Sunday, June 21, 2020

Strange "Gigantea" Survivors In A Strange Time

June 21, 2020
   These are strange days, indeed. Rather than going on my regular walk up Morningstar, I walked over to Ratcliff Ridge this morning to survey all the blackened vegetation and to see what might have survived the conflagration known around here as the Ocotillo Fire.  

Only the Tall Boys Survived the May 30th scorching

   Even the tall boys—the monarch saguaros—were burned, as you can see by the orange burn marks, high up the stalks of these big boys. Time will tell if they survive.

Only the tall boys survived II

    This is looking north towards Elephant Butte, where we had another fire yesterday—our third in a month!

   In all the devastation, a small outcropping of prickly pear cactus somehow survived the blaze. 

Strange Survivor

   How in the hell? Is there a phenom, or name for this? I remember driving through the Rodeo-Chedski Fire area up on the Mogollon Rim (2002) and in spite of the total scorching there were still these random, small pockets of trees, that somehow escaped the total devastation. I assume this must be a fire phenom?

   So I called my fire-fighting friend, John Kraetz, and this is what he said: "Nope. Just must have had light brush around it."

   And speaking of brush, it didn't help that the area around Ratcliff Ridge was blanketed with stinknet and buffelgrass, invasive weeds that are so aggressive "they suck up all the available water after a rain, before other plants can," according to Don Swann, a biologist said in this morning's Arizona Republic.

   Adult saguaros are called Carnegien gigantea.

   I will keep my eyes on this area (I can't help it because it's the first thing I see every morning!) and report on any and all come back efforts.

I'll see you in Helvetica!"
—Damning with font praise

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