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Before: Valley fire Sept. 2015. After: Valley fire April 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Before: Valley fire Sept. 2015. After: Valley fire April 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Patience.  It’s what’s best about a journalist.  Wait it out, something will take place worthy of documentation.  Like all wildfires, it takes years for flora and fauna to return to normal. Decades in some cases.  In my own experience, the spring after a major wildfire…with the help of a wet winter, can transform a fire scarred landscape to a palette of color. I’ve been back to Lake County so many times since those dreadful and decimating fires last summer. What I found this spring was a landscape in recovery. In the lower regions of the Valley and the Rocky scars, a multitude of wildflowers appeared, carpeting once blackened moonscapes.  In the higher elevations, there is growth, but slow; spring arrives a little later in the high country.

I tried to duplicate the scenes I photographed in July, August and September of last year.  In some cases, the lens selection may be different to show the regrowth, but the locations are the same.  Hopefully the land and the people continue to recover over time.

The Rocky fire spread in to Colusa County at the intersection of Highway's 16 and 20.  Now, the valley is carpeted in flowers. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016.

The Rocky fire spread in to Colusa County at the intersection of Highway’s 16 and 20. Now, the valley is carpeted in flowers. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016.

A destroyed home in Middletown because of the Valley fire on Wardlaw Street, Sunday Sept. 13,  2015.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

A destroyed home in Middletown because of the Valley fire on Wardlaw Street, Sunday Sept. 13, 2015.  In April 2016, the landscape begins to come alive. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

kp0412_Before_after3

The morning after the Valley fire raced across entire sections of southern Lake County, a surreal scene greeted me. Seven months later, both beauty and destruction can still be seen. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Off Morgan Valley Road in Lower Lake, the first night of the Rocky fire threatened several homes in July 2015.  The same view in April 2016.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Off Morgan Valley Road in Lower Lake, the first night of the Rocky fire threatened several homes in July 2015. The same view in April 2016. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The full moon rises above the Rocky fire in July 2015.  Last week, a waxing gibbus moon. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The full moon rises above the Rocky fire in July 2015. Last week, a waxing gibbus moon. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

rocky overall

As the sun set in July 2015, the Rocky fire roared to life as it crested one ridge after another. On April 15 2016, all is quiet. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Firefighters from Windsor, Geyserville and Cloverdale set backfires on the Rocky fire in July 2015 in the footprint of a drought stricken farm pond. On Friday April 15, 2016 winter rains have partially filed the pond.   (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

Firefighters from Windsor, Geyserville and Cloverdale set backfires on the Rocky fire in July 2015 in the footprint of a drought stricken farm pond. On Friday April 15, 2016 winter rains have partially filed the pond. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

barn flats Rocky

Firefighters from Windsor, Geyserville and Cloverdale set backfires on the Rocky fire in July 2015 On Friday April 15, 2015, wildflowers dot the landscape. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

 

The Rocky Fire on Morgan Valley Road, July, 2015 in Lake County. On April 8, 2016, lupine grows. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

The Rocky Fire on Morgan Valley Road, July, 2015 in Lake County. On April 8, 2016, lupine grows. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2015

The Rocky fire burned in to August 2015, jumping Highway 20 at one point, sending firefighters scrambling.  On April 15, wildflowers and green grass dominate the same hillside.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Rocky fire burned in to August 2015, jumping Highway 20 at one point, sending firefighters scrambling. On April 15, 2016 wildflowers and green grass dominate the same hillside. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Rocky fire threatens a ranch in July 2015.  On April 15, 2016 a barren hillside and remains. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Rocky fire threatens a ranch in July 2015. On April 15, 2016 a barren hillside and remains. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Rocky fire in July 2015.  Below, April 2016, wildflowers bloom. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

The Rocky fire in July 2015. Below, April 2016, wildflowers bloom. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

above Rocky pond

Days after the Rocky and Jerusalem fires were nearly contained the landscape was turned black in August 2015. The heat of the fire can be seen in the lower photo, even after spring rains doused the area regions remain nearly bleached, Friday April 15, 2016 . (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016

No water in Cache Creek along Highway 20 meant less of a natural firebreak in August 2015.  On April 15, 2016,  Winter rains at least partially hydrated the creek. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016.

No water in Cache Creek along Highway 20 meant less of a natural firebreak in August 2015. On April 15, 2016, Winter rains at least partially hydrated the creek. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2016.

-Kent Porter