Much of my work for the second half of the week is still affected by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire of last summer. Combustibility of the forest is a major concern. Vegetation management is now a priority. Fire roads must be cleared. Trees that are too close to buildings or hang over roofs must be removed. I am not accustomed to condemning trees at such an accelerated rate.

Resources have been reallocated. Some maintenance has been deferred. Even without fresh seasonal annuals, flowers continue to bloom, but I am not out there to see much of them.

1. Charred remains of a neighbor’s home fill a bin that should otherwise be filled with greenwaste. Even common trash would be better. The forest smells burnt rather than like fallen leaves.

2. Perennial pea roasted during evacuation, before I flagged a rare white bloomer for relocation while dormant in winter. Although briefly regenerating, they all look the same without bloom.

3. Nightshade is not a bothersome weed. It is just unappealing. It somehow looks gloomy. I suppose that it could be pretty in the right situation, perhaps in a vase with some autumn flowers.

4. Muppets do not grow here. This is just a wet and deteriorating thistle of some sort. It should have been cut down before bloom. More significant vegetation management is now a priority.

5. Cottonwood colored well for autumn. Bigleaf maple and birch are just as colorful. Sweetgum is still mostly green, but ultimately develops the best variety of color. It really is autumn here.

6. Mud proves it! From Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning, it rained for the first time since spring. The few dirty raindrops during the Fire do not count. Anyway, the rain was grand!

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


20 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: After The Fire

    1. We get it pretty good when it happens. It just does not happen often. My former neighborhood in town got about a foot of rain annually. This area, just a few miles away, gets twice or three times as much. I am looking at real estate in the Mojave Desert that gets about four inches.

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    1. This is a chaparral climate. Even here, not many understand how that works. (Most people here are from more normal climates.) People in San Jose and particularly Los Angeles think that planting a tree is good for nature, when in fact, the abundance of trees that are in both regions now is very unnatural. (We still like trees and landscapes though.) Fire prevention is not possible in the forests and chaparral woodlands. Fire is as natural as the weather. We can only attempt to keep fire at a safe distance. Our region was clear cut harvested a century ago, and has since regenerated with vegetation that is unnaturally combustible. Unnatural intervention is necessary to live here. President Trump was vilified for saying that Californians should have been more proactive with vegetation management. However, he was correct. My ancestors lived with the risks of living here. Of course, fires, floods, mudslides, earthquakes and such were not as hazardous before so many millions of people migrated in afterwards. We all know the risks, but people continue to live in the riskiest regions. We can not blame President Trump for that.


    1. This year, we are concerned about debris flows in the areas that burned. Once the rainy season starts, it will not likely be fun for long. Typically, by the time we start to get annoyed by the rain, it is spring, and the end of the rainy season.


    1. In my region, I am more concerned with cutting trees down than planting more. Mismanagement of the forest after clear cut harvest is why it is more combustible than it should naturally be. This mismanagement is not necessarily the result of neglect, but in many situations, because of the lack of selective harvesting, which is outlawed in many regions. The forests regenerated with a vast abundance of pioneer species, which are innately more combustible than the redwoods. Because the forests were harvested within such a limited time, the regenerating vegetation is at about the same degree of maturity. Redwoods are detrimentally crowded as well.

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    1. Fire is an integral component of the ecology here. There were too many trees prior to the fire, which is why it burned so unnaturally hot in areas. The forest will be healthier as it regenerates. It would prefer to burn more often than it does. The trees that we are losing here did not burn, but are being removed prior to future fires. If a fire moves through here, we want to keep it away from the buildings as much as possible.

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  1. Condemning trees must be hard but then as you say in comments vegetation management is the key. On a positive note it is a good to be part of sorting things out for the future. Best wishes for it all, I’m sure there will be sad moments.

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    1. It is unpleasant when I must condemn a tree that I like, or an unusual specimen. However, I would rather do it myself than get another arborist to do it. I know a few other arborists who are at least as sensitive and respectful of trees as I am, but even they lack history with these trees. Goodness, I should not talk like that. Another arborist really would be nice here. (I have too much other work that I should be doing.)


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