Fire, Resilience, and Hope

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These photographs were taken over a 3 year period.  The majority were taken after the NorthBay Firestorm (2017-2020), while others were taken during my travels through California, Oregon, and Washington in 2018 and 2019.


On the night of October 8th, 2017, fueled by high wind and low humidity, wildfires sparked in Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma County, CA. The Tubbs Fire, which grew to be the most destructive fire in California's history at that time, started in Napa County and tore through ranches and rural communities before jumping a 6 lane freeway into the city of Santa Rosa. It wiped out houses and stores and flattened whole city blocks and neighborhoods. The fire burned up about an acre a minute, while winds sent burning embers a half-mile or more ahead. In the end, 90,000 people evacuated, over 6,000 homes were lost and over 40 people died. It took 23 days before all the fires could be contained.


When the fires first hit Santa Rosa in the middle of the night,  I was awake, smelling thick toxic smoke, and hearing explosions. Even so, it was hard for me to imagine the fire was spreading INSIDE the city less than a mile from me. As the weeks progressed, I stayed away from my camera and the land and homes that had been charred. First, because I didn't want to get in the way of emergency personal. Second, I didn't want to leave my home as the fire was constantly moving. Third, I wanted to respect those that were grieving and not show up with a camera in hand.


Photography is one of the many mediums I use to process life.   These photographs were taken weeks and months after the fire, while I began to feel the combined feelings of pride, grief, and hope for how the community came together to support each other, and how the land, totally blackened, came back to life.


The photos that are taken of the burned homes and neighborhoods, were done either by permission or during public events. I tried to be as respectful as possible, but if your home/property or yourself are in these pictures and you would prefer they not be online, please contact me and they will be removed. Except for the photographs of the parks, these photographs are not for sale. However, if any of these are photosgraphs of you, your children, or your home and you would like free copies, please don't hesitate to contact me.


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