As many of you know from watching the "soot devils" blowing through the seared and blackened landscape at our Greaterville orienteering event two years ago, the northwest corner of our Greaterville/Kentucky Camp map area was torched by wildfires in late Spring 2011.  Almost two years later, on a pleasant, sunny Sunday in late March 2013, five TOC mappers joined forces to field check this changed landscape and try to make the map right again.

Not knowing exactly how bad the burn damage was, our determined group of field checkers - Jeff Brodsky, Jeff Brucker, Dave Follette, Ludwig Hill, and Leif Lundquist - expected to spend all day re-mapping greatly-changed vegetation boundaries, burned out fences and other man-made structures, radically changed erosion features, and new roads and trails created by fire fighting teams during the fire suppression effort.  However, as it turned out nature and many man-made features are quite resilient and the precipitation was mild in the past few years so things had not changed as much as expected since before the fire.  The most significant change was that almost all of the originally mapped undergrowth was burned into non-existence and many formerly slow-running and difficult-running areas are now merely open-scattered forest (living and dead trees) which can be quickly run through by orienteers.  The mapping was therefore surprisingly easier than expected and thus we were able to complete the field checking pretty much by around lunch time.

We used the existing Greaterville/Kentucky Camp map for a base map (1:7500-scale color print) on which to make our field checking notes and applied the same mapping standards that were used in 2004 to create the original Greaterville map.  Ludwig later used our field checking notes to update the master map file using Ocad cartographic software.

Below are some photos of the burn area and our mapping activities:

 

Soot Devil in 2011

Soot Devil in 2011 (Photo by Pat Penn)

 

Burn Terrain

Two Years Later The Burn Terrain is Recovering (Photo by Ludwig Hill)

 

The Mapping Team

The Mapping Team Poses for the Camera Before Getting to Work  (Photo by Ludwig Hill)

 

Lunch Break

We Finished Early So Now Its Time For Lunch (Photo by Ludwig Hill)

 

This or This

The US Forest Service Gives Us a Graphic Reminder (Photo by Ludwig Hill)

 

Yucca Remains

Burnt Remains Still Litter the Terrain (Photo by Ludwig Hill)