A word about the San Gorgonio Wilderness after the fire...

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A word about the San Gorgonio Wilderness after the fire...

Postby zippetydude » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:07 pm

Okay, let me start with I was terribly saddened while we all watched the great plume of smoke rise from the San Gorgonio Wilderness during the Lake Fire. It was, after all, burning the South Fork drainage, my favorite place in the world outside of Yosemite. Internally, I mourned its loss.

Turns out I was wrong!

It is a different place, but it is a place that has been through this sort of fire many times through the past few million years. And it already knows what to do.

The trees, which are so beautiful and lovely, were dominant in the landscape. The ferns, the grasses, the wild flowers, which are also beautiful and lovely, were just waiting for this moment to arrive. They were waiting for fire to come and clear the path for them, so that they could proliferate and become a dominant force as well. The fire came, and they are celebrating. I have never seen so many flowers, such luscious ferns, so broad a grassy meadow, as the wilderness is now beginning to display. I will post pictures tomorrow.

I went for a visit today, and did a (previously impossible) xc trip up through the fire "ravaged" area (as in the manzanita, chinquapin and buckthorn were not impossible obstacles) and, while I do miss the trees, it was amazing to be able to navigate freely wherever I would without tall spiky barriers everywhere. I'm kinda beginning to understand where the annuals are coming from! :D No, I do not yet celebrate fire. But I am amazed and pleased that the wilderness is neither saddened nor lessened by the fire. It is merely different.

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Re: A word about the San Gorgonio Wilderness after the fire.

Postby RichardK » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:00 am

There are natural habitats that were regularly burned by lightning strikes. Plant and animal communities adapted to periodic fires. I've lived on the east coast of Florida for 2 years now. The state parks here have proscribed fires routinely set. A park ranger told me that, before the place was settled, a wildfire that started on one coast would burn across the state - coast to coast. Only a river or lake would stop it.
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Re: A word about the San Gorgonio Wilderness after the fire.

Postby Wildhorse » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:42 am

I don't know. Is history a tale of cycles, or is it true that it is just one thing after another, that one cannot step into the same river twice. The climate has changed. The human disturbance has been huge and has moved fast. Nothing will ever be the same. The forest is likely ended. Evolution by natural selection has been outpaced.
Last edited by Wildhorse on Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A word about the San Gorgonio Wilderness after the fire.

Postby zippetydude » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:50 am

I don't know either. From what Ed said has happened in Cuyamaca it is entirely possible that it's not going to cycle back around. I certainly hope that is not the case here. I wonder, with more research and a better understanding of how the natural system works, if it wouldn't be possible to burn off the brush there in Cuyamaca and deliberately reintroduce the former tree species to the area. For this forest, maybe plant trees and fight against the brush to give the trees a chance...Sure seems a shame to let a beautiful forest become a wasteland. Still, human intervention has seldom yielded the desired results without creating other, undesired results...so I don't know either. :(

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Re: A word about the San Gorgonio Wilderness after the fire.

Postby Wildhorse » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:08 am

In spite of all the potentially bad effects, the new growth of flowers is beautiful. Hopefully, the earth laughs in flowers, just as in Emerson's poem, and does not cry.

I wish we knew.
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