Rare burn morel mushrooms popping up in Colorado | VailDaily.com

Rare burn morel mushrooms popping up in Colorado

Allyson Reedy, Denver Post
Burn morels the rare mushrooms that pop up in burn scars, and after southern Colorado’s huge fire last year (the third largest wildfire in CO history) there a boom of burn morels in La Veta. (Photo by Joe Amon, The Denver Post)

From the pine cones, leaves, weeds, sprouts, twigs, brush, pine, dirt and ash — 50 shades of brown, really — burst morel mushrooms. Specifically, burn morels (or fire morels), which flourish the year after large wildfires.

The spongy, hollow, honeycombed little weirdos are the Cadillacs (or the Teslas, depending on your generation) of mushrooms. They’re coveted for their meaty, umami-rific taste, and they’re hard to find. Unless it’s the year following a forest fire, in which case it can be a burn morel bonanza.

Last summer, the Spring Creek Fire burned 108,045 acres in southern Colorado, making it the third-largest wildfire in state history. It crept very close to little La Veta, population 779, but spared the town. What I was scouring the earth for up at Old La Veta Pass are the silver lining of that devastation.

“I’d always heard of fire morels but never had the opportunity to find them,” said Bob Kennemer, professional naturalist and director of La Veta’s Francisco Fort Museum and my guide for the foraging. “The year after the fire, they’re the most prolific, and then they fade out the years after that. We’ve got a lot this year.”

No one really knows why fire triggers the mushrooming of the mushrooms.

Read more via The Denver Post.




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