My dad works in Tuolumne County and routinely travels highways 108 and 120. Today, on his way through, he took all these pictures with his iPhone.
In his words:
The first three photos were taken along Evergreen Rd going into Evergreen Lodge and outside of Yosemite National Park. The thing to think about is that if any trees are to be logged they have to come out before this winter because with the bark burned off of them the wood will not be any good after it freezes (because the bark insulates the wood.)
He showed me these photos and I had such an overwhelming feeling of devastation. In the post just prior to this, I posted pics of Sugar Pine community. The thick trees and foliage is what all of this area looked like just weeks ago. Now it looks liked the Nevada desert. The air is still smoky in the morning, and there are still firemen in the area finishing up with the back burns and the original fire. One fireman said it would be months before the smoke is completely gone from the air. And what will happen when the rains start and wash away all the top soil? Landslides, rivers and creeks will clog with all the debris...and what about all the flame retardant? I know nothing about about it? Is it environmentally safe?
One of the stores my dad travels to said a bear walked through the grocery store parking lot, all his fur burned off, his mussel burned, and his paws must have been burned because he would stop and lick his paws every few steps. Heartbreaking. If the bear survives the initial burns, how will he survive the winter with no coat? How will he hunt for food right now with injured paws? What about all the birds? The deer? All the other wildlife? I know it's a part of the cycle of life, but I hate being faced with the reality of it.
Thankfully, so many homes were saved. So many ranchers were able to save their horses and cattle. So many community members pulled together to support one another in this horrific disaster. The mountain community is strong- it will always be strong. It's events like these that really put things in perspective for every one- I know I stopped to count my blessings and give thanks for all that could have gone wrong that didn't for my family and friends. Thank you, firemen for all that you risked to save so much for so many people.