The largest wildfire in Washington state's history, the Okanogan Complex Fire, ravaged my community.
When I took this photo of a chopper dropping water on the flames, no one had any idea what was in store. This was on the first day of the fire, when it was just a couple hundred acres, and everyone assumed that it would be extinguished quickly, just like most of the other wildfires had been extinguished throughout our area's history. But that was not the case at all. This sage fire in the valley floor was only a harbinger of what was to come.
Not even an hour after I took this image, the winds kicked up and the fire jumped the river and rushed up the slope on the opposite side from where it had started. The very spot from which I took this photo was ravaged in flames shortly after I got this shot. That night, some homes were lost to the flames. The fire grew rapidly and raged for three weeks, as firefighting resources were rushed in from all around the U.S. to help us try to contain it.
No one who lives here will ever forget the Fires of 2015. Burn scars and charred remains are everyday reminders of what our community endured that summer.