Wildfires are peculiar phenomena in the American west. The bane of logging companies, they are also a necessity for the life cycle of many ecosystems. And despite how much damage they may do, in many instances they seem to be forgotten far more quickly than would seem reasonable.
Take the Willow fire of 2004, for example. It burned 187 square miles in Arizona’s Mazatzal Wilderness. Yet look for a reference to it today and you’ll be hard pressed to find a single one. Even the Forest Service’s own web page for the area is presently off line.
Fortunately for those interested in how such areas regenerate following wild fires, John Alcock spent the decade following the land’s regeneration from Willow fire by repeatedly returning to the area and making new observations with each visit. He has now recorded what he discovered in After the Wildfire; Ten Years of Recovery from the Willow Fire, a book very likely to be of keen interest to all those with a curiosity about the ecological role of fire.