Colorado wildfire recovery; how burned areas replenish themselves by producing seedlings

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DENVER (KDVR) — The Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires are at 100 percent containment. Experts are now looking at the surviving trees for future regeneration.

These were such large fires that they burned over many different types of ecosystems, tree species, and forest types.

Each of these recover differently so some could come back right away while others can take 10 to 15 years because they don’t produce as many seedlings each year.

Last year they actually went and collected a lot of ponderosa pine seeds to give to nurseries to get some stock going for possible future regeneration use as ponderosa pine is not well adapted to high severity fire.

The lodgepole pine is really well adapted to high intensity fires and typically grows back freely.

“Lodgepole pine is really cool because it has what’s called serotinous cones where the seeds stay in the cones on trees for decades and wait until a fire comes and then the heat from the fire melts resin which holds it together and the seeds fall out. So its kind of waiting to come out and regenerate after a fire” ,shared Brett Wolk, Assistant Director for the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute.

Back in early November, a team went out and surveyed an area and found a bunch of these lodgepole pine seeds sitting on top of the snow, like you see in this picture.

This is such a good sign and experts are pretty confident we will see trees in the coming years.

These lodgepole pine seeds are not collected, they let nature run its course.

Most of the fire burned area is actually not going to be re-seeded.

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