Redwoods Survive Fires

Out pretty deep in woods today. I often see fire-scarred redwoods; maybe they survive fires. Makes sense. It’s been many years since there was a fire in these parts.

I’m heading up to Pt. Arena to visit my friend Louie tomorrow for a few days.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to Redwoods Survive Fires

  1. Sillett said full-grown sequoias are adapted to survive even the hottest wildfires. They have fibrous, fire-resistant bark that can grow up to two feet thick. Although fires can damage the biggest trees, they usually don't kill them.

    Both species proved themselves highly resistant to fire. But the redwood was nearly indestructible. “One year later, even large trees where all the foliage was scorched off were covered with a light green fuzz of new foliage,” said Berkeley Ecologist Benjamin S. Ramage, who led the research project. “Of trees over 1.5 feet in diameter, maybe only one redwood out of a hundred was killed.”

    Tanoaks proved slightly better than redwoods at sprouting after the fires. Ramage saw many 4- to 5-foot-tall tanoak sprouts forming dense clumps around the trunk after only one year. But tanoaks also sprout in forests that haven’t burned, while redwoods sprout much more vigorously after a fire. So, once again, fires gave redwoods a relative advantage.

  2. Louie just told me that in early logging days, when they used oxen to pull cut-down trees out of the woods, loggers would cut down the trees, then set fires that would clear all the underbrush and leave the redwoods, which could then be towed out unimpeded.

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