Fire Moves Snow As Well As Ice Does

Do you remember the summer of fires? A big one started at Elephant Hill, outside of Ashcroft, and burned to the north for months. Here is an image of the burn area from the first few days. It’s taken out of my car window as we drove through. I was struck by the power of fire, even in the cold. Look how the land, stripped of bunchgrass to hold the snow, holds it in its eroded gullies instead. This effect will only increase erosion, which is not a bad thing on slopes like this, as it creates water environments, which maintain life.

I was struck by how a pattern of fire replacing grass replaced by fire replaced by grass can be a kind of breathing of the land as it arranges water and settles into it. Fire, in other words, acts much like a glacier does in such environments, moving rock to make pathways for water and light and life. And it does so as a kind of breath, amplifying what is already here.

Beautiful! What’s more, this is an ancient post-glacial river channel, formed when the ice blocked Glacial Lake Thompson and the Thompson River flowed hundreds of metres above its present banks. That work is not finished yet. We are living in the time of creation.


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