"Arizona Wildfires: Bigger, Hotter Than Ever. How Will The Land Recover?"

"As temperatures rise and drought intensifies, fires grow larger and burn more severely. What happens to the landscape next is unknown."

"In the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, soil repels water across the burn scar of the 2020 Bighorn Fire. Steep slopes and an imminent monsoon mean the hydrophobic ground is ripe for erosion.

In the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests of eastern Arizona, the remnants of salvage logging, thinning operations and prescribed fires mark the areas burned by two of the state's largest wildfires, the Wallow, in 2011, and Rodeo-Chediski, in 2002. Saplings are seeding near truncated stumps throughout the scorched landscape, hinting at the natural regeneration slowly taking root amid the long-term aftermath of the flames.

In the Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona, burnt branches are all that is left of once-full squirrel nests. In the decade since the 2011 Horseshoe II Fire was contained, wildlife endemic to the area remain missing. Scientists are searching for signs of life and attempting to understand how vegetation is recovering, in the hopes of being able to predict and prepare for future fires."

Anton L. Delgado reports for the Arizona Republic June 28, 2021.

Source: Arizona Republic, 07/01/2021