“these old growth mature forests can probably never recover with the modern climate”
To be fair, the state of these forests that we’ve gotten used to during our lifetimes is probably nothing like their pre-Columbian state. In many areas such as Idyllwild and Big Bear the density of mature trees is 10-100 times what it would be naturally.
People like us who enjoy these areas as playgrounds are part of the problem, as are people who live at the wilderness boundary. The kind of lush landscape we had 10 years ago in an area like the South Fork trailhead was beautiful but totally unsustainable.
“there does not seem to be the same sense of urgency in protecting the wilderness from massive, long lasting damage as there is when it comes to protecting structures. I am dismayed that the fire was allowed to come down the ridge towards Forest Falls, and then cross Hwy 38, making its way into the high country”
We should be realistic about what firefighters can do. They can’t get water or heavy equipment up and down these steep hillsides. Populated areas have roads, which allow them to bring in people and resources, and also to get them out safely if necessary. The recent death of the firefighter in this area should serve as a reminder of how constrained they are by safety. There is also a lack of manpower, especially with the much bigger Bobcat fire going on at the same time. I’m also not convinced at all that the wilderness would have been left more healthy if they had somehow managed to prevent these areas from burning. At some point this fuel was going to burn. Preventing fires for a century is what led to the huge piles of fuel.
I’m just hoping that these areas in the San Bernardinos don’t get colonized by poodle dog bush the way the Wilson area has. Haven’t seen any of it yet in the South Fork area, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.