Despite devastation from Dollar Ridge Fire, there are some benefits for wildlife and vegetation

The Dollar Ridge Fire burned around 60,000 acres, but less than a month after the mountain tops were covered in burn scars, they’re now seeing regrowth. 

“The fire did a lot of destruction and there’s a lot of reconstruction happening now,” said Tonya Kieffer-Selby, a spokeswoman for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “The fire definitely is like hitting a restart button for vegetation in the habitat. It helps with all of the regrowth.” 

Hidden among the burnt ashes and limbs, signs of new life are budding; new oak and aspen trees surround burnt stumps. Vegetation, though, isn’t the only thing returning to the mountainside.

“There were reports of a big bull moose in a section that we were at today,” Kieffer-Selby said. 

Kieffer-Selby also found fresh tracks of mule deer. The signs of life showing restoration can come from devastation.

“It was sad that there were homes lost,” Kieffer-Selby said. “It was sad that there were people directly affected in this fire, but as far as the overall health of the area—it was actually a really good thing.”

Good for both wildlife and vegetation, but with hunting season around the corner, Kieffer-Selby said to take care while walking on the burn scars.

“The one thing we don’t want is for hunters, sportsmen, citizens recreating to go out into the habitat and damage it further,” Kieffer-Selby said.