A year and a half after the Station fire laid waste to Angeles National Forest lands above La Cañada Flintridge, signs of life, including fields of wildflowers bursting with color, have risen from the once-charred ground.
With the blessing of the U.S. Forest Service, mountain biker and photographer Mike Caley has enjoyed a rare view of the natural recovery of otherwise closed parts of the forest.
Caley will share hundreds of photographs documenting that recovery process during a presentation Wednesday at the La Cañada Flintridge Public Library. He’ll also be pitching audience members on ways to lend nature a helping hand by planting trees in some of the forest’s formerly wooded areas.
“There’s been unbelievable, off-the-chart stuff happening up there,” said Caley, an architect who had been biking in the forest for nearly 20 years before the August 2009 wildfire, the largest ever in Los Angeles County.
“By April, plants were already coming back. There are pictures of charred black hillsides with burnt sticks of underbrush and then spots of yellow poppies. Then the whole hillside is yellow. Then another layer of plants replace them, and then a whole group of lupines or wild Canterbury bells replace them. It was just a cycle of color,” he continued.