NORTHSTATE AREA, Calif. — The Dixie Fire burned over 960,000 acres in its entirety, with over 73,000 acres burned in Lassen Volcanic National Park alone.
The fire affected 69% of the park’s total land, officials said.
Large pockets of burn scars can be seen for miles while driving into the park. The Lassen Volcanic National Park's Program Manager, Kevin Sweeney, said there are a lot of emotions when first entering the park.
“There’s a sense of loss and you do feel impacted by that fire,” Sweeney said.
However, this does not mean all parts of the park were completely burned. In fact, some of the burns actually benefited the forest.
"There’s mixed severity in there,” Sweeney said. “Areas where there was low severity, it just burned along the forest floor. It actually did a lot of good work. But, as you see coming in areas, like Mt. Conner, high-intensity, high-severity burns is where it does look very impacted.”
Officials said the fire loosens the soil at the base of trees by burning their roots until there is nothing holding the tree onto the dirt. This can increase the risk of mudslides as winter storms come in—which Sweeney said they are preparing for.
“We’ve been busy stabilizing trails, stabilizing roads, removing hazardous trees, but there’s going to be erosion,” Sweeney said. “There’s going to be mudslides. We've seen trees come down. So, that’s going to be actually the next several years in the park.”
Despite the burns, there were still people coming out to the park to sled and just enjoy what the national park has to offer.
Sweeney said there are still plenty of places for people to explore and visitors will be surprised at how much of the park wasn’t actually impacted by the fire.
“Then as you go into the park you realize a lot of your favorite places made it through okay,” Sweeney said. “A lot of the areas west and north of the park road. Maybe you’re going to notice some of that loss as you first come in, but then as you explore your park you’re going to find those favorite places that weren’t impacted either.”
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