The CZU Fire in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, August 2020

This is a time of fear and sadness for many of us, as we witness the largest fires in San Mateo county in a generation. While naturalists like us recognize that many of these ecological communities evolved to experience regular fire events, it is still difficult to fathom that the places many of us have visited and lovingly documented, have been altered dramatically over the past week. We also know that many of our friends and neighbors are at risk, from both the fires and COVID.

We should, however, be grateful to each other for the extensive documentation we have done in the county - including in many of the areas affected by the burn, such as Pescadero Creek County Park, Gazos Creek Road, Butano State Park, and more. In under a decade, this project created a picture of what was present in San Mateo county through the first half of 2020. We will now watch and observe together as the forest responds to this event, and recover from the traumatic year of 2020.

Please stay safe and healthy. Don't interfere with first responders or park personnel.

Posted on 25 August, 2020 03:56 by gyrrlfalcon gyrrlfalcon


Thank you for this.

Posted by jmaughn over 3 years ago

Are you safe, James?

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 3 years ago

Yeah, I'm fine. The smoke was hard on my asthma, but that's been okay the past couple of days. It's just so hard to watch this.

Posted by jmaughn over 3 years ago

Yes. My wife Peggy has asthma too, so we've been careful about being outside at all, running air purifiers. But the heaviness in our hearts over these places we love, and the people whose lives have been turned upside down - there'll be no remedy for that other than getting back outside and seeing how nature rebounds.

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 3 years ago

Absolutely. I look forward to seeing you out there again one of these days.

Posted by jmaughn over 3 years ago

Hope everyone is safe and of course it is OK to be sad about what has been lost. However, I look forward in the coming years to documenting the regrowth. If you look at my observations over the last 6 or 9 months you'll see a bunch of observations from San Bruno Mountain (6 acre fire of 28 Feb 2020) and Mount Lassen (28,079 acre fire of 2012). Especially in the latter case it was really interesting to see where there were more tree seedlings and wildflowers and where there were fewer (short answer: more growth in the lower altitude part of the area which presumably also had more water).

Posted by jimkingdon over 3 years ago

Right - we have a lot of good documenting, observing, and querying to come!

Posted by gyrrlfalcon over 3 years ago

I am looking forward to seeing Whispering Bells again.

Posted by jmaughn over 3 years ago

The quality of data that will come of your past and future efforts will be absolutely outstanding. The dataset before the fires is so incredibly valuable and extensive that they should have so much to work with.

Hopefully they also use existing landscape shots to install those photo brackets they used to document recovery on Mount Diablo.

Posted by vermfly over 3 years ago

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