It is no surprise i missed the news that the Okefenokee was struck by lightning April 28 setting off the Honey Prairie wildfire which was still burning in July according to numerous news reports and, according to npr the other morning, is still burning—underground!
Our canoe through Pogo’s homeland back in March 2010 showed us that the black swamp was not a stranger to widfires, evidence both recent and long past was everywhere. This time, according to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge website the fires were started by a lightning strike on April 28, 2011. Water levels were and are much lower in the swamp than they were before the 2007 fires which we saw evidence of—was this wildfire influenced by mankind?
Are we causing our own droughts not just through climate-change influences but through water overuse as well?
The swamp will recover. A fragile ecosystem, it is also dynamic. It saw wildfires hundreds of years ago when no one was around to contain them, it saw them 50 years ago (in the 1950s a fire burned for over a year), and it will continue to be threatened, although they do seem to be coming more often. The swamp will regenerate but it will be changed. The real threat seems to be the lower water levels, as parts of the swamp dry up it’s ecosystem is obviously diminished and the question still is are we causing this?? The question is moot—what’s wrong with living as if we are?
There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tiny blasts of tiny trumpets, we have met the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.
—Walt Kelly, author of Pogo