It’s been almost two months now since the fire, and the changes between now and then are startling. Deep-rooted bunchgrasses are re-sprouting in the flat at the bottom of the canyon, joined by new prickly pear leaves and pincushion cacti pushing up between the charred grasses. Spring and fall are almost in eclipse–the oranges and reds of burned pine needles, changing colors of broad leaves, and oxidized sandstone contrast with new growth of sumac, sage, and grass. A few weeks of rain and time have softened the stark look of the burn, though the dark charcoal lines of trees still frame much of the landscape. Some cheatgrass sprouts have turned up in the bulldozer track, and the curlycup gumweed and snakeweed and gayfeather are everywhere blooming.
And in animal news, a larger and messier hole near the prairie dog town was found and identified this week as the work of a badger! Since the first hole was found last Saturday (in the easternmost neighborhood), five others have been found closer to the center (downtown?). Also, a mule deer carcass was found at the bottom of the canyon. It was a ribcage with bright red connective tissue and quite a bit of the hide in a pile nearby. Likely a mountain lion kill.