August 23, 2011

Man vs. Nature

The top of the Cajon Pass taking some quick shots of a wildfire from the Mojave Freeway before the race to the bottom.

I took the first exit off the freeway at the bottom of the Cajon Pass to position myself on old Route 66 looking up at the charred hillside.

A special firefighting helicopter leaves to refill with water at nearby Glen Helen Park after dropping its load deep within the canyon.

The brave firefighters start a strenuous climb up a hill in single file to mount an assault from the ground.

The police chased me off so I drove into the town of Devore and watched the plumes from the other side of the Cajon Pass.

The orange color is caused by the colored fire retardant these planes were dropping which marks where the retardant has been dropped.

Residents on the hillside prepare for the worst. Luckily, this ranch was spared and today the fire is totally contained. Over 350 acres were burned and one mobile home was burnt to the ground. No lives were lost and no injuries to residents or their pets were reported. A great big thanks to the brave and experienced firefighters of San Bernardino County.


  1. Great work. The firefighters pictures quite powerful...
    And yes, thank you to all the brave firefighters that risk their lives r our safety!


  2. Wow! How frightening it would be to be trapped by that kind of fire, or have it creeping toward one's home. You go some great shots. I wonder about all the small wildlife creatures that must have been on the run. Great shots, and a reminder of how vulnerable we all are to the forces of nature.

  3. Great shots!

    It is my understanding that alien grasses and weeds (cheat grass and red brome) are the primary fuel of desert wildfires in that area.

    And, human encroachment into these desert habitats is the major reason why these alien grasses and weeds have become the fuel beds.

  4. Amazing, frightening, sobering shots! We certainly owe all firefighters a huge debt of gratitude.

  5. I guess you got more than you bargained for when you set out that day... what an adventure !

    Any indication as to the cause of the fire yet ?

    Stay safe...

    Beautiful photos !

  6. It is very sad to see nature and burns the most unpleasant is that almost always is for man. Some great shots. A hug friend!

  7. As with the South African fynbos ... fire both takes and gives life.

  8. Amazing shots! I was wondering how hot is must have been for you taking the pictures then I saw the fire crew and I was blown away.

  9. Looks like you got your photo essay, just not the one you had in mind. Even though it was a disastrous situation, it certainly created some magnificent photo ops for you. Never a dull moment in the Wild Wild West it seems!

  10. wow your pictures seem taken by a professional! you should be a journalist or other in all this :-) you had to have some emotion !
    Congratulations for your work

    ps : I come back slowly but I come back :-)

  11. Hello...a long time I know...shame on excuse..
    But i'm here now ,and if you want me here...i stay :o)
    You know that i came to see your wonderful photos...but sometimes i can't easely speak english...i don't know why's blocking me.. why humans have not the same language ? to easy maybe..:o)

    In south of France we know this fire problems nearly each summer...after two months or more without no rain and very hot temperature...
    Your photos are beautiful...but i can't say it's's always dangerous and too sad..
    I will come to comment your other posts...yes yes i want had take wonderful images..little by little..:o)
    Kisses ..

  12. Great photos! I've seen fires in almost the exact same spot. It seems to burn there pretty often.
    Newsworthy photos...

  13. Fantastic photos of such sad events. It's the same here every day, summer after summer! It's heartbreaking watching forests burn. The snake train looks amazing on that landscape.

  14. i am torn, in such cases, between grief and beauty, what your pictures have captured is so beautiful and yet the reality behind it is tragic...
    i am not quick enough and too shy to work as a street photographer/photojournalist, but i always wish to be one when faced with such situations. i also love this ability of photography to be right in the moment, spontaneously in the present, unlike literature which needs the distance of reflection...

  15. I like the feeling of suspense created by the static images of everyday life before you were alerted to the fire and the tension that comes with viewing and reading to the very end.

    I do hope that you will call up the Community Liason rep for the Fire Dept in the city or county that was concerned and alert them to your blog post OR offer to send them copies of the photos you took. I think that it would be gratifying for them to see the beautiful treatment you did on their efforts.

    Great job!

  16. Thank you for sharing
    This fabulous work with us
    Good creations

  17. Brilliant! Scary, we have a lot of summer fires unfortunately, so many acres of land are destroyed every year. The firemen are as you say are very brave and have saved so many homes and animals this year already.

  18. This is such a powerful photo documentary of one fire. Wow, you were close.
    I am in awe of those firefighters. They are real heroes.
    Reading mythopolis' comment about the animals confirmed my thoughts. I always think of the animals at such times.

  19. I have returned because I just saw a poem on another fine blog that I think suits these fire images. I cross-linked over there.
    The poem is HERE

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend. :)

  20. The single-file firefighters is a stunning shot. I always wonder if you SoCal folks get used to fires and earthquakes. I've never gotten used to the grey of winter in Michigan and Ohio--less dramatic than fire, but still . . .