Day 3: Alone On The Trail

Today was my second day volunteering out at BCCER and with the new day came a new task. I was heading out on the trail to collect fire fuel measuring devices set in strategic positions throughout the forest which measure fuel loadings, live and dead shrub and herbaceous cover. Fuel is in reference to above ground organic matter. Knowing the amounts and variety of fuels is important information because it can help determine the distance and speed a fire will spread as well as the ability of different kinds of live and dead plants to spread a fire. This information helps to aid in the protection of the property, and is necessary for fire management. As I began my hike I noticed the stark difference between the areas which had been previously cleared and those that were left wild. The areas that had been cleared had a clean almost parklike appearance. The species that were left were large and thriving. Most notably were the manzanitas, toyons, and oak varieties which were carefully spaced and in abundance. The areas thick with untamed plants were littered with fallen trees and dead brush, a beckoning call for a wildfire. In a way the areas that had been cleared were more pleasant during the hike and provided me with the opportunity to see areas of the forest that I otherwise wouldn’t have, not to mention the creatures who inhabit and benefit from their manicured home. After a bit of hiking I reached the first instrument which was located in the latest burn area. As I walked the area through I noticed that new growth had already begun to sprout from the piles we had previously burned the week before; a demonstration of the forest’s resilience. I collected the device and began my way to the second. Along the way I passed through the burn zones from times past which also had a parklike appearance only in this particular zone there were more live oaks. I reached the second device that was near an abandoned cabin with remnants of what looked like old mining trash being reclaimed by nature. It was here that I sat down and enjoyed an apple admiring the beauty of the river only yards away. Not a bad gig.