How Will Big Basin Redwoods Recover from Wildfire? Here’s a Beautiful Lesson from the Humboldt Redwoods

With the news that the Big Basin Redwoods State Park had suffered extensive damage from the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, many who enjoy the beautiful redwoods wondered the fate of the park. Certainly, the area will take years to reopen following the complete destruction of the park’s headquarters and visitors center. But if history tells us anything, the ancient redwood trees are much more resilient.

Some of the more than 2,000-year-old redwoods perished in the wildfire, an obvious result of the fast-moving fire along the Santa Cruz coast. Many more of the redwoods survived and still stand today, so how will the fire impact the beautiful forest in the years to come? A lesson from the Humboldt redwoods give us an example of what we can expect.

In 2003, the Canoe Creek Fire swept through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park with similar results, and 17 years later, the forest looks better than ever. Arborist John Harvey shared photos of the Humboldt redwoods standing today, showing a plush, green scene and the forest thriving like never before. It’s a lesson that shows the healing power of nature:

“I have seen a lot of people wonder what Big Basin will look like in the future and how it will change,” Harvey wrote on Facebook. “I have seen websites and people calling it a total loss. It is not.”

Harvey continued to explain the scenario surrounding the redwoods and the Canoe Creek Fire:

“I wanted to share these photos of the aftermath of the Canoe Creek Fire in Humboldt Redwoods. It scorched crowns and blackened trunks as well. 14 years later and the place looks spectacular. Yes large trees fell over many months as winter winds brought down what the fires started. The thing I love about this grove is the openness. The ground makes you want to lay down and fall asleep like a baby. It is so clear of debris and so soft…just little clovers and grasses, burnt and hollow trunks, and little sunrays that make it down to the ground. Open and bright and green. That’s the future…”

While the wildfire was tragic to watch in real time, torching the infrastructure of the beautiful state park, it will provide the forest an opportunity for regrowth to flourish like never before. In the next 10 years (or maybe sooner), expect to see a fantastic redwood experience once again in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Active NorCal

Northern California's Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine

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