If I had a dollar for every theory on how or why morel mushrooms grow when and where, I would be a multi-millionaire. What I know about morel mushroom hunting has been gained from experience looking for them in and around the Rogue Valley. I have researched and read a lot about finding edible fungi, but the most useful information I have gathered by walking through the woods.
Looking in burns is a popular and productive route, both in prescribed burns and large forest fire burns. I generally stick to burns that are one to three years old and hunt them a few weeks prior to when that elevation naturally blooms with morels.
When deciding on an elevation for the day’s adventure, I look at the elevation the snow is currently at and start 500 – 1000 ft in elevation below that. It always depends on the amount of rain we got that year and what the temperatures have been like in the past few weeks. If overnight temperatures have stayed above 45 degrees for three consecutive nights, it is a good sign the soil may be ready to produce.
An excellent way to find local burns and information on them is to check out the Northwest Large Fire Map. Use this tool to find a burn near you and exactly how to access it. The topographic layer will give you detailed information on elevation, drainage, and distance from nearby roads. Northwest Large Fire Map
There are several excellent choices for burn hunting this year within a two hour drive of the Rogue Valley. It is an excellent time to pack up the kids, or the dogs, or both and head out on an adventure!
Mary Jane Feetham