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Tyler Legg
Charlotte, NC, United States
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The above webcam is courtesy of High Country Webcams.com. 
Updates every 5-10 seconds.

Wildfires are still burning here in WNC. In fact one just broke out behind a school in Charlotte. If you get a whiff of what smells like barbecue, it's likely a wildfire burning in the distance. In the webcam above, the haze is not low lying clouds frequently seen in the high country, but smoke. Which is not frequently seen around here. The fires are right on the edge of Boone. I'm inclined to think this won't harm the many trout rivers in the area given the fires are not burning at a large scale. With that being said, one might think wildfires don't harm organisms beneath the water's surface; they affect only the surrounding landscape. Not so. They destroy vegetation and annihilate habitats. Vegetation, while an inconvenience to anglers wishing to fish backcountry water, is necessary for the survival of our wild brook trout (and in most cases, trout in general around here). Brookies require the coolest water temperatures of all three salmonids here in the state, thus need the shade provided by overhanging vegetation. Vegetation also provides the fish with protection from predators. Especially those from above. Not only do fires heat the stream up to intolerable levels, but in hours, a wildfire will eat away at the vegetation and leave a desolate "naked" stream. Soon there after, dead fish and aquatic organisms follow. I doubt we'll see this, but this is what wildfires do to a trout stream. Take it easy and avoid all burning outside until we receive some rain (which won't happen until possibly next week... sigh). We definitely DON'T want to see that scenerio playing out before our eyes.

6 comments:

Mike said...

Mmmmmmm... Barbecue..

Definitely a time to take great care. THANKS Tyler!

Tyler Legg said...

No problem! Speaking of BBQ, gotta go check the grill!

Mark said...

You are certainly right about the effects of a wildfire on stream life. Its often the aftermath that causes the problem. The absence of vegetation will increase erosion and subsequent silting as well, which can cause lots of problems too in addition to reduced shade. I can't believe people even start fires on days like these.

Tyler Legg said...

It boggles my mind. It's merely an absence of common sense.

Silt and erosion issues definitely are additional problems resulting from a wildfire. Too much silt ruins a trout stream for sure...

Mark said...

I see it around here fairly frequently but on a small scale usually. People will wait until its crispy dry outside with a 30 mph wind and then burn that pile of leaves in the yard.

Tyler Legg said...

Amazing how that works. Hate the fact that in most cases it will take a forest fire in someones back yard to allow the thought "this ain't a good idea" to run through their head. Hopefully we'll be blessed with some rain sooner or later...

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