A few days ago I got the chance to drive over to the area and check out the damage. I was expecting great swathes of blackness but what I found was this.
Lots of burnt fence posts. The blackened plants you see are charred yucca plants with drifts of sand filling in empty spots.
I was surprised at how much blackness I didn't see. But the grass that did burn would have been brown and dry and with the high winds that are so common out here I don't imagine the ashes settled anywhere near the vicinity of the fire. Once out there I realized the greatest danger of a prairie fire is probably the smoke and not the fire itself.
It's hard to tell by the photos but piles of sand have drifted between the burnt yucca. Even from the road it was kind of eerie to see. DR and I watched a PBS documentary on the Dust Bowl and the burned fields with it's abundance of sand looked very much like the Kansas windblown prairie of the 30's.
I can't imagine the fortitude it took for Kansans to have survived the Dust Bowl when they were faced with a landscape much harsher than this.
I am very happy that I live in 2011 vs. 1935. Until recently, I never knew how lucky I was.