Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The aftermath

Part of my assignment yesterday, since the Visitor’s Center was closed because of the burn, was to document photographically the before the burn, the burn, and after the burn. 


This was the entrance to the Dees Trail before the burn.  Last night, I posted pictures of the prescribed burn.


So, today I walked the Dees Trail to document the difference.  You can notice in this shot that the fire crew really knows how to do their stuff.  The trail through the woods, savannah, and along the bayou remained untouched; while everything to each side of the trail was toast.


Even the signs along the nature trail remained unscathed.  This plot of saw palmetto will soon rejuvenate itself.  The smallest signs with trail arrows along the way showed not one sign of fire.  A very professional burn in my estimation.


My post last night garnered several questions which I’ll address tonight.  The first was about the goal of this burn.  Was it to kill the vegetation or all living things?  The goal was to burn off the vegetative understory, and try to eliminate woody plant growth.  Since this is the last large tract of wet pine savannah in existence, fire is a necessity to accomplish this.  Ideally, a burn like this should happen every three years.  In nature, these burns would have occurred naturally mostly caused by lightening. 


As for the other life forms found here, most mammals have the opportunity to escape the blaze.  Birds fly away for a time, lizards climb the trees, but some insects don’t make it.  Crows and egrets often move in after a burn to take advantage of those roasted insects.  Because of the moist soil of the savannah, most of the carnivorous plants survive since their roots are not damaged.  Those plants indigenous to the wet pine savannah generally thrive after a burn.  I’m not sure if the Henslow’s sparrow is endangered or not, but it is certainly a species of concern.  That sparrow winters here on the refuge, and gravitates to recently burned areas.

IMG_0969Ultimately, the concern of this refuge is for the Mississippi sandhill cranes.  Without prescribed burning, the open wet pine savannah would become overgrown with understory, and the cranes would cease to exist.  Both the cranes and the wet pine savannahs are endangered.  Everything is so inter-related.  Did you know that the Mississippi sandhill crane is the rarest bird species on earth?  That’s what I’ve been told.  Extinction is forever, so I support the efforts of this refuge.

IMG_0970The flames move very quickly through the understory, but some of the old downed trees remain smoldering for several days.  All this ash really adds nutrients to this acidic soil.  Some readers asked about all the smoke that was involved.  I was able to avoid most of that by staying up wind, but there was a definite campfire smell to the area overnight until today’s winds dissipated that.


As for my neck, my treatments of ibuprofen, ice packs, and dark chocolate pecan clusters is slowly making inroads on my pain.  Can you guess what my favorite part of the treatment is?  Open-mouthed smile 

IMG_0974 IMG_0975

I also made another discovery today and learned something new.  Do you have any idea what these are?   I’ll chat about these interesting artifacts tomorrow because this post is more than long enough already.


Thanks for stopping by…. talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Thank you for following up on the burn questions and comments. Glad to hear that your neck is slowly getting better. You might need some more chocolate treatments.

  2. I think I read somewhere that dark chocolate pecan clusters are so curative that the drug companies will go to any lengths to keep the facts hidden!

  3. Hmmm...I know it looks like a clay plant pot, but I'm wonder if it has something to do with an irrigation system?

    Those burns always amaze me, especially when they are used to fight forest fires. I remember my dad always dumping the ashes for our fireplace into the garden and my mom always having a beautiful lush flower beds!

  4. Once again, thank you for the additional information about the burn. I knew they did it in order to help everything survive but never stopped to think about the roots of the plants.
    Definitely you need more of the chocolate. For several days after you think you feel okay, too.

  5. Dark chocolate pecan clusters - no wonder my stiff neck lasted so long, I didn't have any. That sounds so good right now.

    Very interesting explanation of the burn, and great photos. You are in so many interesting areas.

  6. Really liked the info on the burn, very informative. We have burns in the forests of the Cascades also, gets rid of the undergrowth and new shoots come up for grazing animals, ie: deer/elk. But didn't know it benefits some birds also.

  7. Very interesting post. I enjoyed the photos and your commentary about the burn.

    Hope your neck continues to improve. Lots of Vitamin "C" (chocolate)!!!

  8. I know what they are used for, but I will let you explain it. I'll just say that it has to do with pine trees and turpentine. Very interesting.

  9. I wonder if chocolate pecan clusters help with back aches too :-))) Thanks for following up on the burn; it never ceases to amaze me that fire can be controlled in such a way that it helps rather than hurts nature.

  10. That really is a controlled burn. They did a nice job.

  11. Great info on the burn. Pretty interesting stuff.

  12. I think you did a very good job explaining the necessity of prescribed burning. I admit to having “problems” with this type of forest management practice over the years but after spending time at Congaree this past winter, I now have a much better appreciation for the reasoning.

    I had no idea the Mississippi Sand Hill Crane was so very rare, thanks for that information too.


  13. Very good info on what a "prescribed burn" is for...and the pictures really helped to understand it....For your neck, I also recommend doing a "Redi-Whip" shot immediately after the chocolate..Just shake the can, open your mouth and squirt it directly in. This also helps loosen up your neck if you tip your head back....just sayin'.

  14. Very interesting post and as usual, the pictures are great. I learned a lot from your documentation on the burn, thanks for taking the time to share it.

  15. Next time i get a stiff neck I'll remember the chocolate pecan clusters!

    Good information about the burn. I like to learn something new every day.

    I never gave a thought to roast insects as being a tasty treat for the birds.

  16. It is amazing how they control what gets burned. Glad to hear the neck is better, I'll have to remember to add chocolate to my regime next time I have a bout - great idea! :)

  17. I'll bet that the dark chocolate pecan clusters are your favorite part of the treatment. What an interesting post...your knowledge impresses me. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Good choice in medicine! I don't think I'll be able to meet up with you, I may not leave Tampa until Wednesday. If the RV is ready on Monday, I will stay in their campground for 2 nights and they also have a Driver Confidence Course for free that I would attend before leaving here.

  19. Thanks for the information on something my nose would definitely not enjoy. Of course, that would make the rest of me not enjoy it also. I do however realize the benefits...

    So glad to know you are reaping the benefits of all the treatments for your neck! I hope you are switching off arms and hands in the reaching tho.... =/