Are you interested in hunting for the elusive burn morel this spring? If so, the Arizona Mushroom Society in collaboration with Modern Forager, has just created maps of 2020 wildfires, that you will want for your hunt.
Despite being in a La Nina weather pattern and experiencing extreme drought conditions over the past two years, we received a push of moisture at the end of March. Hopefully this late winter/early spring moisture will help with our ever optimistic pursuit to find burn morels in the mountains of our desert state.
When conditions are right, burn morels can grow in large numbers in recently burned areas. They grow in habitat ranging from Ponderosa pine forests to higher elevation spruce-fir vegetation. Since they grow from tree roots, they can only be found in areas with these trees. The fruiting of morel mushrooms can be triggered by wildfires, so having a good map of recent wildfire boundaries is a key resource for having a successful hunt.
The most limiting factor in Arizona is enough moisture to facilitate the growth of burn morels before it gets too hot and dry for them to fruit. So, some years are better than others based on snowpack, spring precipitation, and temperatures.
Hunting the Arizona burn morels is challenging. You will need to consider key factors of the locations you are looking such as slope, aspect, soil temperatures, tree species, and whether or not the area has been recently burned. To help with the latter, the Arizona Mushroom Society in collaboration with Modern Forager, have created maps of 2020 wildfires that can be downloaded and used by Arizona Mushroom Society members for FREE via the Avenza Maps app. This builds on a library of existing wildfire perimeter maps available for 2018 and 2019 wildfire as well.
In addition, the Modern Forager has created an impressive library of Morel burn maps with a Burn Morel E-book and additional mapping resources. For AMS members who to get maps for other states or want access to reference information to learn more about burn morels, you can get a special membership to Modern Forager rate to access these resources for $10. Your membership will support Arizona Mushroom Society.
To access the free Arizona Mushroom Society Burn Morel library and for instructions on how to use these maps, please register for this event and an email with this information will be sent to you.