Children help replant forest burned by wildfire

Children help replant forest burned by wildfire

6 April 2008

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USA — It’s been nearly 18 years since the Awbrey Hall fire burned through the west side of Bend.

This week, hundreds of locals gathered for Arbor Week activities to help restore the forest that was destroyed in the fire.

On Aug. 4, 1990, the Awbrey Hall Fire destroyed several homes and threatened the entire city of Bend.

Sue Jorgenson remembers that day: “You looked out on the horizon and you could just see the glow of the fire.”

The fire jumped the Deschutes River and moved into neighborhoods, and burned Bend’s natural beauty.

“There was so much that was burned over that fire,” Jorgenson said Saturday.

The city later learned the fire was arson, which makes some residents feel it’s their responsibility help the forest regrow.

“It was human-started, so it’s our responsibility to plant the forest to regrow,” said Eric Denzler of the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District.

It’s a process that without the park district’s help could take up to 100 years to happen.

So the community is giving the process a boost.

Through the park district program, 1,500 young Ponderosa pines are planted in the area that many Shevlin Park trails wind through.

The park district says it’s a great event for families.

“I like coming out and planting trees with my dad,” said Maia Denzler, who helped to plant the trees.

It’s also an activity in which younger generations can learn about the history of fires and the future of the area’s forests.

“You get to handle nature and take care of it,” Maia added.

She is helping to replant the trees that were native to the forest before the Awbrey Hall Fire destroyed them.

Denzler says the volunteers do their part, but it’s up to nature to finish the job.

“If we get enough rain and a few thunderstorms, these trees will do pretty well out here,” he said 

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