After wildfires

Do you think it would be interesting to visit and observe the recently burned areas? And what advice should we take? Safety first, of course, and then what should we do and how?

Yes. But get advice about which areas are recovering, emerging seedlings, or erosion risk.

My Fynbos Rambles often go to ‘recently’ burnt areas. When the senescent shrubs are cleared we see bulbs and orchids and annuals claiming their place in the sun.
And we have a Post Fire project


It will definitely make an interesting long-term case study. About 15 months ago there was a small forest fire close to my work, which scorched a couple hundred acres. It’s been wonderful to see things come back to life, albeit slowly. Certain species were killed outright, while some individuals re-sprouted from the roots. Previously dead snags fell, their decaying remains feeding the forest floor. Now the area is flooded with light and the vacuum will be filled with the next cohort of volunteers. Nature, as vulnerable as it is, is resilient. I’m looking forward to seeing what Canada’s forests will look like 5,10, 20+ years from now.


Part of the work that I’m doing right now involves prescribed fire and I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the burning of an area, then roam around in it a day, a week, a month, etc. later. So far unfortunately I’ve only had this sustained contact with ecosystems that are quite degraded and would take many years of fire regime restoration and likely mechanical and herbicide treatments to get into good condition. So a lot of the things coming back up immediately are invasive and nuisance species.
But it is definitely very interesting to walk around a newly burned landscape. Depending on precipitation, fallen snags and stumps can keep flaming for days after. If you like seeing bones, the cleared forest floor makes them easy to find. Once, I saw a deer skull that was burned on one side, where the fire was advancing.
As for advice, I think it would be very important to make sure you’re not carrying any hitchhikers on your shoes and clothes into any recently burned area. It might be vulnerable to invasive species.


This is especially true if you are referring to the Maui wildfires. Hawaiian ecosystems are vulnerable enough even without having a fire.


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