Are all those trees definitely dead?

Fire damage in the Blue Mountains, 2020: Mike Macgirvin in Mastodon, 19feb2020

“Are all those trees definitely dead, or is there a possibility some will come back from the roots? ”

Answering that question is the reason I took this expedition. In a normal or I guess "old-fashioned" bushfire, some percentage of the trees die but many come back after a year or two. This fire burned a lot hotter than anything we've seen before. Compounding this is the general lack of rain going back 10-20 years. Many trees were already struggling to stay alive. In the native woodland on my property, half the trees are dead. We've been losing about 10-15 per year to the drought. This number should be one or two in normal times. The same thing that has been happening on my property is happening to the national forest - and that's why there was such a big fire. The trees are all drying up and dying. After a few years without significant water, the wood splits internally near the trunk, and once it has been damaged like this, it can't pump nutrients to its branches any more. So to get back to the original question, most of these trees are going to die. A few came through without being significantly burned and if we get good rain in the next year or two, they'll survive. If we don't, they won't.

Also, what happened in Tasmania over the last several years has been well researched - some forests there have been through two or more fires in a short time span. This kills the seedlings and epicormic shoots and the only thing that survives after that is weeds that blow in. Those forests are wiped out and could take centuries for trees to come back. They are just forests full of dead black sticks and sparse weeds. This is what we desperately need to prevent happening in the Blue Mountains, but I don't know if we aren't already past the point of no return just based on how hot this fire burned.

--- There are pictures and some comments here website