Sunday, May 25, 2014

Post-fire Regrowth

We joined some friends for an outing up Lexington Canyon, where the Black Fire burned last year. The weather wasn't exactly promising when we started out, but we decided to go anyway. I'm glad we did, because the contrast of the newly sprouting plants with the charred trees and white snow was stunning.

Desert Girl was happy to hike because her friend Rose was along.

The diversity of species was interesting. American vetch (Vicia americana) dominated much of the ground cover where we were, but we also saw lots of other plants, like lupine, this yellow violet (below), Packera multilobata, Indian paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa), Descurainia sp., heartleaf twistflower (Streptanthus cordatus), phlox,  and much more.

The American vetch was like a carpet in places, with its purple blooms livening up the forest floor.

I find burned areas fascinating. You can see how the fire progressed and ponder why one area burned and another different. The resulting patterns of burned areas have a strange appeal.

Despite the high intensity of the fire in this area, many of the plants are regrowing, including these chokecherries.

A gate is supposed to go in here now, but for now a sign warns people to be careful of falling snags and other hazards. A flood that came after the fire washed out this road.

Even in areas that had both burned and flooded, plants grew.

Gradually the clouds floated away, allowing the sun to warm the charbroiled land.

Desert Girl was fascinated with all the flowers.

Hopefully more people will get to experience the rejuvenation of the land after a forest fire. It is truly amazing.

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