Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 9, 2021

Borrego Palm Canyon Grove: Encouraging Regeneration One Year After the Fire!

From the Anza- Borrego Foundation

After the devastating fire in Borrego Palm Canyon’s First Grove one year ago on January 18, the native Californian fan palms are recovering and making a promising comeback.

The initial images emerging after the fire were disheartening. Many of us, including Park staff on the Natural Resources Team, feared the worst immediately after the event. Yet, nature is resilient, and after just a few weeks, new palm fronds emerged on the native fan palms, Washingtonia filifera. Now, a year later, it appears that all of them may have survived which will be more rigorously assessed by the Park’s biologists and environmental scientists in the coming months.

The Borrego Palm Canyon trail had been closed for 10 months to assist with initial recovery and is now open as a modified loop trail that leads to an overlook but not inside the grove itself.

As Senior Environmental Scientist Danny McCamish shares, “The soil under the palms was completely burnt and is now extremely vulnerable to erosion from the creek bed and heavy flooding events and also susceptible to establishment of non-native undergrowth. We are actively working on removing non-native plants and stabilizing the soil to aid in the generation of a carbon layer that will help the palms’ root system with continued recovery and robust health. We thank the general public for following our guidelines to assist with the stabilization and regeneration efforts to preserve this iconic palm grove for all future generations.”

Click HERE to watch a one-minute video of the initial fire-fighting efforts by ground and air crews on January 18, 2020 and the grove a year later (video by Sicco Rood/Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center).

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