On July 23rd, a flat tire on a trailer sparked a fire in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. 39 days later, the fire that burned over 1,600 structures, claimed seven lives and torched 230,000 acres, including burning 39,000 of the 42,000 acres of Whiskeytown.
Now, after the fire has been fully contained for a month and a half, the forest is already beginning to regrow in the park. Whiskeytown officials posted photos on Facebook of blooming oak among the charred remnants of the trees. The baby oak were bright and full of life, especially as they sit in the midst of the surrounding ash. Here are the uplifting photos:
The park has reopened in a limited fashion, with hopes to have the entire park ready later this year, or possibly in early 2019.
The damage at the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area was extensive. Utility poles and power lines are down throughout the park and a sewage treatment plant was destroyed. At least seven cabins were destroyed at the popular N.E.E.D. Camp, an environmental camp for elementary students. Oak Bottom Marina was hit hard by the fire, including the destruction of over 40 boats.
Cleanup crews have been working hard to ensure the swift reopening of the park:
Residents and staff at the park in all operations were immediately impacted. By the end, 13 park employees lost their homes and more than half of park staff was displaced for periods from three to 21 days. Park law enforcement rangers were assisting with community evacuations while their own families were also being evacuated. Volunteers and colleagues in the cooperating association, friends group, and concessions were also facing hardships resulting from the fire.
This is just the beginning of what was a devastating blow to the park so many of us hold dear. But alas, the forest will regrow and be more beautiful than it ever was. And for that, we’re thankful.