Cal Fire says the Lick fire is 100 percent contained. I don’t think that means “out,” by the way.
Word has it the park will remain closed for a couple weeks while the remaining fire crews douse hot spots and make sure it doesn’t re-ignite.
I missed this story in yesterday’s Merc: Wildlife experts say most animals got away and that the fire will be good for the overall ecosystem of the park.
The story notes further down that erosion caused by bulldozers digging fire breaks might be as harmful as the fire itself.
“The park is not destroyed. The fire is actually beneficial to the environment,” said Stuart Organo, supervising ranger at Coe.
“Next year after the rains have fallen in the spring, there is going to be more grass and
vegetation for deer and other animals to browse on,” Organo said.
Park rangers so far have no reports of major wildlife die-offs, he said. Many of the large animals, from black-tailed deer to tule elk to mountain lions, ran away from the flames to other areas in the vast Diablo Mountain Range and will return, he said.
Some smaller, slower moving animals like skunks or raccoons, probably were killed. But others, like ground squirrels or snakes, burrow underground as flames pass over and should have survived, experts said. Meanwhile, thousands of acres of thick chaparral and dead brush have been thinned out, allowing new grasses and wildflowers to grow, which will provide more food soon for wildlife, said Henry Coletto, who worked 40 years as Santa Clara County game warden and now teaches wildlife biology at DeAnza College in Cupertino.