Hope among Ruins

Story and Photos by Charlene Aycock

In summer, when I drove to see the damage of the Elk Complex and Pony Complex fires in Elmore County, I was not completely prepared for the devastation my eyes would behold.

These were lands I had photographed to my heart’s content, waterfalls that danced in the thick forest, wildflowers in the spring, and an abundance of wildlife seldom seen anywhere else, except in national parks. Now I regarded a vast wasteland of black and white ash, craters where homes once stood. I could see a long ways without the obstruction of the national forest.

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