Fires and Flowers

Wow.  It’s unbelievable.  We’ve all heard that forest fires help to promote the growth of new plants. Every nature program that comes down the pike regarding fire talks about the benefits of fire and the regrowth, but still.  It’s amazing to see. 

Last year the Angora fire blew through the neighborhoods under Angora Ridge and burnt  254 homes and 3500 acres which contained shelter for numerous forest creatures.  It was a shock to see when it was over. Emotionally devastating walking through a forest of ash and burnt sticks.  We all mourned the loss of our beautiful back yard.  For weeks after, planes dropped a sticky grey-green ground cover over the area, designed to keep the ash and dirt from running down the mountain when the fall rains and winter snows fell.  The constant drone from 7 am to 7 pm was a daily reminder that our forest was damaged.

 But now, eight months later, it is a very different picture. No one was prepared for the amazing amount of wildflowers that grew out of the ash, especially along the stream.  even in mid-summer, it is a mass of color, lush and vibrant.  The best and most clear sign that there is life after death.

 Of course the standard flowers have shown up, Lupine, Jewelflowers, Indian Paint Brush, Wandering Asters, Clarkia, Pussypaws, Phlox, Mountain Spirea, Penstemon, Mules Ears.  Those are pretty on their own. The yarrow has tripled its presence and goes for miles. Also making an appearance is Mountain Monardella, Marsh or Bog Mallow, Camas Lily, Bitter Dogbane, Larkspur, Cinquefoil, Monkeyflower, Geraniums, Cow Parsnips and Corn Lilies as far as the eye can see, False Solomon’s Seal, Nude Buckwheat and my own personal favorites, Pretty Face and the Mariposa Lily. And there is of course, fire flower. This is by no means a complete list, this is just what I remember.

So take a hike through the burn area.  Wander along Angora Creek and let the sight lift your spirits.

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