By Haley Yarborough

The ecology after the burn

Five-year look back


August 18, 2022

Haley Yarborough, Pathfinder

A deer crossing the Dunham Creek Road through the burn area. While most of the overstory was killed in this area, the understory is lush and green again with grasses, forbs and shrubs.

SEELEY LAKE - Seeley Lake District Ranger Quinn Carver stood looking up at the muddy debris that flooded Dunham Creek Road in a landslide approximately three years prior. Imprinted on the hill face above him are the scars of the 2017 Rice Ridge fire. Despite the rows of skeleton trees, the shrubs, forbs and grasses are green and flourishing. 

"We mobilized some equipment quickly but it took about two days to get it in drivable condition," Carver said. "You probably could cross through all the muck if you had a pair of hip waders." 

The Rice Ridge fire burned around 160,000 acres northeast...

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