I am really glad I went back there again this spring. It sounds like the area we paddled may be burning, but I am not sure of that. It is one of those amazing unique places to visit. There was a big fire back in 2007 that impacted the Okefenokee too. I suspect the logging that cut the old growth fire resistant Longleaf Pine Forest has made the area more likely to burn because of the heavy undergrowth that is there today. They are saying the worse case it may burn until November this year.
oh no… Thanks for sharing . I had no idea.
My son and I were there several years ago during a drought. The earth wasn’t shaking but burning. It seemed like we were surrounded by fires. Smoke everywhere.
Wildfires are awful; would be wonderful if torrential rains could visit and help put out the fire.
Your photos show a beautiful area. When I first glanced at that reptile, looked like it was resting on a Greenland paddle.
Wildfires can be quite destructive, but they can be essential for maintaining some types of prairie and forest habitats.
Swamp needs a good burn once and a while to be healthy. It is just going to be a bad year and big fire (s) due to the dry conditions. Just like previous years…2007, 1998, 2011.
For that matter we have regular control burns in the winter to get rid of understory vegetation. About the only thing short of machinery is fire to control palmettos. Yet they return after most fires.
I don’t disagree that the various southern ecosystems need fire to be healthy. What they don’t need is catastrophic fires like the one in 2007, or this current one. While we where paddling the swamp this spring they had a controlled burn that came right up to the SCRA parking lot. These burns are done to replicate the natural way fires help the habitat, and to help prevent the build up of combustibles that lead to catastrophic fires. Some of what is happening now is due to the past activities of man. When the mature Longleaf Pine habitat of the Okefenokee was cut down. The ability of the ecosystem to resist catastrophic fires was severely reduced. After these destructive fires now occur there is a dense regrowth that hasn’t grown to a stage yet to resist other such fires. It will take centuries to restore the type of habitat back to the ecosystem that was adapted to benefit from understory burning, and at the same time resist it from getting out of hand. The good news is foresters are changing the way they handle fires and recognize there are better ways to manage the resource to better fit the needs of the ecosystem. However this type of a fire will tend to set back the clock on any such recovery.
I think it was after the 2007 fire that I paddled from the landing at Stephen B Foster to suwanee sill. there was a stretch before we reached the sill twhere i felt like I was paddling through a bald cypress tree nursery. Tons or young cypress trees growing along the route.
No much on the fire itself they are keeping people away from it.
Guess I will not be paddling there this Fall.
The Jacksonville area is over 8 1/2 inches short of their average annual rainfall. All of Florida is in a drought and the fires (100 at last count) will persist until that changes. The satellite photos of the smoke plumes from space are akin to the western (MT/WY) fires in 1988 !!
Sounds pretty transformational.
News said the West Mims fire was 60% contained. Good news but it may still smolder till November.