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How Did the Earth Survive Before We Fought Fires

September 1, 2013
Fire Map

Fire Map

The large wildfire in central California continues to spread.  The area has not burned in several years so the fire is impossible to extinguish in rough terrain.  Some people are concerned about a grove of historic redwood trees near Yosemite for fear the fire might damage them.  I’m of the mind that if you love the redwoods then let the fire burn.

The redwoods were designed for fire.  These same trees saw fire for hundreds of years before we tried to extinguish fire across the face of America.  Eventually the fuel supply will grow so high that even the redwoods cannot be protected.  If we are not going to let the fire burn now, then when is the right time?  When will we let fire consume the accumulated fuel on the forest floor?  When will let fire thin the small trees that provide a living network of food for forest-killing insects?  It is never the right time for our litigation hungry environmentalists.  Fortunately, nature won’t wait.

Frequent wildfire spreads slowly and irregularly.  This one will move hot and fast.Rim fire

I grew up among the redwoods.  My grandfather had a dozen coastal redwoods on his property.  The trees were hundreds of years old.  Maybe more.  One of the trunks had been hollowed out as a crude shelter and the tree remained alive.  We kept garden tools inside that one tree.  There were scorch marks on the inside of the tree so I assume someone used fire to carve out the heartwood long ago.about like this tree

The hollowed tree was alive when my mother was a young girl.  I swept up redwood litter until I went away to college and the tree was alive when I left.  Doesn’t everyone use a giant tree as a tool shed?

I’d forgotten about the tree until I read of this fire.  It sparked a memory.


Say what you will.


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