It seemed like nuclear war zone. There wasn’t a tree in sight. The house I thought of as the “miracle” house stood on the hill solitary, alone, naked. I knew the trees around had been blackened by the Cold Springs Wildfire, but I didn’t expect them to be clear cut, leaving nothing, absolutely nothing.
It seems weird to say it now, but I’ve sort of gotten used to, maybe even seem some beauty in the “ghost forest” along Ridge Road that marks the closest a fire has ever gotten to our home in Nederland. In those early days of driving through the scar, it was shocking, and emotionally draining. But three months later, it just seems part of the forest. A dead forest to be sure, but still a forest. I really can’t remember what it looked like before anymore.
And part of that dead forest that was so intriguing is seeing the shapes of the burnt trees, seeing trees that got singed, but seemingly survived with green needles still adorning one half. And then the renewal of life as the green grasses, and young aspens started sprouting again. The whole burnt forest thing didn’t seem so bad anymore.
But then the orange stucco house clear cut their property — why? I don’t know. I can certainly understand clearing dead trees that would be within striking distance of their house if they fell. After all, dead snags are certainly more likely to fall in the famous Nederland winds than a healthy living tree. But a complete clear cut of the property? Wow, that’s pretty shocking. Some of you who read this blog were also affected by the Cold Springs fire – maybe you know something I don’t in terms of what kind of guidance or direction is being given.
I think one of the things that has often prevented property owners in the foothills from conducting proper wildfire mitigation is the fear that their property would be clear cut. That there would be no woods, no trees left to gaze upon. But if you’ve seen pictures of our home, which has been aggressively mitigated, you know that’s not true. We’ve cleared trees in the immediate vicinity so that our house would not be set on fire by a tree growing next to it. We’ve also cleared trees that could potentially fall on it during a windstorm. But there are plenty of woods and trees to enjoy from a seat on our deck.
As you can see from the two contrasting photos — a clear cut vs. mitigation are far two different things. Clear cutting really is a disruption and shock to the landscape. I sure hope there is good reason for it…