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After Burn

November 9, 2013

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One interesting sidebar to our annual research trips to the Grand Rapids Uplands is that we have been able to observe the slow decay of dead trees and regeneration of vegetation following the massive Norris Lake fire. This conflagration, in late May of 2008, burned 53,000 hectares of forest, including large areas adjacent to Highway 6 north of Grand Rapids. It turns out that the fire was started accidentally by students on an ecological program.

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We were actually in the area in 2008 on the day the fire began, and I posted some fire and immediately-post-fire images a couple of years later, following those up again with some 2011 sunset shots. This September’s visit seemed like a good time to document the further regeneration, as the jack pine seedlings were a beautiful bright green against the autumn leaves, buff dolostone, and blackened trunks.

Jackpine cones famously release their seeds only when exposed to tremendous heat. This makes them ideally adapted to post-fire recovery.

Jack pine cones famously release their seeds only when exposed to tremendous heat. This species is thus wonderfully adapted to post-fire recovery.

jackpine seedlings rise through the fractured dolostone.

Jack pine seedlings rise through the fractured dolostone.

Our William Lake collecting project is pretty much done.  It is sad to think that I may no longer have the chance to drive down that bar-code road as the sun sets through the scorched jackpines.  I’m sure there must be some reason to continue limited collecting there, and to continue to monitor the post-fire recovery.

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If you see stromatolites in central Manitoba, it is very likely that you are in Silurian rock!

If you see stromatolites in central Manitoba, it is very likely that you are in Silurian rock!

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Thanks to Dave and Michael for ensuring that we stopped at various places along the road so that we could photograph the fire sites.  I wish that my photos were as good as Michael’s!

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© Graham Young, 2013

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dave Greenwood permalink
    February 8, 2014 4:07 pm

    Sadly, these students were from Brandon. Silly teacher asked them to burn their toilet paper and set the blaze.

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