Flourishing after flames: A new study has good news for the Greenwood Fire area

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:56 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - “We’ve had larger wildfires up here, but this was the largest wildfire we’ve had in ten years,” said Joanna Gilkenson with Superior National Forest.

Gilkenson said with how devastating the fire was, the Burned Area Emergency Response team (BAER), was created to examine the severity of the damage.

She said “The BAER was called together and assembled on October 5 and so basically what they do is a rapid assessment of the fire burned area.”

The team spent seven to ten days analyzing the landscape. Then, they sent their results to forest officials to begin the recovery process.

David Morley worked with the BAER team as a forest soil scientist. Morley saw signs of recovery had already begun shortly after the fire.

“We were already seeing vegetation coming in just weeks after the fire went through in some of those areas,” said Morley.

Within the report, Morley also examined other elements including small roots, water infiltration and woody debris, which showed a positive outcome.

Despite the recovery efforts, Gilkeson added that precautionary measures will still be implemented.

“We still technically have a closure in place because we haven’t been able to put any warning signs up so that’s another thing that people can expect to see,” said Gilkenson.

Once warning signs are put up, more areas will be open to the public.

As the forest continues to recover, Morley and Gilkenson emphasized fires are a normal part of the ecosystem.

“Fire is just a little key component of how the forest functions.” said Morley.

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