clusters surrounded by open mature forest

Water stream landscape with open moist grasslands that are managed by cattle

Place of exchange between the landscapes and a point to view

To restore the forest again and create a safe living environment a new landscape is created. The layout of the landscape knows two different zones that are based on the existing topography and relief. First zone is the fire-plain in where a diverse mosaic forest landscape is created that produces wood. (explained in the next pages) And the living environment in where a safe landscape is designed. A fire dike marks these two zones and functions as a stop for the fire.

LEGEND Granite fire dike as a border between the fire landscape and the safe living landscape

Maintenance path for wood production

Fire dike from metamorphic rocks

North Fork Tuolumne River open in the landscape

Granite fire dike as a moment of transition between the fire landscape and the safe living landscape

Campings that are part of the ignition of (controlled) burns in the landscape

North/East facing moistures slope with high density wood production, a combination of hard- and softwood

Housing clustered in mature forests with an open under layer to the meadow landscape

South/West facing dry slope with low density wood production, mostly hardwood

Park meadow landscape with small creeks and dams that hold the water and keep the area moistures. Cattle will maintain the landscape and create an open fire safe zone.

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CATALOGUE OF DIVERSITY In the fire plain, the forest is designed to create a mosaic landscape based on the natural conditions shown in the toolbox and masterplan. In this way the forest is in control of the fire. In order to go from an overloaded unmaintained forest to a production forest that is maintained by fire and produces wood, a planting plan is made over a time of 80 years. This shows the process of cutting and planting, growth in years, the diversity in species, density of trees per m2, and output production in dollars of the forest. This is done for the different types of forest in the elaboration area of Mi-Wuk village. The next assumptions are made : Hardwood plank 60-70cm Oak Alder Maple

15$ 7.5$ 15$

9-25 meters in 50-60 years (0,4 m growth per year)

Softwood plank 60-70cm Douglas fir 6.5$ White fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Incense cedar

5.5$ 6.5$

18-30 meters in 40 years (0,6 m growth per year)

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NORTH EAST FACING SLOPES

Moistures areas with a high wood production Prescribed burn 3-5 years

SPECIES

WOODPRODUCTION

70% softwood

2021 $$$$

Douglas fir White fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Jeffrey pine Incense cedar

High wood production, because of the clearance of a lot of trees

2040 $ 2060 $$

Low income in these years, because of the tree growth

30% hardwood

Californian black oak Canyon life oak Bigleaf maple White alder

2080 $$$

Growth of income because of first harvest from hardwood

2100 $$$$

Steady income from harvesting 30% hardwood and 70% softwood

GROWTH IN YEARS

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SOUTH WEST FACING SLOPES Dry areas with a slow wood production Prescribed burn 5-10 years

SPECIES

WOODPRODUCTION

50% softwood

2021 $$$$

Douglas fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Incense cedar

50% hardwood

Californian black oak Canyon life oak Bigleaf maple White alder

High wood production, because of the clearance of a lot of trees

2040 $ 2060 $

Low income in these years, because of the tree growth

2080 $$

Growth of income because of first harvest from hardwood

2100 $$$

Steady income from harvesting 50% hardwood and 50% softwood

GROWTH IN YEARS

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FOREST WITH HOUSING SPECIES 90% softwood Douglas fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Incense cedar

10% hardwood

Californian black oak Bigleaf maple

GROWTH IN YEARS

NORTH FORK TUOLUMNE RIVER SIDE More open visible river

SPECIES 50% softwood Douglas fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Incense cedar

50% hardwood

Californian black oak Canyon life oak Bigleaf maple White alder

GROWTH IN YEARS

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Fire moving upwards through the dense forest 86


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A’ A

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A DIKE ZONE In this area the people are living close to the fire-plain and are protected by a fire-dike and safe zone behind the dike. In this zone people will live in clusters surrounded by mature trees, instead of scattered around in an unmaintained forest. This creates open spaces that function as fire breaks in the landscape. These breaks are designed in a natural way and follow the existing water streams. The streams will hold as much water in the area by small designed weirs that create moistures grasslands that stop or slow down wildfires. But most importantly add value to the quality of living in a beautiful landscape park.

Designed weir in the landscape that holds the water in the safe park landscape Water stream

Houses in clusters in mature open forests

Detail 1

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20m

100m

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B

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A FIRE DIKE The fire dike along the mountain ridge forms the main element in the design and protection of this landscape. This is the first moment the fire-plain touches the safe living environment. Referring to a dike in the Dutch river landscape, this dike should stop the fire. Instead of adding soil, this dike will excavate soil in order to reach the 2m below bedrock, Granite. On stone granite no plants are able to grow, which means there is no fuel to fire. In this way a natural fire break is created along the mountain ridge and forms a new element in the landscape. At some places, where the water stream flows downhill, there is exchange between the fire-plain and safe living environment. The dike becomes bigger and a place to overview the area. Here the contrast between the safe and unsafe is designed in a water dam that overlooks both the wild fire-plain and the designed landscape park. The water is hold to keep as much uphill and slowly flows over the granite in a waterfall to feed the production forest. The dam is a point to walk to, to overlook or to start an adventurous walk through the fire. This start is a dike stairs in where you walk as an explorer on the stone granite. This stairs shows the fire line by using wooden planks that can burn. In this way you can read the fire in the same way you can read on a Dutch-dike.

C

C’

Granite stone dike with adventurous path Waterfall over the granite stone dike Viewing point from the dam Water dam marking the contrast between safe and unsafe Fire-plain with wood production forest Forest edge as a natural gradient to the granite stone Safe and moist area with a park atmosphere

Detail 2

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15m

75m

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C

C’

Section showing the contrast and system of the dam

Granite dike stair with metal and wooden plank

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Granite dike stair showing the burn line


Lookout from the dam and entrance to the fire-plain

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2,5m

12,5m

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7. GROVELAND

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Aerial map of the current situation, a forest and chaparral textures, a river and relief

Soil map of the bedrock in the surface

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Fire history

Building of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir 1923


GROVELAND The elaboration area around Groveland is the South-West entrance road to Yosemite National Park and thereby a popular place for tourists to stay. People unknown about the natural conditions of this landscape; drought, bad maintained forest and steep hilled landscape. Perfect conditions for an extreme wildfire to happen, such as the Rim Fire in 2013 which grew to be (at that time) the third-largest wildfire in Californian history. In history this area has been burned a lot and trees now have a hard time returning to its healthy state. The so called ‘Chaparral vegetation’ (native to the coastal mountains, but exotic to the Sierra Nevada) is returning instead and is because of its low hanging dry branches even more flammable and immediately an extreme crown-fire. The area now is turned into an ignition point for the spread of extreme wildfires.

Highly flammable chaparral vegetation on both sides of the Tuolumne river

Relicts of the rim fire 2013 along the route to Yosemite

Groveland, cowboy town

Rim of the world showing a dry, damaged and burned landscape

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1.000m

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3.000m

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2 km

3 km

4 km

5 km

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6 km

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5.000m

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LEGEND Fire dike from metamorphic rocks as a border between the safe ranches landscape and the indian wilderness

North/East facing moistures slope with high density wood production, a combination of hard- and softwood

Moment of transition where the road to Yosemite enters the fire landscape of the indian wilderness

South/West facing dry slope with low density wood production, mostly hardwood

Wild camping along the water streams in the forests

Maintenance path for wood production

Water streams that hold the water in the area in a natural way by stones.

Lodges as a more luxurious and safe way of staying over in the area

Water sources that bring back the water from the Hetch Hetchy tunnel to the surface and creating a moistures forest again

Ranches cowboy landscape divided along properties in the American grid

Water tunnel, transporting fresh water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir to San Francisco

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Fire-dike that stops the fire from moving to the living environment

Ranches landscape with lodges and farms

Mosaic fire-plain with prodcution of wood North facing slope

South facing slope

Indian wilderness landscape with camp sites in the valleys along the water streams

Watertunnel with sources feeding the production forest

To restore the forest again and create a safe living environment a new landscape is created. The layout of the landscape is based on the existing use of the landscape and protects the living environment by a fire-dike in the same way its done in the elaboration area of Mi-Wuk village. The tourists can stay here safely in lodges in the cowboy like landscape. This is in contrast with the unsafe Indian wilderness in where the fun of fire is experienced by camp sites and routes trough the area being part of the fire-plain. The fire-plain in where wood production is the driver to make room for fire is explained in the next pages.

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CATALOGUE OF DIVERSITY In the fire plain, the forest is designed to create a mosaic landscape based on the natural conditions shown in the toolbox and masterplan. In this way the forest is in control of the fire. In order to go from dry chaparral vegetation to a production forest that is maintained by fire and produces wood, a planting plan is made over a time of 80 years. This shows the process of cutting and planting, growth in years, the diversity in species, density of trees per m2, and output production in dollars of the forest. This is done for the different types of forest in the elaboration area of Groveland. The next assumptions are made : Hardwood plank 60-70cm Oak Alder Maple

15$ 7.5$ 15$

9-25 meters in 50-60 years (0,4 m growth per year)

Softwood plank 60-70cm Douglas fir 6.5$ White fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Incense cedar

5.5$ 6.5$

18-30 meters in 40 years (0,6 m growth per year)

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NORTH EAST FACING SLOPES

Regenaration of new forest. Moistures areas with a high wood production Prescribed burn 3-5 years

SPECIES 70% softwood Douglas fir White fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Jeffrey pine Incense cedar

30% hardwood

Californian black oak Canyon life oak Bigleaf maple White alder

WOODPRODUCTION 2060-2080 $$$

The trees that are planted and grown in 2021 are know adults and ready to harvest

2100 $$$$

Steady income from harvesting 30% hardwood and 70% softwood

GROWTH IN YEARS

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SOUTH WEST FACING SLOPES Regenaration of trees. Dry areas with a slow wood production Prescribed burn 5-10 years

SPECIES 50% softwood Douglas fir Ponderosa pine

50% hardwood

Californian black oak Bigleaf maple

WOODPRODUCTION 2050 $

The production is very low, but sometimes one or two trees can be cutdown

2100 $

The production stays very low

GROWTH IN YEARS

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FOREST WITH CAMPING SPECIES 90% softwood Douglas fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Incense cedar

10% hardwood

Californian black oak Bigleaf maple

GROWTH IN YEARS

(TUOLUMNE) RIVER SIDE More open visible river

SPECIES 50% softwood Douglas fir Ponderosa pine Sugar pine Incense cedar

50% hardwood

Californian black oak Canyon life oak Bigleaf maple White alder

GROWTH IN YEARS

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Fire moving upwards through the dense forest 106


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A A’

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THE WILDERNESS In this area the visitor will experience the different areas driving towards Yosemite National park. From the safe American landscape with ranches, lodges and farms the visitor will drive over the fire dike trough the wilderness, referring to the Native Americans. This is a hilled landscape in where wild camping is allowed and you can feel like an Indian making your own camp fire. The landscape is designed for this. The places to camp are situated along the water streams in open forests and are indicated by fire rings. Sometimes a fire will escape, but this is part of the maintenance of the forest and will keep it open. The higher parts in the landscape are designed to be open grasslands, maintained by wild animals. Since fire always moves upwards, the fires will die-out here moving upwards from the water stream towards these open hills. As a visitor you can choose, will I go to a lodge in where I am safe from wildfires or be more adventurous and camp in the wilderness and be part of the fire landscape.

Open hills that stop the fire from spreading

Campsites along the water streams that are marked by fire rings spread out and strategically placed

System of campsites in the Indian wilderness landscape

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Impression camp sites

Fire ring


Fire rings spread out in the forest Water streams with natural water stops to create a more moistures area Open hills that stop the escaped fire from burning

Detail 1 N

0

20m

100m

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B

B’

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A PART OF FIRE To make sure that this fire landscape is no ignition point for the spread of wildfires any more it has to return to a layered forest again. For this to happen, the water needs to return. By the construction of the Hetch Hetchy water tunnel in 1923, 50 % of the natural water in the Tuolumne river was and still is lost. Together with the change in climate this is one of the reasons for the extreme drought in this specific area. The tunnel is situated deep underground along the edge of the steep slope. By creating ‘natural’ water sources from this tunnel, a part of the natural water is returned in the landscape, feeding the slope and creating a forest that is fire proof. This is a regulated system that in time of drought can irrigate the forest. These sources are highly constructed but designed in a natural way to show the fight between human and nature in this area. The underground is shown here by the straight forest edge, in where the water sources are indicated and pointed out. This specific source can be reached by the camping landscape and forms a viewing point, but is a starting point for routes into the fire plane. The water naturally bubbles up and flows via stone walls into the irrigation water stream. These stone walls represent the human interventions in the area, but fight the natural water and lose stones. A route is designed to experience the natural in the wooden path as well as the cultural on the stone path. As a visitor you become aware of the past and present and be more educated about the landscape you are part of.

C Section showing the system of the water source

C’

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Water source connected to the tunnel where the water bubbles up naturally Contrast in materials in the natural and cultural Water irrigation channel, feeding the slope forest Underground tunnel shown above ground by a straight forest edge

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Detail 2


C’

C

N

0

10m

50m 115


Fire threat- Ferguson fire 2018 116


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EPILOGUE This project focusses on creating a fire resilient landscape in where the landscape is designed to burn, but safe to live in. A combination in approach in the way the Native Americans treated the landscape and a the Dutch defense strategy to make room for the rivers, created a new form of a fire resilient landscape, a ‘Fire-scape’. This fire-scape contains a strategy that can be executed along the entire West-foothill of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. A strategy that is not only a fire break, but changes all the layers in the landscape in order to create an integral long time design. Changing the way of living in the forests and a new perspective on fire. It is very strange to see that people live in these forest without any protection for the fire. No wonder they see it as a danger. Can you image the Dutch living in the river landscape without any dikes. In this fire-scape dikes are designed to ensure the safety of the living environment, but directly are in touch with the fire-plain. In this way people and fire are reunited again and together form a new resilient fire landscape. This project gave me a year of insight to the topic of fire. It learned me to look at it in a different perspective being Dutch and knowing how we live with the water. This approach made me look at the fire landscape in the same way and gave tools to design and research the landscape. The combination of the American culture and history of the Native Americans gave the inspiration for creation of the new fire-scape. In the future fire will be a more prominent part of the landscape due to the change in climate. Landscapes need to change in order to deal with this new force of nature. In this change landscape architects can play a prominent role in designing new resilient landscapes and to prepare the society on a life with the fire.

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Out in the wild - Stanislaus National Park 120


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Talk with James from Arcadis

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COLOFON This graduation project would not have been possible without the following people: Committee: Yttje Feddes – mentor Joyce van den Berg – Additional member Gert-Jan Wisse – Additional member Experts: Jonathan Clanin – Forest Fire Prevention Officer - Stanislaus National Forest Laszlo van der Wal – WUR graduate Design with Fire Patricia Bijvoet – Landscape Architect Soraya de Chadarevian – Professor UCLA Family, Friends and Colleagues: Fred Prinssen – for being my fire travel companion Anita Peters Nine Prinssen Joske van Breugel Lindsey van de Wetering Liza van Alphen Lejla Duran Arcadis Landscape Architects & Urbanists

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BIBLIOGR APHY

Bosbranden. A. Ganeri (2006) Fire in Mediterranean ecosystems, Ecology, Evolution and Management. Jon E. Keeley, William J. Bond, Ross A. Bradstock, Juli G. Pausas and Philip W. Rundel.(2012) Vuur en Beschaving. J. Goudsblom (2015) Planning the wildland-urban-interface, PAS Report. The American Planning Association, M. Mowery (2019) Design with fire. Landscape Architecture Wageningen University, L.v.Wal (2017)

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A FIRE-SCAPE

A new form of a fire resilient landscape Hanna Prinssen Committee Yttje Feddes - Joyce van den Berg - Gert-Jan Wisse Master of Landscape Architecture Academy of Architecture Amsterdam 29-06-2020

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