I paid a revisit to a burned over slope in western Washington. This is a slope that has a southwest aspect, is well within the rain shadow of the Olympic Range, and much of the slope is underlain by sand and gravel. Hence, a dry place that has remained a small prairie (small-prairie-at-discovery-bay). During a previous winter visit I had noted that madrones were growing from burned stumps. In the two years since the growth has continued. Fire clears out the competing trees and the madrone is well suited for this setting.
This prairie has been long lived. A sketch image from the Vancouver exploration of this area shows a grass slope at the same location in 1792. I suspect that First Nations use of the area enhanced the frequency of fire.
It is nice the see that madrone (Arbutus menziesii) is thriving here much as it did in 1792 when Archibald Menzies described the tree in detail while visiting the bay. Hard to image he did not walk up this prairie slope examining and collecting plants while visiting in May 1792.