|PAPER BIRCH CATKINS|
|...HANGING PENDULOUSLY FROM LAST YEAR'S GROWTH|
|NORWAY MAPLE IN FULL BLOOM|
Thursday, 8:00 AM. 52 degrees F, wind NE, light to moderate. The sky is clear with the usual haze. The barometer is down at 29.99 in. and the humidity is 62%. It is another nice day, but we could use some rain.
The paper birch trees, Betula papyrifera, are in full bloom and shedding pollen. I have noticed an almost complete absence of birch seeds, which usually are shed during the late winter months. I have no explanation for that, and don't know if it happens periodically or if it was a one time event.
The Norway maples, Acer platanoides, are in full bloom and like the red maples, are very attractive in flower but seldom noticed.
The biggest local news is the forest fire in southwestern Bayfield County and eastern Douglas County, near Solon Springs and Barnes. It has burned almost 9000 acres and destroyed seventeen homes and a total of fifty structures. People were evacuated but so far there have been no injuries reported. The forested area has been described as hardwoods and young red pines. I am assuming it is primarily in the National Forest.
I don't know if it it is an area that has been logged in recent years, but would not be surprised if the fire has been fueled by logging slash. I have asked about the danger of the huge masses of logging slash everywhere, and the answer i have gotten from public and private foresters alike is that it is not a hazard, but I cannot believe they are right. There are huge amounts of slash everywhere, and it takes years and years for it to decay. I see fuel for forest fires everywhere, and will present some photos of slash in the near future.
Fires happen, and many are actually beneficial in the long run. The problem is that fires usually occur so seldom that tremendous amounts of fuel become stored and when it finally burns it can be truly disastrous. Wisconsin suffered huge, uncontrollable, deadly forest fires in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century logging era. Humans have short memories.