The 2013 Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, the third largest wildfire recorded in California’s history, destroyed more than 257,000 acres of forest and created potentially large impacts for California’s Central Valley.
After rainfall, ash and debris could make their way down the Tuolumne River and clog agricultural irrigation systems. Jeff Mount, a professor emeritus of earth and planetary sciences at UC Davis, says that the erosion from the burned landscape will cover rivers with a layer of fine silt. This will smother the eggs of some fish, including trout, and limit the number of insects that live on the riverbed, leaving less food for fish and insect predators.
To fix this problem, the U.S. Forest Service has placed rice straw and planted grasses over the burned-down forest to help control erosion. The current drought in California also helps because we are not getting rain events that wash the ash and topsoil away.
To help prevent this from happening again, people can regularly thin and remove dead trees, plus allow smaller fires to burn, which will keep the forest healthier and reduce the fuel load. I will spread the word about using safe campfire practices and make sure any campfires that I create are completely put out.
Fourth-grade Korematsu Nature Bowl team