Fires change land but don't destroy it
A lot of attention has been devoted to the Duck Lake forest fire near the Luce/Chippewa county line in the Upper Peninsula. Fires happen every year in Michigan, but this year's dry, windy conditions fueled a blaze that made for some spectacular photos and video that caught the attention of people from as far away as the United Kingdom.
The fire burned over 21,000. It is has been contained through the efforts of dozens of firefighters and a little help from some much-needed rain, but nearly 100 houses, cabins, outbuildings and other structures – including the famed Rainbow Lodge near the mouth of the Two-Hearted River – were destroyed.
It has been interesting to hear and read the reactions of people who are learning about the fire. Some act as if the entire U.P. is on fire. Some talk about the land being “lost” or “destroyed.” Certainly, the land has been altered, but it is still there, waiting to renew itself. Forest fires – or wild fires – are Mother Nature’s way of hitting the reset button. They have been burning for as long as there have been trees, grass and lightning and they will continue to burn.
While many people lament the loss of trees and landscape, those sorts of sentiments should be reserved for people who have lost their homes or businesses. Within a couple years, the land itself will be green again and the resulting new growth will be a good thing for many species of wildlife. Right now, the land may look different from the way it has appeared for the last 10 to 20 years, but even if it hadn't burned, it would have looked different in another 10 years, too.
Like it or not, Mother Nature keeps moving, doesn’t wait for anyone, and doesn’t ask if we approve of the changes that are coming.