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Soberanes Fire Burns in the Redwood Region

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At the time of writing, the Soberanes Fire has burned over 60,000 acres in Monterey County and is about 45% contained. The fire area covers much of Garrapata State Park, a scenic and rugged redwoods park at the southern end of the coast redwood range. We don’t yet know whether, or to what extent, the park’s redwood groves are suffering damage; and while the primary concern is for the well-being of nearby human communities, it’s interesting to consider the implications of fires like this in the redwood forest.

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One year after a wildfire, burnt redwoods regrow foliage. Photo by Benjamin S. Ramage

Re-Sprouting After Fire

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Last weekend, while I was hiking in the forests of Northern California with strong winds and thunder and lightning storms, I was reminded that we are entering fire season. While the thought of forest fires often stir fear in us … Continued

Ferns Flush First after Fire

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On October 14th last year, a wildfire burned four acres of coast redwood forest at Roy’s Redwoods Preserve in Western Marin. Despite this fire blazing after many cumulative months of dry weather, fire fighters quickly contained the burn and only … Continued

This redwood grove on a League-owned Napa County property will get protection from extra-intense wildfires.

Fierce Fires Pose Threats to Forests, Water

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It’s fire season again. Last week, the local news reported on a 2,500-acre fire in Napa County, just east of the redwood range and Save the Redwoods League’s property near Bothe-Napa State Park. As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, … Continued

My colleague Richard Campbell tries to make his way uphill through the thick brush.

Protecting Our Land Through Restoration

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During my annual monitoring visit to one of our lands, I noticed thick brush growing up around the redwood forest. Something would need to be done about it! California’s drought has brought dry conditions that create an increased chance for … Continued

Left, Cape Vizcaino in 1947, with meadows clearly visible. Right, the present view, with trees encroaching heavily.

Burning Cape Vizcaino

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The view from the picnic table was grand to be sure, the blue infinities of sea and sky meeting where the distant fog gathered offshore (and coastal fog, when you think about it, really is the perfect blend of the … Continued

Native American Use of Fire

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In discussing fire, it is important to think about who managed the forests before us, and how that has influenced what the forests look like today. Many different Native American groups lived throughout the redwood region, each utilizing the natural … Continued

Fire-suppressed sequoia grove – note the large fire scar on the giant sequoia on the right.

Setting Fire to the Forest

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We’ll do all the law’s allowin’/Tomorrow I’ll be right back plowin’/ settin’ the woods on fire —Hank Williams In a recent post, I discussed the role of natural disturbance in creating the forests we see today. This week, I’d like … Continued

The ancient tree known as “Treebeard” has often been used as a traveler camp, and though burned from the inside many times, it has survived with some portions left dead from the fires. Photo by Mark Andre, Environmental Services

Old-Growth Redwood Burns in Arcata

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“Transient Camp Causes Fire in Old-Growth Redwood Tree,” reads the headline posted by the City of Arcata at www.arcataeye.com. The fire did not damage just any old redwood.  It burned (and is apparently still burning) in ‘Treebeard,’ a redwood estimated … Continued

Giant Sequoia

25 Years of Controversy amid the Monarchs

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I just got back from a trip to see the cinnamon-colored giants of Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest in the southern Sierra. It was a real treat to explore a giant sequoia grove for the first time, especially when accompanied … Continued

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