The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Land Protection

November 16, 2020

Natural disasters have detrimental effects on the environment. The California wildfires are no exception, having destroyed forests, structures, and more since they initially began in August. 


One impact of the wildfires that is often overlooked is the consequences they have on the soil.


Without the presence of a wildfire, forested land contains four different layers. At the very top there is litter, which consists of dry leaves and pine needles. Directly below is the organic-rich soil, from which plants draw nutrients in order to keep growing. 


Beneath the organic-rich soil lies a water repellant layer and a layer of wettable soil, which act together to protect the soil and hold water for the trees to use. 


During a wildfire, the flames actively burn the vegetation and litter layer, consuming the rich organic soil in the process. The bottom layer of wettable soil decreases significantly as well. 


After the wildfire has gone, the ash remaining from the fire mixes with the soil and stays on the surface of the land, replacing the vegetation, litter, and organic-rich soil.


The wettable soil is largely depleted, leaving behind half as much of the layer as there used to be before the wildfire. 


Due to the devastating effects a wildfire can have on forest land, it is important to clean up excess litter and use fire-resistant materials on your property. Doing so can eliminate some of the damage the wildfires can cause to the soil structure and help the land recover.

How is land protected from fires?

About the Contributors
Photo of Maya Kornyeyeva
Maya Kornyeyeva, Cartoon Managing Editor
Maya Kornyeyeva is a senior at Carlmont High School and she enjoys social media marketing and digital design. She is a co-founder of an ocean ecology club at school, through which she helps advocate for environmental issues. Kornyeyeva also participates in volunteering activities with Key Club, and likes to write about topics such as pop culture, climate, and science.
Twitter: @kor_maya

View her portfolio at:

Photo of Raina Lahiri
Raina Lahiri, Staff Writer
Raina Lahiri is a junior and Highlander editor at Carlmont High School. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies and spending time with friends and family.

Twitter: @RainaLahiri

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