Science & experience tells me that everything will be okay, but I still worry about my trees. Convention from the hot fire gets all the way up the trees and singes the needles. I expect that lots of them will fall off. I have reasonable confidence intellectually that most of the trees will grow back better than ever, but I don’t feel it.
Found time between presentations to rush down and look at my newly burned forest. The forest floor is very clear now. You can easily walk through. We are doing patch burns of 1/3 each year for three years. This is great for wildlife and it puts more life, and carbon into the soils.
You can judge the fire by the color it leaves behind. Black is good. That means the fire has put a good char w/o destroying the life of the soil. White is not good but still okay. That is ash. The fire was a little too hot, but things are still okay probably. When you see red, you got trouble. Virginia clay is red (actually kind of orange.) If you burned down to that, the fire was too hot and destructive. In the really bad cases, the fire essentially bakes the clay into a kind of porcelain and nothing much will grow for a long time. Fortunately, we got the black.
My first three pictures show the forest floor. #3 shows part of the place where my friends & neighbor Larry Walker planted some pollinator plants. It will be very pretty soon.
Picture #4 shows my longleaf and the last picture is the gas station in Lawrenceville, even cheaper than Exit 104.