Spring is bursting at Henry W. Coe State Park. Fiddleneck flowers stretch their yellow mohawks toward the sun. Migratory birds skim the surface of the ponds, calling to each other. Star lilies, liberated by wildfire, show their white blossoms, many for the first time in decades.
Seven months ago, Coe Park’s backcountry was a wasteland, smoking from one of the largest fires in Santa Clara County’s recorded history. The Lick fire tore into the park in a nine-day blaze that ultimately consumed nearly 50,000 acres, half the park.
But the fire is not necessarily an unwelcome visitor to Coe Park, seated in the hills 20 miles southeast of San Jose. Fire can provide a searing rebirth.
“I feel it was, on the whole, a beneficial fire for the park,” said George Gray, a retired environmental scientist who worked at Coe for many years and recently toured the park.
Be sure to check out the slide show with the leaping bobcat.