By Wilson Walker

INVERNESS (CBS SF) — The Vision, or Inverness Ridge Fire, burned more than 12,000 acres and nearly 50 homes in 1995. The Woodward fire is now burning down at the southern end of that area, with not much in the way of overlap. The two fires together can tell us a lot about the past, present, and future of the Point Reyes landscape.

To see what replaced that Vision Fire devastation, a drive up Limantour Road will take park visitors past lush, old growth forest. Until, at one singleturn, the forest changes.

“I wouldn’t call it a scar,” says John Dell’Osso, former Point Reyes chief of interpretation. “I guess I would call it an event that occurred there.”

Dell’Osso spent 36 years as the park’s chief of interpretation. He says the renewal out of 1995 was remarkable, with Bishop Pine exploding back across the burn zone.

“And then they got to a point where they were very thick, very dense, which again, is not a good thing,” Dell’Osso says. “So we, probably in the last 10 years, did a fair amount of clearing.”

So within a decade, regrowth from the Vision Fire was its fire hazard. Just about everything one sees along some of many of the Point Reyes ridgelines is regrowth since ’95.

“Point Reyes National Seashore is this incredibly resilient landscape,” Dell’Osso says. “There’s little doubt in my mind that once all of this is finally suppressed, that a similar event will occur with the vegetation where we see it come back in this type of a mosaic pattern.”

In ’95, that fire burned all the way into the sand dunes of Limantour Beach. Dell’Osso says green sprouts of grass were coming up here just a day after that beach burned. 

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