Light of Morn
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Loma Fire 2016
Santa Clara County, CA
Grassy hillsides with outcrops of weathered rock.
Lone oaks like this were once called stags.
This one wears a crown of mistletoe.
Rotting trunks of oaks long dead still support life.
In addition to numerous wood-boring insects, lichen, molds and fungi are present.
Steep hillside climb to the burn area.
Skipped by the fire, this towering valley oak is already starting to leaf out.
Ashes in foreground will enrich the soil, providing nutrients for the oak and other vegetation.
Trees and shrubs in ravine are slower to recover.
Hillside section of burn area.
Patchwork of new growth show were fire skipped across the hillsides.
Red-leaf Filigree is quick to colonize burned areas in grasslands.
Rock outcrop, shrubs and young oak trees scorched by fire.
Boulders blackened by fire. Stone is not impervious to fire and heat; it cracks and crumbles.
Wavy-leaf Soap Root re sprouts quickly after a fire. Note blackened lichen on rock in front of it.
An example of lichen burned in the fire.
Large colony of Burn Site Ochre Cup fungi.
This fungi thrives on burned ground or burned wood.
This fungus begins as a tiny cup then expands to saucer shape.
After the fire, vegetation returns quickly to open, sunny grasslands.
A hot fast-burning fire will often damage but not destroy mature trees and shrubs.
A lot of charred limbs and trunks in this grove.
But the tree is still alive and hosting a Lions Mane fungus.
The carmel-colored section of the Lions Mane shows where it was scorched by the fire.
New growth sprouts among the charred limbs of this live oak.
A variety of plants quickly sprout after a fire.
Including the ubiquitously poison oak.
Found side by side, two Big Berry Manzanita berries, one completely carbonized.
Black-tailed deer antler so damaged by fire it crumbled when touched.
Beyond the blackened grove, landscape appeared to be recovering.
A very pretty vale, hard to believe fire recently swept through it.
As the fire climbed the mountain it consumed nearly everything in its path.
Very likely this small grove of trees will recover.
Manzanita and other chaparral vegetation once thrived on this hillside.
This hilltop grove was my point of reference from below,
but it's still some distance to the summit.
Terrain in this area is incredibly steep.
Winter Solstice, 21 December 2016.
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