December 12, 2017

The outbreak of fires in California remind me of the photography and research I did before I wrote my book WILDFIRES. I spoke at a conference in Fresno and decided to photograph nature in  nearby Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. While photographing I followed a crew of forest rangers and firefighters clearing brush to retard the growth and speed of any future fires. Sometimes that works, other times there is no stopping the explosive growth of wildfires, which is what’s happing now.

 

As I wrote in my book, “A raging wildfire is a frightening thing. Living trees burn as fast as cardboard boxes in a bonfire. Flames race through the treetops, sometimes faster than a person can run, burning at temperatures hot enough to melt steel.”

But then I wrote, “But not all fires are bad. Fires in nature can help as well as harm. A burned forest allows young plants to begin growing. And fire is necessary for some trees, such as sequoias, to release their seeds. Instead of being an ending, fire is often a new chapter in the continuing story of the natural world.”

I think that it is a good thing to teach children that in nature, things are often neither good nor evil, but part of the natural rhythms of the world.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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