Weekly Photo Challenge: Jeffrey Pine Contrast

One of the amazing things about working in wildland fire is the landscapes produced by such a powerful elemental. Fire has long been a part of our western landscapes as an agent of change. Sometimes the change is subtle, but in the case where people are involved, that change can be drastic.

In the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, natural occurring fires have been suppressed as long as Europeans have settled the land. Unfortunately, that means a build-up of forest litter and what we in the business call ‘fuel’: down timber, branches, and other vegetative debris. It all burns.

During what is called a crown fire, often the very forest burns. This is what happened to a patch of forest near South Lake Tahoe in 2007 during a wind-driven firestorm. The spring after the fire, I went into the denuded forest to take pictures of the damage and rebirth. The photo above showcases the dead Jeffrey Pine trees*, their blackened branches reaching for the bright, blue sky for the last time**.

* A-Z Archive: “J” Photo

** WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

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6 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Jeffrey Pine Contrast

  1. “Sometimes the change is subtle, but in the case where people are involved, that change can be drastic.”

    Word.

    I’ve always had something of a morbid fascination with how this planet ‘destroys’ itself, just to come back more alive than before. But it’s sometimes hard to reconcile that when people are affected.

    1. I wouldn’t call it morbid. The process of renewal is fascinating and eternal. But, yeah, when homes are threaten or when we change the environment around us so much that we (and pretty much everything else) can’t live in it, well, then it becomes sad.

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