Nine months after Beachie Creek Fire, road closures remained in place for public safety from smoldering ash pits, hazard trees (trees damaged by wildfire prone to fall with wind and/or gravity) and roadway issues that include damaged asphalt and guard rails. Olallie Lake Resort will not be accessible until July 22, 2021.
As of May 26, forest roads were not planned to be reopened until funding can be acquired to make the necessary repairs. Too eager to wait for the reopening to see what survived, a father and son took flight in a small airplane to view the aftermath. The scenes they captured were spectacular: an unexpected survivor is barely visible in the first image nestled between the north-facing slope and the lake. When 50-75 mph winds cause a wildfire to spread by 130,000 acres overnight, at a rate of almost three acres per second, one is not surprised by the charred remains of a blackened forest. With over 190,000 acres scorched, most of the area was devastated. Olallie Lake Resort survived because it was on a north-facing slope protected by a 200 acre-lake that was upwind and provided enough protection for firefighters to stand their ground and save one small part of the USFS-designated Olallie Scenic Area.
Olallie Lake Resort survived, mostly unscarred by fire, and stands at this very moment like an island of green on our precious, scorched earth. For those wildfire scientists who still think slope and aspect don’t matter, here’s the pudding. The picture says a thousand words.
Swan Score: C
In the fuel management battle, property owners have little input
Fire Protection Association
Firefighter safety jeopardized for entomology study
Fuel management goals set aside for study of rare biosystem
Insurance industry able to use slope and aspect in risk selection
Costly recovery efforts for hazard tree and debris removal