Beauty and Habitat Remain in Fire Area, a Patchwork of Effects
Incident: Carpenter 1 Wildfire
The Carpenter 1 fire is a mosaic of fire influences, NOT a black rectangle. Most landscapes have been created in part by wildfire. Fire plays its role differently in every neighborhood, depending on the vegetation, the topography, and the weather before and during that day’s fire.
Before settlement, the giant ponderosas of Kyle Canyon welcomed lightning fires every decade or so. Fire was a custodian of that forest, clearing away underbrush so the next fire would not grow severe enough to kill those trees. Thanks in part to fuels reduction work, Carpenter 1 crews could keep fire moderate and leave many live trees across Kyle Canyon.
Many hillsides further up the trails burned more severely in a natural cycle that should bring thick forest back only for our grandchildren. Other areas combine patches of live and burnt trees.
High on the South Loop trail, our bristlecone pine populations experienced a patchwork or mosaic of fire that left some populations untouched as the fire chased trees among rocks and outcrops.
Toward Lovell and Trout Canyons, some backcountry and wilderness areas of pinyon and juniper burned fiercely with crown fire leaping across treetops, leaving only ash shadows of trees.
Favorite vistas have renewed with new perspectives. Some look stark, but our perspective is just too short to recognize that forest communities redevelop with fire as one of many influences. Char turns charming in new green.
Homeowners are blessed to enjoy the tranquility of the canyon, but all visitors play a part in protecting the recreation forestlands we share. By scattering brush over firelines, crews lessened erosion impacts and visual scars where bulldozers worked on 300 acres of fire north of Kyle Canyon Road. Firefighters also picked up “microtrash” along their
firelines. Likewise, we forest visitors need to clean up after ourselves, leaving no trace as the land awaits the next visitor.