El Dorado Forest After the King Fire

Yesterday the dogs and I drove to my son and DIL’s house to go on a hike. We drove up Ice House Road into part of the El Dorado National Forest that burned from last year’s massive King Fire, parked the truck, and started walking down one of the dirt roads. We found stunning beauty and tragic devastation at the same time. Eventually we made our way down to the South Fork of the American River, finding a new spot that M & K are putting on their personal favorite-place maps.

I have lots of landscape and flower photos. For dog fun you can check out Rusty’s blog–after I am finished and he can get on the computer.DSC_5678We stopped along the road in a beautiful park like landscape with lots of wildflowers…DSC_5793 …but when you look up you realize that all the trees are dead.DSC_5676 I ID’d some of the flowers. Yellow Star Tulip, Calochortus monophyllus.

Miner's lettuce

DSC_5694 This one I don’t know and if I take time to try and find them all I’ll never get outside.

DSC_5699 Pretty face, Triteleia ixioides.

Iris

Some kind of iris.

Rhus sp ? Sugarbush

This looks like Sugarbush (Rhus species) when I looked it up but that is in S.CA so I don’t know which species this one is.

monkey flower

Monkey flower.

We saw all those flowers on the way to the river.DSC_5757Sam and Kirin are strong swimmers and spent their time going after the toy that Matt kept throwing for them.DSC_5762Notice where my dogs are. Rusty spent most of his time looking at sparkles in the rocks, Ginny went in the water but was intimidated by the big dogs and the deep water and Maggie lives in her own world (did you see her on the right?)DSC_5780Walking back to the truck.DSC_5672These trees are dead but this gives a glimpse of what the forest might have been like if periodic fires had been allowed to burn during the last century. When fire burns light brush and debris off the forest floor it opens the forest up to light and allows other vegetation to grow, at the same time preventing the fires from burning into the tops of the trees. Wouldn’t this be a beautiful site if this had been a much less damaging fire and the vegetation cycle was just starting all over without having killed the trees?DSC_5800 The King Fire that burned 97,000 acres was human set. It was not an accident. It was set on purpose. My son and DIL work for the US Forest Service and were directly involved with the suppression of this fire that burned only a few miles from their home.DSC_5802It had tragic consequences for people who lost their homes and was a devastating blow to the El Dorado National Forest. There were peripheral impacts as well to thousands of people who have nothing to do with actually working as fire fighters or who live in the forest. Think of it as a ripple effect. We were on one of those ripples. My other son took the summer off from his regular job on the El Dorado Hotshot crew so that he could compete in the Tahoe Ironman. He had trained to be at the top of his game. The event was cancelled just moments before it was to begin due to the horrible smoke in the Tahoe Basin. Here is the story I wrote then. This is one tiny example of how something impacts lives far removed from the actual horrific event. Imagine the number of weddings, vacations, jobs, etc that were impacted over the course of this fire activity.  And all of those things pale in comparison to the direct consequences of the fire–the environmental impact, loss of property, etc.

Whew! I didn’t intend to go there with this post. Let’s move on.DSC_5795 The oaks surprised me. The fire didn’t kill them.DSC_5799   I’m curious to know if they will remain when (if?) this area is logged. 

The next photos are the scene we drove through to get to where it looks much prettier.DSC_5814These areas are being logged to remove the dead trees while there is still value in the lumber. This is an interesting article about the post-fire logging and rehab. DSC_5815 

DSC_5811This is a demonic looking machine. At the end of this long arm there are claw-like grippers and a chain saw. DSC_5821 A sad landscape.

R

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