The Anderson Creek Fire started on March 22 and burned unfettered for days regardless of valiant efforts by hundreds of firefighters and at least 130 various fire units. In its wake were 400,000 scorched acres of rangeland and cedar stands. Although some homes and many miles of fences were destroyed, amazingly no people were killed. We are all so very thankful! We have enjoyed a few weeks of recovery thanks to some very strategic precipitation events. It's not surprising to see the rangeland bounce back so nicely since prairies depend not only on rain but also periodic burns for replenishment. This keeps invasives such as eastern redcedar from the uplands as well. What will be very interesting will be how the grasslands within cedar forests respond. This particular set of photopoints depicts the slow greening of the soil beneath such a cedar forest. Where soil chemistry has been changed from the cedars, it will be a slow and difficult recovery, but some greening is happening in this once quite sterile environment. Ideally, all these old dead skeletons can be removed if soil disturbance can be kept to a minimum. Erosion is going to be a serious issue so it is very important to see some plants establish as soon as possible. Although frustratingly slow in the cedar forest wasteland, it is happening.
|The prairie is responding spectacularly to |
the burn and the precipitation
in just four weeks. The cedar forest areas
are going to take a lot longer!
|April 7 about two weeks after this area burned|
|April 23, about a month after the burn|