A pine cone sits on the ground of the Pine...

A pine cone sits on the ground of the Pine Barrens in Flanders. (Oct. 20, 2011) Credit: Ed Betz

Fire and renewal

In the hidden agenda of the natural world, there is a positive side to the Manorville pine barrens fire: renewal ["Firefighters to get a festival of thanks," News, April 13]. Burning nature releases free carbon atoms in the form of ash and scorched trees -- carbon that has been combined in complex molecules that is now free to recombine.

Many other elements are freed as well, and nature will use them. The fire aftermath will allow the beginning of regrowth. The soil has been fertilized by the ash. Underground roots will resprout. Pitch pine trees will grow new needles. The process of photosynthesis will continue.

In the ecosystem of any forest, which includes the pine barrens, a fire leads to rebirth.

Tom Stock, Babylon

Editor's note: The writer is the author of "Hidden Agenda: A Poetry Journey," about living in the Manorville pine barrens.