Seeding a Forest
By Charles Post
They say you could see the walls of fire from San Francisco. Four days of flames and smoke billowed from that torched sea of coastal prairie, scrub and forests dressed in autumn hues. The Mount Vision Fire of 1995 burned hot like a desiccated tinderbox, one brimming with sixty-eight years of fuel.
Long before Native Americans, Sir Francis Drake, Spanish missionaries, and Mexican rancheros arrived on these verdant grounds and began using fire as a way to clear land, lighting strikes, though rare, triggered a cascade of fire-born repercussions that trickled through the ecology of Point Reyes. With time, plants and animals became dependent on fire, their life histories entwined with its destructive and regenerative nature.