Katherine Minkiewicz-Martine, SOCONEWS
[Michele] Luna said the fire that went through Armstrong Woods was a healthy fire. “It’s coming back quite nicely. It’s really quite beautiful.”
Almost a year after the Walbridge Fire made its way down Austin Creek and into parts of the forest floor of Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, the forest is showing healthy signs of regrowth.
The Walbridge Fire started on Aug. 17, 2020, after a rare summer thunderstorm that was responsible for several large wildfires in the state.
Only days after the fire started, it was at 1,500 acres and growing with no containment.
With decades worth of overgrown brush and dry fuel buildup, the fire wasn’t contained for weeks and it made its way down drainage basins and through the crowns of redwood forests, burning a total of 55,209 acres.
As the fire made its way into Armstrong Woods, fire crews were stationed in and around the park and near the 308-foot Colonel Armstrong tree in an effort to protect the great giant and its neighbors.
While the Walbridge Fire did not impact any structures or iconic trees such as the 1,400-year-old Colonel Armstrong tree, the fire did back its way down through the Austin Creek State Recreation Area through the Bullfrog Pond Campground, causing damage to picnic tables, bathrooms, fencing and trails.