Among the firefighting heroes, a broad-tailed variety deserves some credit. At least that was true last August during the Eagle Creek Fire. Compared with this summer’s onslaught, that 3,000-acre burn seems trivial, but it could have ignited much more, without the help of beavers!
Fields of salsify had taken over the meadows. Like seedy jellyfish, their globular mass of achenes, wisps of fiber, now clogged and floated on airy currents. Previously, a warp and weft of tall grasses — generations of growth and death — had matted the meadow ground, cushioning it against invading seeds, shading out any that dared to intrude.