Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eureka Fire

The Eureka Fire in burned through part of northwest Walla Walla County last week. The fire burned more than 20,000 acres of mostly grass land. The north perimeter is defined by Lower Monumental Road. Fires in eastern Washington's scrub steppe burn large areas fast especially if there is any wind. The presence of invasive cheat grass has resulted in hotter fires through the dense carpet of low grass and the fires frequently now kill sagebrush such that large areas that were formerly sagebrush covered are now now without sage brush particularly in the more dry areas that are marginal for sagebrush survival.

Earlier this summer I took this picture of a grass fire just east of the Dalles, Oregon that burned several hundred acres in a couple of hours. I caught the fire just as it entered a dry riparian area and went from crawling along the ground to huge flames in seconds.

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