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Devastating Southwestern Fires (0 Replies)

Posted July 28, 2017 at 2:31 pm

I was wondering if anyone might have any information on possible reforestation efforts in the mountains of the Southwest, especially in Arizona.

Southern Arizona has a number of small but very high mountains that have pines and “mixed conifers” near the summit.

In recent years some truly devastating conflagrations have wiped out much of the spruce/fir and mixed conifers stands near the summits of Mt. Graham, Mt. Lemmon and Chiricahua Peak. Are plans moving forward to reforest these lands? An e-mail sent by me to the Coronado National Forest was not returned. Also, I really wasn’t able to find much out by “Googling” the subject.

These mountaintop forests (known to some as “cloud forests” or “sky islands”) have always fascinated me. When I was growing up we lived in Tucson and would occasionally try to “beat the heat” in the summer by heading up to Mt. Lemmon. It was truly amazing! Although you’d be surrounded on all sides by the hot Sonoran Desert, you could nonetheless be sitting in a picnic area back in a “holler” on the north side of the range and see nothing, absolutely nothing, but large, beautiful conifers. Ponderosa pine, southwestern white pine, white fir, Rocky Mountain Douglas fir and corkbark fir were the main ones. It was easy to forget that you were actually in southern Arizona and imagine that you were sitting somewhere in the far north woods! The air was cool and the wind would occasionally “whisper” in the trees.

If you look at a Google satellite map for the 9,000+ foot ridge for the Chiricahua Mountains, it’s really pretty tragic. Is anything being done? I’m sure if Mother Nature is left to her own devices, it’ll come back eventually but planting seedlings sure wouldn’t slow the process down !,-109.2912676,147m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x86d9e9532e71ec65:0x2e61a37f4b6ee3c!8m2!3d31.8464821!4d-109.2914511!5m1!1e4

Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, IN

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