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Burned On Both Sides

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The effects of forest fires in the West appear devastating. In reality, many of the trees require fire to regenerate, and while during this time of climate change these fires seem more frequent and intense, trees such as the lodgepole pine and Douglas fir couldn't survive without them. 

In this photo, taken a couple of days after the winter solstice, I hiked through a desolate, burned forest during late afternoon to see what signs of life I could find. There were elk tracks, grazing on grass that had sprung up all across the mountainside, woodpeckers and nuthatches, and, eight years after the inferno, already some seedlings. Here, at sunset, the land appears burned on two sides.