The Station Fire, Los Angeles

The Day Fire, Alamo Mountain, Los Padres National Forest

The Day Fire, Alamo Mountain, Los Padres National Forest

Photographer Brandon Riza has created an incredible time-lapse video (using a Canon 5D) of Los Angeles’s Station Fire on August 30, 2009. Although the Station Fire began only days ago, it is already one of the largest wildfires in recorded California history (the 2003 San Diego Cedar Fire is #1 at 273,246 acres burned), and with containment currently only at 5% and full containment projected more than two weeks out, it has the potential to finish in the Top 5. Let’s hope that it does not.

I tried to embed Brandon’s video here, but could not get it to work. See this amazing one minute and six second video HERE. Brandon’s also got a lot of great panoramic mountain photography on his homepage.

Since I could not embed the video, I’ve embedded one of my photographs from the Day Fire, California’s fifth largest recorded wildfire (264 square miles burned). In 2007, The Wilderness Society contracted me to photograph the post-wildfire environment on Los Padres National Forest’s Alamo Mountain.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

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Restore the Mendo

Incinerated - Alamo Mountain.

Incinerated

In late 2007 I completed a photographic assignment for The Wilderness Society on Alamo Mountain in the Los Padres National Forest, California. Just the year before, on Labor Day 2006, the Day Fire broke out on the Los Padres and burned continuously for nearly six weeks (becoming the sixth largest wildfire in state history). By the time it was over, 162,000 acres had burned, yet the conspicuously green top of Alamo Mountain remained nearly unscathed. How did Alamo Mountain escape incineration? Several U.S. Forest Service controlled burns took place before the Day Fire rolled through. During these controlled burns, trees were thinned and dense ground fuels were eliminated, thus protecting Alamo Mountain from the raging Day Fire that swirled about it.

After spending many days on Alamo Mountain exploring and making photographs for The Wilderness Society, I become a huge advocate of controlled burns. I was already an advocate, but here I was seeing with my own eyes the direct benefits of controlled burns. Standing amongst wildflowers and healthy pines atop Alamo Mountain, I only needed to look across canyon – where no controlled burns took place – to a blackened and devastated forest. This could have been prevented.

Headed by The Wilderness Society, a new coalition has launched an educational campaign aimed at generating more support for the Forest Service to conduct controlled burns in California’s Mendocino National Forest. Controlled burns restore ecosystems, protect people and property, and save taxpayer dollars. How can you help? Start by checking out the Restore the Mendo blog. There are instructions for writing letters to the Forest Service in support of controlled burns, as well as lots of resources where you can learn more about this topic. If you have a website or blog, please help get the word out with a link to the Restore the Mendo blog.

Thank you in advance for your help.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.