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Creek Running North

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June 29, 2005


I took this photo two years ago in the Mid-Hills Campground in the Mojave National Preserve.

This week, the campground - and more importantly, the lush pinyon-juniper forest that surrounded it - was damaged by fire. I don't yet know the extent of the damage.

The book demands I head down there in a few weeks, to see what there is to report. Local anti-environmentalists are already complaining that the Park Service is to blame, for removing cattle from the park. As if cattle weren't to large degree responsible for the influx of invasive grasses that fed this fire. As if the Park Service was responsible for the hundred-year rain this winter, that fed the grasses.

I console myself that the Joshua trees at Cima Dome, the centerpiece of my book, weren't hit. But fire season isn't over yet.

Fire season hasn't even started yet. This could get ugly.

Posted by Chris Clarke at June 29, 2005 10:33 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Is that cheatgrass, Bromus tectorum?

Here in the lush East, our own nemesis is the invasive alien Microstegium vimineum (Nepalese browntop/Japanese stiltgrass/Chinese packing grass). It's become a virtual monoculture in previously diverse environments, in part because overpopulations of white-tailed deer eat everything else except for microstegium. Apparently in the Great Smokies it's quite a problem.

And since it dies in the late summer producing huge stands of combustibles, it's certainly possible that it could become a fire problem in our normally dry autumns.

Posted by: Wayne at June 30, 2005 07:05 AM
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My homies back in NM tell me there's a big fire in AZ that's blowing their way, aggravating allergies and such. I remember how terrible this time of year was there, with fires breaking out almost every day somewhere. Usually due to fireworks or cigarettes.

Nothing so dramatic here, just a tunnel collapse, that might upset traffic flow for some time to come. And Live 8 is tomorrow...

Posted by: KathyF at July 1, 2005 03:20 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs