‘It will be beautiful again’: how California’s redwood forest is recovering after last year’s wildfires

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Big Basin state park, scorched last August in the CSU Complex fire, is showing signs of rebirth in its majestic redwood trees There are spots inside Big Basin Redwoods state park that appear to be frozen in time. Roughly 10 months after the CSU Complex fire burned 97% of California’s oldest park, some trees still smoke and smolder. An open champagne bottle sits untouched atop a scorched picnic table alongside cooking utensils that are melted and singed together. Contents from a toppled cooler, left agape, have begun to blend into the forest duff. The skeletons of burnt cars and trucks are still parked in front of once-iconic headquarters, now reduced to rubble. But, amidst the wreckage, there are also signs of rebirth. Wildflowers are growing over charred debris. Blackened trees have sprung vibrant green sprouts. Birdsongs and hammering woodpeckers accent the hum of state-run construction crews working to ready the beloved park for a new chapter in its history. “The biggest loss is the human side. This park is not going to be the same place that I saw as a little girl,” says Joanne Kerbavaz, a senior environmental scientist with California state parks on a tour of the […]

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