Time Lapse of Forest Fire Recovery

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Forest fires can be devastating to natural ecosystems and human and animal habitats when they’re raging out of control. But when controlled burns and small wildfires take place, they can often benefit the area in the years to come by providing nutrients to the soil, clearing underbrush, and allowing small plants to get sunlight.

There are even some plants that can’t flower and go to seed without a fire. Some pines, for example, aren’t able to release seeds from their pinecones except under extreme heat.

“Fire and pines go together like peas and carrots,” says Bernie Isaacson, an assistant regional forester with the New Jersey Forest Service. “We joke that pitch pines don’t know when to die.”

Photo: YouTube/The Nature Conservancy

Photo: YouTube/The Nature Conservancy

Mother Nature has an amazing and majestic cycle of death and rebirth, and it encompasses all natural occurrences this Earth has to offer, including fires. What’s truly miraculous, however, is just how quickly the cycle can happen.

Photo: YouTube/The Nature Conservancy

Photo: YouTube/The Nature Conservancy

In March of 2013, a group of firefighters performed a controlled burn at Moody Forest Preserve in Georgia with the goal of clearing underbrush, restoring the soil’s nutrients, and providing space for new growth. They placed a camera near ground-level inside the area they intended to burn to capture the spectacular event of regrowth following the fire.

Photo: YouTube/The Nature Conservancy

Photo: YouTube/The Nature Conservancy

Check out the video to see a time lapse of the two-month period following the controlled forest fire. Things start out looking pretty grim for a bit, but as soon as you see the tiny swatches of grass pop up, know that things are going to take off from there!

It’s unbelievable that in such a short span as two months, so many different types and sizes of plants could grow. Toward the end, they’re nearly blocking the view of the camera entirely!

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Fascinating, right? Would you have expected things to come back this fast? Let us know what you think of this incredible transformation in the comments!

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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