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The two faces of present-day Montana.  The abstract of burned lodgepole pines I just tweeted are from West Boulder Valley, in the Absaroka-Beartooth Mtns of Montana.  This photo is from that same valley, but from the meadows where the valley flattens out and the river forms beautiful lazy fishing holes like this one.  Fire in this state over the decade and a half since I was here last has really changed things.  With the naturally slow recovery in this high country, the forest stays ugly for quite a number of years.  This place (W. Boulder) was burned five years ago, and 99% of the trees were killed.  Total devastation.  Today it is still in the pioneer stage (i.e., weeds & grass) of recovery.  Yet in the meadows, this past wet year gives us fantastic swimming and fishing holes like this.  Still beautiful Montana, but one must say that these hot fires that burn through the west do not leave behind pretty landscapes, in general.  Climate change is hitting the intermountain west at the same time as we have allowed fuel to build up.  So this should come as no surprise.

Posted September 10, 2011 by MJF Images in Uncategorized

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