Last September we had a forest fire come through the Bridger Mountains, which is the first time in fifteen years of me living in Bozeman that that has happened. It’s actually the first time in decades that fire of that size has gone through the Bridger Mountains. It was started by a lightning strike that hit a tree and instead of igniting a blaze, the fire remained trapped inside the tree trunk until finally, under the right conditions the fire escaped the trunk. I couldn’t believe it at first because it sounds so far-fetched but it is a real-life phenomenon. I watched from a patio that day as the fire moved up the hillside.
Thankfully the fire was put out with only minimal property damage but aftereffects are still present today. I decided to hike up to the fire line one day and see for myself what the fire did to both sides of the mountain. It was quite impressive and oddly surreal to see so much gone from the area. Very carefully I made my way through the forest on the path photographing the damage. Life will spring anew and in time it will go back to being a forest again. In the meantime, the area has lead to some nice photographs, including what I was surprised to find out was some really interesting black and whites. The heavy contrast of the burnt landscape combined with afternoon light and clear skies turned out to be an interesting combo. I found myself playing between color and monochrome on multiple images seeing what looked better for the end product and not really landing on an absolute answer. That there is the fun that lays within photography.