A burning forest is contradictions: horrifying but beautiful, preventable but an ecological necessity. After evacuating my Front Range home and fighting wildfires in New Mexico, I understand both the strange allure and the gut-wrenching fear. This portfolio focuses on the disconcerting art found in the smoke and flames of Front Range fires, both controlled burns in the winter and wild in the summer; but the photographs do not shy away from the destruction.
Viewers might be in awe of the firefighters’ dangerous and romantic job or upset about the clearcutting that aggravates wind-driven fires. My own reaction is one of confusion, torn between abstracted beauty, dread of the next big fire, and resentment of federal policies that promise fire mitigation but always fail to deliver. In spite of the confusion, or perhaps because of it, photographing fires has been an artistic path to relief, helping me (and perhaps viewers) to understand the flames and the compelling work done by wildland firefighters.
You can view the photographs at One End of the Forest or from the menu on the left.