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How to Resurrect Gold-Rush Era Orchards Ravaged by Fire
Jan 14, 2022 | Atlas Obscura
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On the afternoon of July 23, 2018, in the heart of Northern California’s Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, a vehicle towing a dual-axle trailer blew a tire. As the steel rim scraped the highway’s pavement, sparks flew into the dry grass lining the road and ignited what became the Carr Fire, the most destructive fire in National Park Service history. Over the next five weeks, the conflagration would tear through 97 percent of Whiskeytown’s 250,000 acres, incinerating almost everything in its path.

The fire leveled administration buildings and reduced park residences to piles of ash. Marinas, boats, and bridges were heavily damaged or destroyed. Thousands of trees were blackened and burnt, including many in the park’s historic fruit orchards, which were planted at the height of the California Gold Rush and had survived more than 150 years of fire, floods, and drought.

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