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The groundhog said we would have six more weeks of winter.  But this is what it has looked like around here for almost a week now.

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That is .. if there's adequate rain.

I agree Dale.  Yes Charles!  LOL

Dale, you are right about the resurgence of life after the fire.  I was in Yellowstone the year before and the year after the great fire.  The year after we saw much more wildlife than the year before the fire.  Why?  Because before the fire the ground was covered with debris and litter that had built up for many years making it difficult for new growth to get started.  Without controlled burning or natural forest fires that litter and debris just keeps building up.  It chokes out new growth.  The year after the big fire there was a tremendous amount of new growth for the wildlife to graze on.  The animals didn't have to spread far and wide looking for graze.  One thing we saw the year after the fire that we had never seen before in multiple trips to Yellowstone was the baby buffalo calves.  The cows were grazing on the lush new growth and of course the calves were with them.  One thing the park rangers told me was that they didn't lose much wildlife to the fire.  They said that they lost more to the winter than they did to the fire.  All that litter and debris provided a tremendous amount of fuel for the fire which is what made it so big and so hard to put out.  Controlled burning is a good thing.  It consumes the debris before it can build up so much.

Fires tend to make things more fertile, certainly, & do things like clear detritus from forest floors.  For a long time people fought fires because they only focused on the destructive capacities of those fires, which only led to more detritus building up, the fires being far more devastating when they finally, inevitably occurred. Some people realized what the problem was early on, but it took a lot to convince those in power & those who had something to lose that sometimes you just have to have fires.

Which is to say, people were able to control and thereby impact these environments, often on rather large scales, but it turned out they were doing the wrong thing and having a negative impact on the environment.  Eventually, the powers that be listened & acted accordingly, controlled burns became the standard practice, & the more environmentally sound proposition eventually became conventional wisdom (despite its counter-intuitiveness in smaller, more local contexts).

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