Fire Cavities

Fire Cavities

In the Redwoods there are many surprises.  One of the ones that I personally love is the impact of streams of sunlight that sneak through the giant trees and illuminate the forest in unexpected ways.   I stopped along the road while driving to take a picture of the light streaming through and making the forest pop with beauty.

Another surpriseFire 1 that caught us as we walked through the forest is what I have come to learn are “Fire Cavities.”  The one in this picture was large enough that it could have been an overnight shelter if one was lost in the woods.  This one had a special beauty for us because you could look through the entire base of the tree to the forest on the other side.  Terri actually took a better picture of this particular tree but I think you get the idea of what this fire cavity looked like

Looking at the fire cavity led me to ask the question “How?  How could a tree that obviously went through such a major fire event have survived?”  I lived for 20 years in the valley between Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest.  I witnessed the devastation caused by the Pine Bark Beetle infestation in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  I witnessed the devastating fire to those forests by lightning strikes and human failings.  Why did the pine forests of the northern Rocky Mountains burn and cause such huge destruction while the Redwoods seem to survive?  Here is a bit of what I found out.

“The thick, tannin-rich bark, combined with foliage starting high above the ground, provides good protection from both fire and insect damage, contributing to the coast redwood’s longevity. The oldest known specimen is about 2,200 years old…  Because of their seemingly timeless lifespans, coast redwoods were deemed the “everlasting redwood” at the turn of the century… Redwood must endure fire to attain such great ages, so this species has many fire-resistant characteristics. In addition, fires appear to actually benefit redwoods by causing substantial mortality in competing species while having only minor effects on redwood. A study published in 2010, the first to compare post wildfire survival and regeneration of redwood and associated species, concluded fires of all severity increase the relative abundance of redwood and higher-severity fires provide the greatest benefit.”  Wikipedia

Fire 3 Fire 2

Something in the make-up of the Redwood gives them added protection from fire.  Even though they bear the mark of fires past, they survive and continue to grow as a testimony to their unique design.

Fires are a natural part of many eco-systems.  The organisms that are equipped with the right stuff have a better chance of survival than those that are not.  Temptations are a natural part of our spiritual eco-system, fires of the soul you might say.  1 Corinthians 10:1-13 tells us that this has always been the case with God’s people.  Just as forests and fires go hand in hand so lovers of God and the temptation to do it our own way go hand in hand.  The Apostle Paul reminds us at the end of this passage that walking in the faithfulness of God is our natural protection against being consumed.  Listen to these words as I remember them from the King James version of the Bible:

There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.  But, God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that you are able, but, will with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. 

And what is that “way of escape?”  Staying close to the one who is our protection.

Walk close to the Lord today…and each day.

Pastor Paul.