Signs of Life
By David Powdrell
Signs of life, but what a month it’s been.
What a wild, crazy, zany, frightening month we’ve had in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. The Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history, made us evaluate priorities on the fly; what stays, what gets crammed in the car? Do we evacuate? When do we evacuate? Which way is the wind blowing and how strong is it? Which way is east, which way is north? Which hotels take pets? Mask or no mask? How far is the fire from our house? It’s been an emotional roller coaster. It’s been a blur.
As it was raging through Carpinteria, I had the privilege to interview, photograph but mostly to shake the hands and thank many of the first responders as they stood dutifully next to their firetrucks and equipment at the staging area. Heroes, every one of them.
As of today, Thomas Fire is 92% contained and has burned over 281,000 acres.
Yesterday, I felt compelled to make the trek up the Franklin Trail in Carpinteria to see and photograph the aftereffects of the fire. My hope was to find and photograph any signs of new growth; any signs of life.
Once I stepped into the fire zone (but always on the trail to protect new growth), things got eerily somber. Sad. Quiet. Felt like a stroll through a cemetery. The world turns black and white in the fire zone. Miles and miles of white ash against blackened branches. Hauntingly beautiful, but a tragic loss of life. But this is nature. New growth will come and in a vibrant array of color.
And there it was! Not much, but there was the life I was searching for. For four miles I scoured the sides of the trail and anything green or anything that moved got photographed.
Our hearts collectively go out to the family of firefighter Cory Iverson, whose life tragically ended while battling the Thomas Fire.