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Wow, what good luck! Fallen tree stories? Here's mine.

Back in the '80s I was riding along Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC. Suddenly, I heard a large crash right behind me. It shook the pavement. A big oak tree had just fallen over onto the road about a half block behind, as if when I passed, the tree decided to fall. It covered the road. The root was six feet high. I'd just escaped being squashed like a bug by 5 seconds. Fortunately there were no other people on the road. Recent rain had softened the ground. The roots couldn't hold. I felt truly blessed let me tell ya!
 

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a couple of years ago, I was picking up leaves from my neighbor's giant magnolia tree...heard a distinctive loud CRACK. looked up and down the street for the source of the noise, didn't see anything and took a step towards the next pile of leaves when a massive dark object passed immediately in front of my face.

the monster tree branch that almost took me out must have weighed several hundred pounds. would have squashed me like a bug if I'd been two feet further towards its impact point.
Did you take a break and have a few beers after that brush with death?

There was an old tree outside the apartment building that was half gone literally, dead limbs up the down land side, leaves on the up land side. It was hovering over the edge of a 4 foot drop, tenaciously held by roots on the up side only. A heavy wind could have toppled it over onto the building. The tree must have been 80 years old. The landlord got a crew to cut it down. A several hundred pound limb fell off another tree in the front yard, so Mexican pros cut it down, too. Tenants could have a card game on the top of the root left in the ground.

Every time a rain storm passes through, a couple of these big old trees finally fall. They're beloved in DC, a city of houses pretty much over its whole history. Very had to asses when the tree in the yard is ready give it up. Those big trees so nicely shade in the hot summer and break the cold breezes in winter. Residents don't want to give them up.
 

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Could those dead trees be the consequence of drought? Lots of dry underbrush like that is what fuels those wildfires. Trees cracking overhead would sure spook you, wouldn't it?
 

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Yes, some of the trees dying of drought but many of the oaks are victims of "Sudden Oak Death" (SOD) which is caused by Phytophthora ramorum, a water mold pathogen . Likely this pathogen has been around for millions of years and in pre-contact days, the local Ohlone peoples maintained the local forests by thinning, controlled burns, etc. They kept out host species like the California Bay Laurel and this limited the spread of this pathogen that needs contact in the soil to spread. Acorns were a major food source, so keeping competitive species away from oak trees made them more productive, likewise keeping the forest floor thinned out made hunting more productive as well.

However, in modern times, almost nothing is allowed to be done in the forests. Controlled burns are non-existant, removing wood from an SOD afflicted area is akin to transporting nuclear waste with the permits involved, so nothing is ever removed. If a land owner tries to do something like that now, some group will "discover" a threatened species of some sort that will be endangered by the project. Even though that same species survived millenia of the same sort of activity being done by the native population.

I was back up to this area yesterday and all the fallen trees have been cut up and shoved to the side of the road. Every year, more dead wood piles up on the forest floor, all in the name of "protecting the forest".
Wow, very ironic! Critics, Trump being one, have asserted thinning out the forests, including controlled burns, would be the way to prevent these huge wildfires decimating so much of western states. They're met with stern denials by guilt ridden religious ecologists awaiting the end times.
 
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