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Photos of fire damage on the walls of Gorge

 
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windfind



Joined: 18 Mar 1997
Posts: 1323

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Photos of fire damage on the walls of Gorge Reply with quote

Hi Gang,

The 2 week 50,000 acre fire through the most beautiful section of the Gorge is still smoldering and 46% contained.

Here is a link to photos I shot yesterday from near Hood River to near Rooster Rock.

https://windnotes.smugmug.com

Just scroll and click thumbnails to get to images and to see blow ups of each photo.

Driving thorough the Gorge you don't see much fire damage along the highway. Most of the destruction is in the waterfall laced canyons and on walls and ridges of the Gorge.

The great kiting and windsurfing will still be the same but part of the beauty will not return for decades.

Mike



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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18332

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frankly, I'm very relieved. If those shots are typical of the fire damage visible to the masses, it's not the aftershock I expected. I've lived at the feet of multiple serious mountain ranges, and expect vertical dirt/rock walls to be bare. Let's hope this region follows suit with the national parks that recovered years to decades ahead of expectations after devastating fires. After all, it's not like this or any other forest hasn't burned to the ground hundreds or thousands of times in their pasts. The major difference now is the communities, and they seem to have been largely saved by the firefighters and Mother Nature this time. Isn't building in a forest a crapshoot much like building on the seashore or on a flood plain, in that ya pays yer money and takes yer chances?

In no way am I implying it's not a tragedy, but it's a foreseeable tragedy with many partial solutions ... one of which is prosecuting the idiots -- including their parents if allowed in this state -- whose fireworks triggered some of the fire(s).
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 9591

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In many cases, fires lead to an explosion in wildlife. Native Americans used controlled burns to increase habitat for deer, among other food sources. Thinning forests can be healthy for the remaining trees. It is hard to tell from the pictures how much remains, and how many will be able to regrow. But thanks for posting them.
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rigatoni



Joined: 25 Feb 1999
Posts: 399

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Link below has some aerial shots of the burned areas that gives you and idea of the damage as well. So sad.

http://www.oregonlive.com/wildfires/index.ssf/2017/09/flight_over_eagle_creek_fire_r.html
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DanWeiss



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 2210
Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some conifers drop seeds primarily when exposed to fire. I'm uncertain what flora exist in particularity, but burn areas ofter show significant improvement in one season. My concern with much of the Eagle Creek burn area is unrelenting soil erosion over the winter and spring, before new growth gets a stronghold on the top layers.

What's the past experience with even limited burns in the Gorge? There were several during my two summers there nearly 30 years ago and appeared to show no evidence 5 years later.

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windfind



Joined: 18 Mar 1997
Posts: 1323

PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dan,

Yes there are some conifers and many herbaceous plants, like fireweed, that have their seeds activated by fire. So from an ecologic perspective fire is a normal and restorative process. And ecological succession has a certain beauty.

However from a short lived human perspective the beauty of the many canyons with majestic 100+ year old trees and the lush under canopy of ferns, Oregon grapes, tiger lilies will not be restored in our lifetimes.

Despite the ecological benefits there are many, like myself, who moved there in part due to that beauty and the great hiking and backpacking less than a hour from home. And that is gone.

Mike Godsey



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