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Feeling the Burn
By Chris Scotti
As of August 28th, 2015 there have been 105 “uncontained large fires” in the Western United States and Canada, according to the USDA Forest Service’s active fire mapping program. That’s 7.1 million acres of land that have gone up in smoke since January. One of these large fires decimated a favorite hiking area of ours only three days after we had camped at one of its sites. The Lake Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest wiped out most of the trails on San Gorgonio mountain. Months later, the mountain is still closed due to fire damage.
The severe drought in the Western United States and the increase in wildfires has dramatically changed the landscape. Trails that have seen thousands of hikers have been erased. Waterfalls and creeks that refreshed wildlife have evaporated. Watching our wilderness go up in smoke has reminded us that no destination is safe from change. We can’t expect our dream destinations to linger until we are good and ready to see them. If we want to experience the world, we need to get out there and experience it before it is wiped away. This slideshow of the San Gorgonio Wilderness is not only a small tribute to the beauty that has been lost this past year and the emergency workers who are fighting to protect what’s left, it is also a reminder to take time out of our busy lives and enjoy the world around us.