New life sprouts from wildfire ashes

GSMNP, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Wildlife experts report new life is sprouting next to burned trunks on Baskins Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

"You just see these seedlings rising from the ashes and helping this landscape recover just as our entire community has been," Dana Soehn with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park described.

Soehn showed Local 8 News Reporter Sarah Jane Anderson the intense burned landscape, something plenty of tourists have looked for over the past year.

"Most of them were amazed. Thankful and grateful that they didn't have these lasting scars across the landscape. But at the same time, many were curious what it did look like," Soehn commented.

The hundreds of acres burned were just a small part of the massive national park. While wildlife experts are seeing growth, some said it's a slow process.

"To see a climax forest here may take another 80 or 100 years. But it's going to be stabilized by a community of different vegetation types over time," Soehn explained.

Soehn said the park's loss is incomparable to the community's loss.

"As far as the park landscape, there's really nothing to compare to the losses in the community because as we've seen today, these vegetation communities are going to recover. That points to the resiliency of the Smokies and these mountains," Soehn said.