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Fire Morels & How to Use Burn Sites to Find Them

Burn Morels Cover Page

When it comes to hunting for morel mushrooms, experienced foragers know that burns can be a valuable tool in their arsenal. While it may seem counterintuitive, burns can actually create ideal conditions for morel growth, leading to a bountiful harvest. In this article, we'll discuss what Fire Morels (aka Burn Morels) are, and how use them in your pursuit of a successful hunt.

What are Burn Morels?

Burn morels, also known as fire morels or wildfire morels, are a type of edible mushroom that often grow in areas that have been recently burned by wildfires or controlled burns. These mushrooms are highly prized by mushroom hunters and chefs for their unique flavor and texture.

Burn morels can be found in a variety of habitats, but they are most commonly found in areas where the soil has been recently disturbed by fire. The intense heat from the fire creates a nutrient-rich environment that is ideal for morel growth. The mushrooms typically come up the year after the fire in a given location, and can continue to fruit for several years after the event.

Morel Mushroom

Why Do Morels Grow in Burns?

So, how exactly do burns benefit morel mushrooms? Let's explore the science behind it. Morel mushrooms are a type of fungus that thrive in nutrient-rich soils. When a fire burns through an area, it not only clears out excess brush and debris, but it also releases nutrients into the soil. This nutrient-rich environment, coupled with the fact that the fire removes competing vegetation, creates an ideal habitat for morel mushrooms to grow.

Why Don't Fires Kill Morels?

You may be thinking, wouldn't the fires damage the mycelium? Well, Morel mycelium has adapted to live underground where the soil is less effected by the scorching temperatures. Additionally, they form a hard, rock-like mass called a sclerotia that protects the dormant mycelium under periods of environmental stress.

Sclerotia Morel in Palm
Photo of Sclerotia: Via Wikipedia

How To Use Burns to Find Morels

If you're interested in using burns to your advantage when hunting for morel mushrooms, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, safety should always be your top priority. Only hunt in areas that have been safely burned and be sure to follow all local regulations and guidelines.

Once you've identified a safe area to hunt, start by looking for signs of morel growth. These mushrooms are known to grow in clusters and can often be found around the bases of trees or in areas with dense undergrowth. Be sure to bring a basket or bag to collect your finds and avoid stepping on any potential growth. For a more in-depth guide on finding morels, check out our guide.


It's important to note that burns are not a guaranteed source of morel mushrooms. While they can create ideal conditions for growth, weather and other environmental factors can still impact their success. Don't be discouraged if you don't find a large harvest in a burned area - the hunt is all part of the fun! You can also look for non-burn, or "natural" Morels, but less predictably. For information on that, check out our guide on looking for morels & using tree identification as your starting point.

In addition to hunting in burned areas, there are other techniques you can use to increase your chances of finding morel mushrooms. For example, many foragers swear by the "secret spot" method. By finding a location that has yielded successful harvests in the past and returning to it year after year, you can increase your chances of finding morels.


Ultimately, the key to a successful morel mushroom hunt is patience and persistence. By using burns to your advantage and exploring different areas, you'll increase your chances of finding these elusive mushrooms. Whether you're a seasoned forager or a novice, the thrill of the hunt is sure to keep you coming back for more.


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