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Good News/Bad News Following Fire at Shady Dell

A stand of trees, mostly Douglas fir, burned by the Usal Fire this week on Shady Dell. Photo by Richard Campbell
A stand of trees, mostly Douglas fir, burned by the Usal Fire this week on Shady Dell. Photo by Richard Campbell
If you’ve been following our social media over the last week or so, you’ve heard about the Usal Fire, which started July 27 and burned about 180 acres. About 150 acres of the fire took place on our Shady Dell property. The fire is now almost completely contained.

Here’s the good news: While the fire burned through most of the southern bluff, killing a number of Douglas fir and other trees, it didn’t get into Shady Dell’s old-growth redwoods. In particular, none of the candelabra redwoods, for which the property is famous, were effected. Crews from Cal Fire were able to hold the fire on this ridge largely due to fire breaks our staff built to protect the forest in situations exactly like that which occurred this week. Learn a little more about how these fire breaks are a part of our larger stewardship.

Now the bad news: While the property’s irreplaceable natural treasures were spared, our Peter Douglas trail through the property suffered serious damage. Because this makes for unsafe conditions, the trail will be closed indefinitely. Cal Fire crews will remain on site for another few days mopping up any remaining embers, so the park will remain closed until they are finished with their work.

We should add a big thank you to the folks at Cal Fire for their timely response to this fire. This is a remote site, and their rapid response made a big difference.

Learn more about our work at Shady Dell and sign up to receive email from the League to stay up-to-date with the latest redwoods news.


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Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.



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