I took this photo one day when I was in the Everglades and as bad it appears it's actually part of the ecosystem much like forest fires are in Colorado, where I moved from. Fire is a key way the Everglades maintains its ecosystem and keeps climate change at bay.

Fire is an important component of the ecology and is a natural part of the Everglades’ ecosystem, which is a carbon sink capable of holding down huge amounts of carbon in its peat soil. Mark Clark is a wetlands specialist at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and he states that “If marshes don't burn they turn into forests eventually so it's actually a good thing to be happening. Fire is an important component of the ecology.” To avoid fires, wildlife officials in state will often conduct controlled burns to help keep natural wildfires from getting out of control.

Fire in the Everglades is burning up sawgrass which can grow up to nine feet tall. If the fire burns straight down the stalks of sawgrass and scorches the peat soil, that would send the stored carbon back into the atmosphere. But sawgrass marsh is usually inundated with water, and as long as there’s enough vegetation, the peat won’t burn off. The fire will also emits carbon as it burns, that carbon will be reabsorbed as the sawgrass regrows, which it will do fairly quickly.

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