After The Burn – Implication of Idaho’s Beaver Creek Fire

It is hard to burn a view down- The Pioneers from the top of Imperial Gulch.

On December 20th, 2013 The MESH Art Gallery and the the United States Forest Service collaborated to produce an exhibit and hold a discussion called “After The Burn – Implication of Idaho’s Beaver Creek Fire.”  The exhibit covered a number of topics related to the 110,000 acre forest fire that occurred in the summer of 2013.  The United States Forest Service had closed off the burned areas to the public.  In November 2013 the USFS gave MESH Art a permit to go back into the burned areas and document the initial burn.  My son Kyle and I are the owners on MESH Art LLC.

The Idaho Mountain Express covered the event and here story.  Kurt Nelson head of The Ketchum Ranger District led the discussion which was attended by 60 people.  Kurt has a wonderful style of being open and frank, yet exceptionally approachable.  It was great to see Idaho Mountain Express Publisher Pamela Ann Morris return to her reporter roots and ask a set of superb questions – which allowed Kurt to provide some insights to the audience they might not have other not learn.  Former (four-term) Ketchum Mayor and resident historian Jerry Seiffert finished the discussion by providing a great deal of historical context.  Kyle did an extraordinary job of preparing the Gallery and staging the event.  I showed up.

The Headlines:

  • The Castle Rock fire of 2007 effectively protected the towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley and the Bald Mountain Ski Mountain from the Beaver Creek fire.
  • The Beaver Creek fire was extremely hot – burning at 1,800 – 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • During the later stages of the fire, the USFS believed that if the last lines of protection failed the next points to attempt at stopping the fire would be Galena Summit to the north maybe Trail Creek to the east.

The Fire

We displayed some of my shots of the fire during its height.

Before and After

We displayed and discussed some of the area as its looked before and after the fire.

 

After

We displayed and discussed some of the area as it looks after the fire.

The first bridge from the trail-head was wrapped in foil to protect it from the fire; no luck.
Nickname: Kurt Nelson Future Memorial Bridge – your tax dollars at work.

 

The view up Greenhorn does not look promising.

Looking up Greenhorn – the fire did not move as far.

Some key trail markings survived; just a but worse for wear. Let’s call it seasoning.
Nickname: This Way please!

The burn was so hard and hot that rocks cracked.
Nickname: Pizza baking stone.

According to the Forest Service this Moose died after the fire.
Nickname: Wrong place at the wrong time?

Although the tree-fall was less than I expected – there were many that were burned and have already toppled.
Nickname: Honey I’ll clean up the yard on Saturday.

Much of the Old-Growth stands half-burned on the bark, and green on the upper 1/3 to 1/2. These trees might make it – probably not.
Nickname: Ying-Yang

Many groves of trees look okay, but Kurt Nelson suggests “these trees are dead and do not know it.”
Nickname: Council of Elders.

There are many spots (about 15%) of the area where you would be hard pressed to say a fire occurred.
Nickname: What fire?

Around the corner on the trail (from the image above) the forest is scorched.
Nickname: Standing in defiance.

The top ridge-line that encompasses much of the Imperial Trail replete with 100 yard pockets on no-burn, scorched, kinda burned.
Nickname: Whoa, that was close!

 

 

 

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