Thursday, August 18, 2016

Forest Fires | Grand Canyon | north rim | Arizona

Controlled burns in forests are often necessary to consume the accumulated debris from trees, which sometimes reduces wildfires.

In 2006 thousands of acres of Ponderosa pines burned near the road leading to the Grand Canyon, 2% of the area was hot enough to kill pine stands. 

 Since Aspen trees grow from roots, unlike most trees, they will get more sun after these burns and will produce more trees. There are hundreds of small Aspen growing in the area of this burn. When they get tall enough, they may provide shade for conifers to grow. 

There was a recent large burn near the north rim of the Grand Canyon, reported to have been started by lightning, as it had been in monsoon season. Over 14,000 acres were involved and fire crews tended to the fire, but allowed it to burn in controlled areas. I'm hoping that the controlled and managed burns lessen the impact on the animals in the area.
Shortly after the area in the Grand Canyon was opened to tourists again, I drove one of the roads that was quite involved. I could actually smell the burned area and noticed that small portions of the road had been scorched.

This is one way of getting rid of accumulated debris in forest.  These will be burned during the dry season.

This last photo shows how they thin out trees that have grown too close together, they leave the taller, healthier trees.  This tree cutting also adds to the piles that will be burned in the future.

This photo shows Aspens with pine trees in the background.

I have noticed that Aspens grow sometimes in tight groupings, as shown above and in the photo below.  I imagine the reason is that they grow from their roots, rather than seeds.

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