Looking back, forward: Two months since Two Bulls

Forest is starting to heal after fire west of Bend

Two months since Two Bulls

It has now been two months since the Two Bulls Fire burned over 6,000 acres of private forest land west of Bend, forcing evacuations and warnings. The forest is beginning its long road to recovery, while we are waiting for answers on the suspicious, human-caused fire.

Oregon State Police confirmed Monday there have been no breaks in the investigation into the fire. It was confirmed earlier that it was human-caused and police called the Two Bulls Fire arson.

The forest doesn't wait, though. Wildflowers are popping up and some small bushes are growing under the charred trees.

Fire ecologist Geoff Babb said that because the fire happened so early in the season, there is a chance that rain later in the summer will help the land recover more quickly. However, he said if there is less moisture, it might not bode well for seeds and plants trying to grow in the fire's wake.

Pine needles have mostly fallen off the trees and are laying on the ground. That might not be a bad sign, though.

"That's real significant -- that's a really healthy thing," Babb said.

That's because if the Ponderosa pines drop their needles it means they could be alive. The act shows that they are shedding their needles for new healthier ones.

However, we won't see major signs of recovery until next summer or longer.

"It's just going to take over the winter into next spring for things to start coming back," Babb said.

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