Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

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Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by jibler » Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:16 pm

I used to camp back in rampart area a lot in the 90s actually. but once i knew it was blown out i didn't go back at all until really last fall at raleigh peak.


what's going on people? it looked like it was ravaged by fire like 1 year ago - and that's the 96 buffalo scar.


but some of that is due to flash flood soil erosion - can that be contained?

and/or

is it more northern latitudes up there that might be more temperate hopefully?
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by peter303 » Thu Oct 29, 2020 9:27 pm

I was pleasantly surprised that Yellowstone mostly recovered from its huge fire of 1988. Many burn areas turned into meadows which will gradually become filled again with trees.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by cougar » Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:16 pm

It will take decades, if ever, to reforest, especially in the foothills where it's dry. Undergrowth, grass and shrubs come back, but not trees, except aspen. High Park burn area still has tons of burnt trees standing. It's the normal landscape now, although there are pockets of green. The 1978 wild Basin fire still has a notable open burn area with young forest coming up. I have seen trees sprouting up after both fire and flood on white pine mtn, which burned twice now, but also massive erosion.

Hopefully in the higher elevations the beetle kill got thinned out and a healthier forest follows, if anything was spared.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by ekalina » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:44 am

Lodgepole pine forests, which are ubiquitous in Yellowstone, respond rather well to high-intensity fires and can grow back quickly. Their cones need to be heated by fire before they can open. This mechanism is meant to give saplings a greater chance of having the sun and space they need to succeed, since the more mature trees that form the shady forest canopy might have burned down in the fire that opened the cones.

Ponderosa pine forests do not respond as well to high-intensity/crown fires. Low-intensity surface fires, which act to clear out accumulated debris on the forest floor and ladder fuels in the understory and make crown fires less likely, are more beneficial.

The following involves some conjecture on my part. The lower foothills of Colorado represent the edge of the Ponderosa pine's range, since they don't grow out on the plains. It is probably too warm and dry there for them. After a fire moves through that decimates the Ponderosa, it will be much warmer and drier until the forest can regenerate. Well, they grew there once, so they should come back eventually, right? But the world is getting warmer, and if the fires occur in an area that was marginal for Ponderosa pine growth to begin with, that extra 1–2 degrees of annual average temperature (along with the increased evaporation that comes with it) might be enough to prevent them from returning.

I hope I am wrong about that. If not, it is another reason we should work hard to reduce the likelihood of high-intensity fires in many of our Colorado forests. This means setting controlled, low-intensity burns, reducing fuel accumulations on the forest floor and removing beetle-killed trees, and yes, doing something to reduce the amount of climate warming, because managing forests better versus addressing climate change doesn't have to be an either/or approach.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by cottonmountaineering » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:50 am

the big 2020 fires burned with enough intensity to turn the soil into dust, not sure how well any of that will recover
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by Chicago Transplant » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:17 am

I hiked the Buffalo Mountain trail earlier this year and the trees along that trail from the 2018 fire still are covered in red fire retardant 2 years later.

As cotton noted, the soil from the fires this year was destroyed in many cases. If you drive through Glenwood Canyon you can see how devasted the soil is. There were some good photos on the Grand Junction paper's website:

https://www.gjsentinel.com/news/western ... b23ed.html

I have no idea how long recovery will be, but expect to see a lot of new aspen forests from the various fires in the future.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by stephakett » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:56 am

ekalina wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:44 am
The following involves some conjecture on my part. The lower foothills of Colorado represent the edge of the Ponderosa pine's range, since they don't grow out on the plains. It is probably too warm and dry there for them. After a fire moves through that decimates the Ponderosa, it will be much warmer and drier until the forest can regenerate. Well, they grew there once, so they should come back eventually, right? But the world is getting warmer, and if the fires occur in an area that was marginal for Ponderosa pine growth to begin with, that extra 1–2 degrees of annual average temperature (along with the increased evaporation that comes with it) might be enough to prevent them from returning.

I hope I am wrong about that. If not, it is another reason we should work hard to reduce the likelihood of high-intensity fires in many of our Colorado forests. This means setting controlled, low-intensity burns, reducing fuel accumulations on the forest floor and removing beetle-killed trees, and yes, doing something to reduce the amount of climate warming, because managing forests better versus addressing climate change doesn't have to be an either/or approach.
are there repercussions for human intervention to help regenerate the ponderosa population and encourage biodiversity?
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by ekalina » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:14 am

stephakett wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:56 am
are there repercussions for human intervention to help regenerate the ponderosa population and encourage biodiversity?
That's a good question. I don't know enough to say. There are a lot of examples from the past where humans intervened in ecosystems (e.g., suppressing all forest fires), thinking we knew enough to make an intelligent intervention, and it ended up having some pretty bad consequences. At this point though, some intervention with a careful approach is probably needed, especially in places where the soil has been burned away.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by espressoself » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:26 am

ekalina wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:44 am
Ponderosa pine forests do not respond as well to high-intensity/crown fires. Low-intensity surface fires, which act to clear out accumulated debris on the forest floor and ladder fuels in the understory and make crown fires less likely, are more beneficial.

The following involves some conjecture on my part. The lower foothills of Colorado represent the edge of the Ponderosa pine's range, since they don't grow out on the plains. It is probably too warm and dry there for them. After a fire moves through that decimates the Ponderosa, it will be much warmer and drier until the forest can regenerate. Well, they grew there once, so they should come back eventually, right? But the world is getting warmer, and if the fires occur in an area that was marginal for Ponderosa pine growth to begin with, that extra 1–2 degrees of annual average temperature (along with the increased evaporation that comes with it) might be enough to prevent them from returning.

I hope I am wrong about that. If not, it is another reason we should work hard to reduce the likelihood of high-intensity fires in many of our Colorado forests. This means setting controlled, low-intensity burns, reducing fuel accumulations on the forest floor and removing beetle-killed trees, and yes, doing something to reduce the amount of climate warming, because managing forests better versus addressing climate change doesn't have to be an either/or approach.
My girlfriend's parents built a house in the burn scar of the High Park Fire in 2014 and planted a dozen-or-so Ponderosa pines. In spite of diligently watering them (and fencing them off from the deer), only a handful of them have survived. Their property backs up to NF land, and we have only found two young Ponderosas in that area (both are growing out of rocks, which I think is interesting). The surrounding area looks barely any different today than the year after the fire. It's pretty sad, but I'm hopeful that it will come back eventually.

In contrast, we hiked up to Odessa Lake this year, where the trail passes through the Fern Lake Fire burn scar (which occurred the same year, 2012), and there was plenty of regrowth. There was certainly evidence of a fire there, but the forest seemed to be quickly coming back.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by thomasdavem1 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:47 am

Pretty sure the Rampart Range area got decimated by bugs/disease in 2016 as well. When I was there in late June there were massive piles set up of dead/diseased trees that had recently been cleared out. The forest service is still marking/tagging trees for removal.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by jibler » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:48 am

cottonmountaineering wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:50 am
the big 2020 fires burned with enough intensity to turn the soil into dust, not sure how well any of that will recover


I am hoping that the Troublesome moved fast enough that maybe that wasn't a total burndown?

is that possible?


because that was a seriously quick moving fire when it was going from NW of granby to the NE of town in like a day.
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Re: Dl you think new fires will leave burns scars like Buffalo and Hayman?

Post by ekalina » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:04 am

espressoself wrote:
Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:26 am
My girlfriend's parents built a house in the burn scar of the High Park Fire in 2014 and planted a dozen-or-so Ponderosa pines. In spite of diligently watering them (and fencing them off from the deer), only a handful of them have survived. Their property backs up to NF land, and we have only found two young Ponderosas in that area (both are growing out of rocks, which I think is interesting). The surrounding area looks barely any different today than the year after the fire. It's pretty sad, but I'm hopeful that it will come back eventually.
That is really interesting (and sad as well). I wonder why the Ponderosas they planted didn't make it. If we knew the answer to that, we might learn a lot about what the natural Ponderosa pine forests need to regenerate.

I remember hiking Sugarloaf Mountain (Boulder County) several years ago and noting the area's large meadows. At the time, I thought maybe it was always like that, but then I read about the Black Tiger Fire that burned through the area (including many homes). That fire was 31 years ago.
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