Seasons of Healing
Disturbances like fire, insects, and disease help maintain diversity in a forest by creating a mosaic of vegetation. Without disturbances, forest are less resilient and less healthy.
Fire helps create the scenic variety, particularly the aspen forests, for which Colorado is known.
The Missionary Ridge and Valley fires were extreme examples of fire in the ecosystem — unusual in size and overall intensity. In about one-third of the area all that remained was rock, a layer of fine ash, and a ghost forest of tree skeletons.
Overall, the fire had a natural fertilizing effect. Minerals and nutrients from the ash were recycling into the soil, creating a rich, organic fertilizer. Ecologists are finding plants whose seeds had lain dormant until the force of fire opened the seed coats, allowing water absorption and germination.
[post-fire regrowth photos]
The Missionary Ridge and Valley fires created a mosaic of different conditions ranging from unburned areas to low, moderate, and severely burned forests. This was caused by differences
These firest demonstrate the powerful and humbling force of nature. Every member of our community, the forest, and its flora and fauna were impacted by the firest. From adversity and struggle, however, come strength and renewal. Beneath the blackness of fire lie the seeds of life.
Today, forest managers are thinning trees and shrubs, especially in the wildland-urban interface, in an effort not only to reduce the fire hazard, but also to create a healthier forest that will be more resilient to drought, insects, and disease.
[Top center photo caption reads]
The Southwest Youth Corps, (shown here), and other contractors installed log erosion control barriers to help stabilize the soil on over 4,000 acres. Aerial seeding occurred on about 24,000 acres.
Erected by La Plata County.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work • Disasters • Environment.
Location. 37° 17.552′ N, 107° 52.421′ W. Marker is in Durango, Colorado, in La Plata County. Marker is at the intersection
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Summer of Flames (here, next to this marker); Community of Heroes (here, next to this marker); La Plata County Freedom Trees (within shouting distance of this marker); Southern Durango with views of Smelter Mountain (approx. 1.1 miles away); Early Durango circa 1889 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Old Main Post Office Professional Building (approx. 1.2 miles away); Jack Dempsey (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Newman Block (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Durango.
Regarding Seasons of Healing. Marker has limited historical information but provides context for the other two markers in the grouping.
Also see . . .
1. Mass Wasting Following the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire near Durango, Colorado (USGS). (Submitted on November 20, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Making Southwest Colorado a Safer Place to Live (Fire and Fuels in SW CO, 2003). (Submitted on November 20, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Managing Forests After Fire (USFS). (Submitted on November 20, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 20, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 45 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 20, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.