Rebuilding after The Bobcat Fire

New growth under burned Joshua Trees.

The threat of wildfire in any rural area in California is not an “if” as it is a “when”… Our fire came during the Summer/Fall of 2020, known as The Bobcat Fire.

Fire right over the ridge the day we evacuated.

The Bobcat Fire barreled through our community, burning multiple homes and structures down.

Our landscape three days after the fire.

In that way, we count ourselves incredibly fortunate, as the fire came up to our house, (where we found a bubbling singe on the corner) but was put out by the courageous firemen who were obviously here at the time. But… our entire tree perimeter and the whole back property burned. Our greywater system burned and melted, and half of my garden area burned.

View of burned gardens and trees one week after the fire.

After the initial shock and an overwhelming feeling of defeat, I began work. This was a fascinating time to begin to observe the land in its after-fire healing. I could see that my “gabion” stone walls made it through, though my wooden compost bins turned to ash. So with that, we took the time to begin documenting our back property and I began rebuilding soil in the areas that that were destroyed.

Adding straw over all the ash two weeks after the fire, burned Scrub Oak and Manzanitas in the background.

I spent my first month just covering the ash with thick layers of straw. I had many of the burned branches cut down and used them as well to provide ground cover. Throughout the year, I was able to witness a great deal of things that I thought were gone begin sprouting again. Burned garden beds were filled with leaves, straw, manure and compost.