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Julian , California
May 26, 2010     The Julian News
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May 26, 2010

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May 26, 2010 Staubs by Greg Courson Every once in a while, an article about safety is a good idea. Even so many years after the Pines, Cedar, and Witch Fires, there are details to point out about the post-fre landscape, especially to people whose homes either border the old burns or stand within areas that were burned by those three, enormous fires. Quite a few years ago, I wrote an article about standing trees whose roots had been burned; those trees, still standing, can deceive. Even on a windless day, one of them can simply decide that it&apos;s time to fall. This article discusses staubs, and although they're found in burned and unburned areas alike, their numbers can be significant within a burn and along the edges of a burn, even years after the fire is over with. Along with the above, general introduction, a question: What motivated this article? I mean, do I sit at home and simply dream up an article? Or does the article have a relevant story behind it? To drive home a point about safety, it has to be relevant and it has to make a deep impression on the reader, and on this point I won't fool around at all. Without going into a long-winded explanation, I'll simply say that on Sunday, May and, a little boy in the Pine Hills area, while playing in an area that had been burned by the Cedar Fire, nearly impaled himself on a staub when, during a short-lived sprint, one foot bumped into the other and down to the ground - full-body splat, face first - he went. And it was then that I saw the staub. Is that a strong enough impression for you? It was for me. From the simple explanation above, the reader should now understand what a staub is, yet I'll provide a fuller description• And, as always, my concern will be a reminder for those who already know what staubs are. For newcomers to the backcountry, the article will provide a little bit of education about being safe in the chaparral, woodlands and forests of the area. I hadn't seen it until after he fell. The burn in Pine Hills is now old, over six years old, and the ground litter of fallen leaves, grass, needles, twigs, sticks, cones, acorns, and so on, is now a mosaic of natural color. You could look upon such ground cover as a work of natural art, but at the same time the beauty can camouflage certain things; certain things like staubs, which were once obvious and visible. Yet now they're not so noticeable. And when I was fighting fires we were trained to take notice of any and all staubs and remove them from the burned areas we were working in, if there was time. I can only speak for U.S. Forest Service fire crews; but a good, educated guess is that all fire crews, whether Federal, State, County, or volunteer, learn about staubs: the short trunk of a small, woody plant or small tree still rooted in the ground, but whose top is gone. The staub could be anywhere from two or three inches high to eight or twelve inches high, the very top of which is a sharp spike; sometimes very sharp. If you fell on it full force, the injury could be very serious, very painful, even fatal• My reader, at this point in the description, probably needs no further help in imagining the possible consequences of falling on a staub. And, y'know, people do on occasion stumble, trip, etcetera, in wooded and forested areas. As I said above, I'm not dreaming this up. This is a valid concern, and anyone else who's spent enough time digging fireline or doing other outdoor labor knows what a staub is, and they know the rule about staubs: at the very least, when cutting all small, woody plants and small trees, make your cut parallel with the ground, producing a flat top and not a spike. It's a simple rule that makes the working environment safer. The little boy mentioned above didn't nearly fall on something that a sawyer missed or forgot about. That staub was a more natural creation, one resulting from the top of a Manzanita breaking off near the ground. When Manzanita and other chaparral plants burn, they become brittle• After the fire, at some point in time, I imagine heavy snowfall breaking it? Or perhaps a human being doing the deed? Then too, wildland fire often burns a large, woody plant or small tree into a staub. When HEALTH SERVICES Healing Arts & Massage Ayurveda Acupressure Yoga Meditation reflexology craniosacral herbs aromatherapy Lorien A. Lehmer Certified Massage Therapist,# _ Yoga Teacher i. (760) 310-8974  lorienlehmer@aol.com  www.wisdomwithinhealingarts.com JULIAN MEDICAL A DIVISION OF BORREGO COMMUNITY HEALTH FOUNDATION .......... " ....... . ................. 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On that Sunday, a great many memories flooded my mind. • Images of sawyers out ahead, dropping timber and dog-hair, ahead of a line ofgroundpounders; and on certain sections of fireline masses of staubs here and there• Sometimes things are so intense, though, that the sawyers haven't the time. They won't bend closer to the ground with the bar of the saw. They'll cut that dog hair from a standing position, and slice it diagonally. When you come through later, it's like wa'lking through a section of long, vicious teeth protruding upward. Eventually someone will call one of the sawyers back to cut everything lower and flat. After a fire, rehab crews will often remove the staubs along a fireline, roots and all. Returning to Sunday's event: after the boy fell and rose and ran onward, I found a large rock, walked to the wooden spike, and pounded the top as flat as possible. Yet fire not only makes Manzanita brittle, it can make it harder. I found limited success flattening the top with my primitive tool. I found an even larger rock and then pounded sideways on the thing• It is often that time will loosen the roots enough, and a few whacks with a sledge or heavy implement will topple the little dagger to the ground, removing the possibility of an injury• Yet this particular staub wouldn't budge, so I constructed a small cairn around it, with more rocks. Now it's no longer invisible, and many degrees safer. What suggestion does this essay contain for readers who live in the local area? Such should be obvious. Yet I've noticed after many years of living here that in spite of the most common-sense suggestions concerning such things, many residents choose to gamble, and not only gamble with their own well-being but with the well-being of others. At the same time i'm not writing this down in order to create a sense of dread in parents. I'm writing this so that people will DO SOMETHING: make your homes and the surrounding landscape safer. After all the miseries of years past; after all of the losses --who among you will simply go for a nice stroll through the land around your home, identify any staubs, and then cut them level with the ground? "Smart Choices" Library Program for Older American's Month Thursday, May 27, 10:30 AM A good retirement means you are ready for anything. Learn practical ways to help maintain your standard of living in retirement at this free educational seminar led by Yvonne Catton, Financial Advisor from Edward Jones. After years of work, you now have the opportunity to experience the retirement you always wanted. By taking some time now to prepare for life n retirement, you will be more likely to enjoy everything you have dreamed about. Please join us at the library for a free "Smart Choices in Retirement" seminar. You will learn ten principles to help make your money last with the goal of providing a stable, steady retirement income. That's one of the best ways we know to help you prepare for the future. This program can be beneficial for everyone, those who have already retired, those who are thinking about retiring, and those who love to work, but want to make some sound decisions about preparing for retirement• All library programs are free and open to the public. You don't have to be an older adult to attend or to benefit from this program. The library is located at 1850 Highway 78, next to the high school• If you have any questions, please contact the library at (760) 765- 0370. The Julian News 7 Groceries. Fresh Produce. Sundries Beer • Wine • Liquor Dry Cleaning. Lotto. Scratchers • Full Service "Best in the County" Meat Department • U.S.D.A. Choice Beef • Buffalo Meat Special and Holiday Orders, Cut to your Specifications i jii< Ill ll'i l]ilt] Bill Pay N *NOW OPEN* VETERANS AFFIARS EL CENTRO OUT PATIENT CLINIC NOW SERVING ELIGIBLE VETERANS Medical Director: Dr. Shahram Mirashami Family Practice Nurse Practitioner: Irma Garcia NP 1,600 SOUTH IMPERIAL AVENUE EL CENTRO, CA 92243 Hours of operation: Monday - Friday Office Hours 8:00am - 4:30pm CALL FOR ENROMENT INFORMATION 1-858-642-6284 FOR APPOINTMENTS CALL: 1-760-352-1506 Julian High School Bi00dDrive Saturday, May 29", 2010 9 am to 2 pm laaac qan' Sy Thata 1o the ¢p,roy of vunicer bloc, d deefs, rcdttlt 1€€, receded t mtaileg  ettfai0s m part of bb trzaimeat fer Ieroblaioma bere II • luctfel bone miti'o lliml#mli. y em lake • aiff.rt I lke {iv* of gilltlllL llke txmtC by dollting lltoad iodlly. "I' cliff/tepee In llfc II yoI Parking Lot 1656 Highway 78 Julian 92036 To make an appointment online, go to www.sandieqobloodbank.orq. ! Click on "Appointments" and "Make an Appointment at a Mobile Blood Drive." Enter sponsor code: JUHS i i For assistance please contact Jennifer Wylie at (760) 765-0606 Ext. 207 ! i With one donation you will earn 225 points toward the San Diego Blood Bank's online LifeSaver Store, enough to redeem for Pat & Oscar's, Submarina or Boomers coupons, or if you prefer, a baseball cap or water bottle. Please eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before donating blood. All donors must show proof Of identification, Please pass this information on tO a friend if you have glverl blood In the last eight weeks (16 weeks for double red cell donations).