Succession: 4 yrs after fire 4

Title Info
Common name Pine, Ponderosa
Scientific name Pinus ponderosa
Taxonomic group Pinaceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Forests
Forests Temperate coniferous forest
Change over time Disturbance; Succession
Succession Secondary succession
Disturbance Fire ecology
Lessons Disturbance; Succession
Date July 15, 2000
Location Buffalo Creek,Colorado,USA,North America

Regrowth, four years after major forest fire, Colorado. In May, 1996, the Buffalo Creek fire struck Ponderosa pine forests in and around the Pike National Forest, burning approximately 12,000 acres (about 19 square miles or 5000 hectares). Here we see the random nature of fires like this; a couple of pine trees stand unharmed among dozens that were killed. Under natural conditions, these forests experience frequent low-intensity fires; however, like much of the US West, decades of fire suppression had allowed fuel loads of dead branches and undergrowth to build to dangerous levels and this fire was hot, intense, and fast moving. At one point, the fire ran 11 miles in four and a half hours. Two months later, a heavy storm dropped two and a half inches (about 6 cm) of rain on the burned landscape, leading to massive flooding that affected the water supply for Denver, which is downstream. This image shows how much regrowth, including young aspen, has occurred in this part of the Buffalo Creek fire area.