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National Park - Scorched Earth Road Sign
of sign - Yellowstone National Park between Mammoth and Tower Falls.
taken June 2008
crown fires swept through this forest in 1988, charring trees from
base to tip. Ground vegetation was reduced to ash - yet
than one tenth of one percent of the soil was heated to the point
where all seeds and roots were killed. Insulated beneath the
inch of scorched ground lie plant bulbs, seeds, and grass roots of
new forest and meadows that sprouted the following spring.
of plants and tree trunks mark the isolated spots where fire
sterilized the soil. Regeneration may take longer
wind and animals will carry seeds to the dead ground, and the ghost
patches will disappear in the surrounding green.
intensity fire burns only the surface material.
intensity fire turns surface material to ash, and blackens the top
4-5 centimeters of soil.
intensity fire (rare) leaves red, oxidized soil near the surface,
and darkens more than 10 centimeters of soil below, killing
roots and seeds.
on the sign
to the text there is a photo of a burnt forested area (a ghost patch of
fire-sterilized soil) and a 3-d picture of how fire
the ground underneath.
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