On September 17 a fire broke out in the Savage Run wilderness area that would later become known as the Mullen Fire. At present the fire has consumed over 150 thousand acres in the Medicine Bow National forest. It is easy to get drawn in by the dramatic images that document the 2020 fire season across the US and across the world. I spent several months in the summer of 2020 documenting the forest that would be impacted by this fire. I hope you might take a moment and consider images of what's at risk, what is being lost, and not just the train wreck that is the giant smoke plumes blocking out the sun.
Among other crisis, 2020 has defiantly been a year of fires. Smoke has been heavy in the air since mid July and show no real signs of slowing down. Since the 1990’s the acres consumed by forest fires per year has roughly doubled. We live in a time of loss.
It is more than poor forest management that brought us here, it is a changing of the playing field. Temperatures in Wyoming are nearly 20 degrees warmer than normal format September. There was a freak snowstorm that happened just a week before the fire broke out, yet seems to have done little to mitigate fire danger. The forest is plagued with dead trees that have been impacted for more than a decade by beetles affecting week and stressed trees. All of these factors come together to create a perfect storm, and it will probably be even worse next year…
This is a photo dump with some images of the clouds of destruction that draw you in. Hey it is hard to look away from a train wreck. I have also included images of what is at stake, mostly the habitat, the trees.
It is easy to try and question who caused this and place blame, but does that help? Does it make the fire and its loss go away? We all caused this and we can all fix it in our own way. A lot of us are trying very hard to mitigate our impacts on this Earth, maybe we just need learn more about what we do and to try a bit harder. Maybe it is time for the rest of us to at least accept we all have a role to play. Its up to us at an individual level, but some leadership taking responsibility might go a long way.
I have put up a commercial side to this photo gallery. If you are interested in putting any of these photos in a public space (not a for profit office public space) let me know I am happy to offer them up for production cost. Who knows, if we are not careful this might be all we have left of this forest one day.