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Fire Damage in the Caribou Wilderness

This post in High Sierra Topix (one of our favorite online backpacking forums!) was hard to read:


"For the first time since the Dixie Fire I went for a short hike in the Caribou Wilderness. I wanted to see how much burn damage. The entire Wilderness is in the fire footprint.


Starting at the Caribou Trailhead on the east side, wife and I made our way to Emerald Lake. Although there are a few pockets of low damage and a few small islands of unburned, most of it is close to 100% mortality. Blackened dead trees with no understory. A few purple penstemons were still flowering, and some grasses here and there. Otherwise, totally denuded.

The trail has been cleared and downed trees bucked, Emerald Lake is still a pretty shade of green, but 2/3 of the shoreline is high severity burn. I originally wanted to make it to Gem Lake, but got discouraged and stopped at Emerald.


I know it will eventually come back, but not before I am too old to enjoy hiking there again. A couple of wet winters would help with the recovery. The climate models do not show a wet winter this year.


I may still try to fish some of the lakes, but it won't be the same."



We had been wondering about that area. We enjoyed a few trips there before the fire. Very sad to read your report. The photo above is from 2016.


So not only do we have more large burn areas in our backpacking regions, but that will then increase the pressure on those areas that are not burned.


Sad days indeed. It underscores how important those controlled burns are these days.

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