Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Year After the Fire

Last year on July 30, 2005, I was in the valley up near the forks of the Don when I noticed smoke billowing nearby. I came across a grass fire underneath a hydro corridor just east of the DVP. It wasn't very dangerous as there was almost no wind and the fire department arrived within 20 minutes to put it out. The fire was noteworthy for me because it inspired me to create the Don Watcher blog. I posted pictures of the fire and of the aftermath.

After the fire

Same place, one year later

I kept this place in mind because I wanted to see what effect it may have had on the vegetation. This year I visited again and took some comparison photos. As you can see the burned area has been replaced with mostly invasives such as Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota). I thought one result may have been to stimulate new pine growth but there is no evidence of that. The existing pine trees that were singed have not recovered very well.

This year there has been a fair amount of rainfall and this has stimulated some new growth. The path underneath the wires was bare last year but now sports several patches of Beggar-ticks (Bidens frondosa). Also there is one small patch of sunflowers (see below) growing at the edge of the burned area that wasn't there last year. So maybe a little bit of good came of the fire.

Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)

While the benefit of controlled burns has been demonstrated in High Park, don't expect this technique to be used in the Don. The existence of overhead wires and underground pipelines in the valley makes this unfeasible.

Enbridge doing work on their gas pipeline, near Beechwood Drive.

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