Last September’s fire changed the face of our mountain (Santaquin Peak).
Walking on the mountainside this morning, I could still smell smoke at times and ashes were so thick in some places that nothing had yet grown through. For Nature, however, nothing is final. After the white woodland stars and blue larkspurs and yellow arrowleaf balsamroot flowers I saw up there last month, there were new wildflowers aplenty today.
some sort of composite (that’s what my friend Sam, a botanist, taught me to say when asked about similar flowers)
salmon gilia and (I think) fireweed
fireweed for sure!
not sure about these little beauties
another composite and flax
not sure about these plants, flourishing in a hollow the fire jumped over
thistle and shadow photographer
this section of the mountain devastated . . . or why not say radically altered? this too is a state of nature
new life in the ashes. my finger for relative size. a tiny fawn walked through these ashes last night or this morning. life goes on
What I know about wildflowers I learned while riding mountain bikes with Sam Rushforth. One summer we watched a section of Mt. Timpanogos just inside Provo Canyon recover from a wildfire. New sprouts from scrub oak roots within days. (This and much more revealed in our book, Wild Rides and Wildflowers: Philosophy and Botany with Bikes)
About ten years ago, our scrub oaks and maples in Woodland Hills leafed out nicely. Weeks later there wasn’t a leaf to be seen. Canker worms ate them all. What did the trees do? They simply grew second sets of leaves. Life goes on.
As difficult as it seems, fires are part of the normal cycle of nature. The intensity and hectares burned are increasing in many areas though, and that is a huge concern.
part of the climate-change related problem with our fires was the intense western winds and high temperatures in September — normally past the expected fire season
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