Monday, August 1, 2011

Wildfire Update: Re-seeding the Burned Areas

 The restoration effort continues over the land scorched by the wildfire last month. Day after day, semi- trucks full of grass seed arrive from the state of Washington.  They wait in line at our little airport to be unloaded into crop dusting planes that land on the run-way.

When the planes touch down, the workers quickly load the seed into the plane directly from the semi trucks.

Then the planes take off again and fly over the burn area.  Using computers, they coordinate the seed drops so that the whole area is covered evenly.  My understanding is that they try to spread 35 seeds per square foot.

The planes fly over my in-law's house all day long as they make their rounds. It's quite a sight to see.

 This is the heart of our monsoon season, and the daily rains probably help to germinate the seed that was dropped in the worst hit areas. As the grass takes root, it will anchor the soil and keep it from eroding off of the mountain.

The fire will scar the land for quite a long time, but in its aftermath is the promise of new life with the sprouting of fresh vegetation. The areas that burned the hottest resemble sterile moonscape now, but over time, they too will see new growth. I'm going to miss the mature trees and the beauty that they bring to the mountain.

The picture below shows the highway that acted as the fire line.  Everything to the left of the road was black a few weeks ago, and everything to the right was untouched by fire. The fire burned off the old grass, and the summer rains have brought forth new growth that is a brilliant shade of emerald green.


  1. This was indeed a devastating fire season. I am glad they have started the reseeding already! We did not get that good piece of news here in the Valley - I guess it is not as news worthy as the fire was. Sigh.

  2. I didn't know they did that after fires. Good to know. It is really something how the new growth takes off so quickly. :)

  3. in June, my family and I traveled through the area in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan that was burned by the Sleeper Lake fire a couple years was still a barren land, minus some undergrowth that had some back, for the most part there were no trees, not even seedlings...I am assuming that Michigan does not replant the way Arizona does...good to know that someone is concerned for restoring the land...