Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Golden Opportunities for Habitat Restoration after Wildfires in Deserts

Many conservation & habitat restoration ideas which are badly needed, would also provide work employment for many after such wildfires, but such mergency readiness planning is just too logical and that's not exactly how this world works. The outdoor jobs would also be a welcomed solution particularly for today's modern  youths who are ecologically challenged which is a condition brought on by Nature Deficit Disorder.

This photo provided by the Mohave Valley Fire District shows a fast
moving brush fire in Mohave Valley, Ariz., on Wednesday April 6, 2016.
 (Photo: Aossciated Press)

I woke up and read the News headlines in today's online San Diego Union Tribune about the potential for major fire hazard this year in San Diego County in California where El Nino didn't exactly go so well in SoCall as Scientists had predicted. The journalist mentioned how rains which brought averages to normal did nothing but make the brush wet and annual weeds grow big everywhere. This was followed by my reading updates on the Oklahoma/Kansa fire which is still going. But then there was yet another massive fire in the news and it was a desert wildfire at Topock Arizona which started early in the morning and jumped across the wide and wet Colorado River to the California side. Temps were in the 90s F (30s C), but winds were only 10 to 15 mph. Not exactly Santa Ana huricane type winds, but then fire also creates it's own wind storms within. Still, jumping the wide Colorado is incredible. Here are some pics below of the 1,438 acre wildfire. 

A wildfire flareup near Needles, Calif. on Wednesday.
San Bernardino County Fire Department photo via the
 Associated Press

These falmes are huge and burning in almost strictly moncultured invasive Tamarisk forests which have pushed out all other native vegetation along both sides of the Colorado River and backwater lagoons. For over two decades when I worked down in both Imperial and Coachella Valleys and also along the Colorado River at Yuma AZ and Bythe CA, I would see how easily a Tamarisk Wildfire would explode in the desert and rival anything people accused native chaparral of doing during fire storms. Here is some AP fire video footage with no sound: 
AP - Raw: Big Wildfire Near Arizona-California Border

A wildfire began in the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.
 (Source: Mohave Valley Fire District)

This event for me was reminiscent of what took place this past August 2015 near the same region at Topock AZ and Needles CA. That fire was much bigger and had higher winds pushing the flames north through intense overgrown invasive Tamarisk forests. 

ABC 15 News
Here is a ABC15 news map of the fire which started on the Arizona side across from Needles California at Topock and burned in a northeasterly direction towards Oatman Arizona on old Route 66.

(Source: Mohave County Division of Emergency Management)
I have provided some vidoes at the bottom which will explain why Tamarisk fires burn so fiercely. More than other native desert shrubs they create huge build up on dander underneath their canopies which easily catch fire. Might as well be another invasive called Cheatgrass.

Mojave Fire aftermath August 2015
After wildfires are golden opportunities that should not be passed up. I won't write any more on this as I have done so from the passed few years alreaady, but I have provided info in the links below.

Potential for extreme Wildfire with Tamarisk Forests
Wildfire on Arizona-California border grows to 1,400+ acres; 2 RV parks evacuated
Aug 11, 2015: Wildfire Evacuation Order Lifted For 900 Homes In Arizona

Important references and videos on Tamarisk (Salt Cedar) removal and desert riparian habitat restoration
Mesquite Dunes: Practical Solution to Tamarisk Removal & Replacement

Turning Badlands & Wastelands into Productive Wonderlands
Wastelands to Wonderlands - Part II
Lessons From a Mesquite Dune Project
Deep Irrigation Methods for Training Deeper Rooting networks

Removal and Control of Tamarisk Forests
AgriLife Research expert: Salt Cedar beetle damage widespread after warm summer
Video: Salt Cedar Beetle damge in the High Plains
Video: IPM: Salt Cedar Project
Video: Salt Cedar Beetles (10/26/13)

1 comment:

  1. We just drove out to Lake Cuyamaca yesterday. Saw lots of the burn areas. We found a campground and want to return there with our son and grandson. While there, I spotted a juvenile golden eagle and screamed for hubby to grabe the camera, but he was too slow and the eagle fly down into a gully. Apparently they use that area as a means to get to and from the lake?
    ~Cheryl Ann~


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