Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

It Is Fire Season in the Sierra

FireSmokeYosemite: Smoke from late-summer managed fire in Yosemite National Park. Date unknown.

Smoke from late-season managed fire in Yosemite National Park. Date unknown. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell.

Yesterday’s story in SFGate (All 4 trails to top of El Capitan blocked as over 400 acres burn) and the very dry conditions I noticed on yesterday’s short Bay Area hike remind me that fire is a natural part of the California scene this time of year.

I’ve posted before about how much I love late season (end of August, September, early October) in the Sierra. Frankly, this is my favorite time in the Sierra – not that I exactly dislike the other seasons… ;-) But around and especially after Labor Day weekend many Good Things occur in the Sierra: crowds diminish, mosquitos disappear, foliage changes color, weather cools.

And the fires burn.

As we now understand more clearly, late-season fires are a natural and (mostly) healthy part of California’s environment. Although I was brought up with a Smokey the Bear notion that all fires are bad, I now understand and appreciate that having no fires would be much worse, and I’ve begun to see a certain beauty in the small, natural fires that should occur this time of year – and even to regard them as part of the magic of this season.


August 23, 2006 - Posted by | Sierra Nevada

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