Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wallow Fire - Arizona's disappearing forests

Yes, I find the Wallow Fire upsetting. I spent two weeks on the Arizona Trail in April, and hiked through large burns. The worst were the incredibly striking Mazatzals. Clearly the area had basically been abandoned from a management perspective, had become seriously overgrown, and went up in a blaze in 2004 (Willow Fire). Here are some opinions. My view is these aren't cyclical/natural fires - the entire Mazatzal (and the entire Santa Catalina, etc.) range burned up in an inferno - in some areas, there's just nothing left. This is very different than a slow-moving ground fire or variation that clear out some young trees.

Which is happening now outside of Alpine. I hiked around the area a bit at the end of college. It's incredibly rugged country - and like most areas of Arizona I've hiked - it has a land-that-time/tourists-forgot feeling. It's out there - you don't do wolf reintroduction just anywhere. Few trails, and those that exist are overgrown. Few roads. Little management. And yes the forest was unnaturally dense for where it...

...was.

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