What you see here is an image of one of the burned areas of Yellowstone National Park.  This particular area was burned in the fires of 1988 and the amount of snags still standing is remarkable.  Even more remarkable is the next image.

This is an image of the new growth.  Keep in mind this is a National Park and you have to remember 2 things:

1.  When fires happen, the Park Service policy is to let the fires burn.  They will only try and control or contain a fire if it’s threatening lives or structures.  In the 1988 fires they had a heck of a time saving Cooke City, MT, but they did it.

2.  The growth you see is absolutely natural.  These saplings, averaging 8 to 12 feet in height, were not planted by humans but regenerated by natural processes.  A characteristic of the Whitebark Pine trees in this area is that fire is really the only way for the seed pods to be released to regenerate.  It’s also the best way to control and eliminate pine bark beetles of the sort that have decimated forests in Colorado.  Which brings us to the moral of the story:

I think the Park Service is onto something.  I know a lot of folks that have built gazillion dollar homes up in the woods won’t like hearing that but I can’t find words to explain how depressed I get when I look at the forests of Colorado and see 85% of the trees dying from bark beetle damage.  So as I’ve said before and will say again…Let ‘er Burn!

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