Putting the Terrain Back Together in the Aftermath of a Forest Fire

Forest fires are a shocking, newsworthy event. There’s no real telling when and where they’ll happen, but when they do, news teams will be there, and eyes will be on the goings on from the start of the fight to put the blaze at bay until the bitter end. The images will show up on screens and in print in homes nationwide (and – if big enough) worldwide.

Here’s the thing though, what happens after the fire is out? We never really hear about that, right? The truth of the matter is, just because the fire is out, doesn’t mean things are “back to normal” and remediation efforts have ceased.

Forest fires create serious risks to the environment. So, the next wave of work after the actual flames have subsided is working to protect the ecological environment that surrounds the area.

Where are we going with this? We’re glad you asked…

What are we/you doing to prevent erosion after a forest fire has ripped through?

Well, the first question that might stem from that question is, ‘what happens when rains create erosion after a fire has reaped havoc on an unsuspecting plot of land?’

Following a forest fire catastrophe, the loss of undergrowth, leaf litter, forest floor hummus (organic matter), ground cover, is brined away leaving the forest floor stripped of all of its natural protection and very susceptible to erosion via such forces as:

  • Dramatic physical soil characteristics
  • Rain / running water
  • Wind
  • Gravity

Surface erosion begins as the fire is actually burning due to flammable substrate that, in short, goes up in a cloud of smoke… It continues from there when the terrain experiences its first bout of rain following the fire. Runoff from rain and/or any source of surrounding running water will result in increased runoff due to the very bare nature of the environment that has lost its natural “covering” as a result of a fire. The loss of surrounding vegetation which would generally intercept rainfall naturally, is a cause for erosion concern as is the very nature of the restricted charred soil that lends itself to a change in soil porosity which would have normally given water a place to find its way into. Thus, with no vegetation and little or no absorption of water flow, the runoff causes erosive action along the way. Additionally, all of the ash that is left after the fire passes also gets carried downhill to the low points where the wetlands, streams and rivers are. The ash and sediment in the runoff damage the aquatic ecosystem.

What does this all mean?

The soil / terrain of land that has been compromised needs to be addressed to ensure that erosion is kept to a minimum. The achieve this you must first check the soil for hydrophobicity – which occurs when vegetative materials combust, creating a gas that penetrates the soil, and, as it cools, said gas condenses and forms a waxy coating, which causes the soil to repel the water, making for greater and stronger erosive runoff. Hydrophobicity also reduces the rate of germination in reseeded areas which makes it difficult to not only create new plant life, but jeopardizes existing root colonies the ability to retain moisture and regenerate.

Where do we go from here?

After testing for hydrophobicity (which is essential to experience the successful seed germination required in cultivating new vegetation life), Global Environmental Solutions is your call to “put the place back together.” Our products have been employed to bring forests and other fire damaged properties back to life and prevent further erosive damages.

With the use of our CompoMulch™ product – a custom blended hydro-mulch that contains 25% sterilized compost mixed with special blend of vegetable fiber – you’ve armed yourself with a forward thinking solution that will “surround” terrain and soil preparation as it pertains to hydroseeding and planting needs. While similar products exist in the market, our dutifully prepared “solution” combines two critical preparation standards in vegetation development. When applied using DirtGlue® polymer as the tackifier, it will hold even in the toughest conditions, protecting against heavy rain and wind.

Benefits of using CompoMulch™ and DirtGlue polymer as a hydroseed/hydromulch system:

  • Reduces water usage and helps retain available moisture
  • Reduces erosion and the effects of erosion
  • Improved plant growth
  • Binds soil, seed and mulch mediums
  • Fully biodegradable (organic in fact…)
  • Prevents washouts even in the severest weather

Smokey the Bear may not be entirely accurate when he says, “only you can prevent forest fires,” but, what is a guarantee is you can take the right (best) step in putting the pieces back together in the event of an accident. We can help. And, we’re more than happy to.

GES: For the earth, with the earth in mind.