The Rim Fire is the first of any ecological significance in about a decade in the area stretching from the Sequoia National Forest south of Yosemite to north of Lake Tahoe, said Chad Hanson, a forest ecologist and environmental activist who has published a number of papers on the significance and increasing rarity of post-fire habitat in the Sierra Nevada.
Eventually the forest will come back.
“Because we are in such tremendous deficit of this post-fire habitat type, especially in this area, the Rim Fire is a good thing ecologically,” Hanson said. “This is not destruction, this is ecological restoration.”
The fire approached the main reservoir serving San Francisco, but fears that the inferno could disrupt water or hydroelectric power to the city diminished. On Tuesday the fire moved into the watershed, which increases the chances of sediment runoff this winter.
Yosemite crews continue to keep water on two groves of giant sequoias less than 10 miles from the fire’s front lines.