After the Burn – 12/11/2016

December 2016.
Smoke from the Bigelow Prescribed Burn – taken from Speedway Boulevard in Tucson. December 2016.

The Forest Service was careful to publish information about the Bigelow Prescribed Burn well in advance – but even so it was hard not to be alarmed by the impressive amount of smoke that the fire was producing, easily visible from Tucson it generated plenty of questions and it was hard not to wonder if the controlled burn had somehow gone awry…

December 2016.
A small pine along the Bigelow Trail in the Bigelow Controlled Burn area – many of even the smaller pines still had green needles and appear to have survived the fire. December 2016.

Hiking up the Bigelow Trail from the Bigelow Trailhead the impact of the fire was obvious – black ground, black tree trunks.  I wasn’t until I reached the edge of the burn that I could really tell just how impressively effective the fire had been – fairly dense grass and shrubs cover the hill on one side / on the other the ground is remarkably clear.

December 2016.
Grass and shrub covered hillside on the left of the trail, burned – and cleared – ground on the right. December 2016.

We visited Kellogg Mountain just before the controlled burn – I wondered what impact the fire might have on the impressive thicket of New Mexico Locust growing near the top – but near Kellogg the Bigelow Trail was the edge of the fire and Kellogg Mountain was untouched.

December 2016.
Looking up at Kellogg Mountain from the Bigelow Trail – Kellogg was untouched by the Bigelow Controlled Burn. December 2016.

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