The Angeles Crest Highway has claimed all the publicity in the reopening of huge stretches of the Angeles National Forest that have been closed since the Station fire almost two years ago. But it is the hiking trails that provide the revelation. Virtually every tree is still gaunt and blackened, except for the startling white of an occasional young yucca. But the flowering shrubs — yellow, purple and orange — have grown so high and dense that in many places, you can’t see over, or through, them. Already the first butterflies of the season are back.
What a difference from the charred mess in the months following the fire, when whole hillsides were bare of vegetation and the only signs of life were a few insects crawling listlessly along the dry earth or a small group of crows searching for the burned remains of small animals. Now the lifeless grey and brown slopes that were painful to look at are covered in bright spring grass that is, in places, too thick to easily force a way through.