When I was a reforestation forester, the district I worked on had about 2,600 acres burn in the Gun II Fire. The fire burned over 60,000 acres in total. It was my responsibility to implement the reforestation on our 2,600 acres.
Planting trees in the Gun II Burn.
As an artist, I paint on a small canvas. As a forester, I paint on a big one. After a large wildfire, the landscape canvas can be huge. Reforestation on this scale is a lot of work. It’s very gratifying knowing I had a hand in starting this new forest. Each year when I return, the trees are a little bigger. I picked up and carried every box of trees, hundreds of thousands of trees.
Below are four photo point pictures showing how this canvas has changed over time. I had a few of my friends help demonstrate how big the trees have grown over the last 12 years. It’s a running joke around here, that you must have a dog if you’re a forester.
May 5, 2001 Immediately after planting. Hunter and Blaze pose for me.
February 19, 2006 That’s Hunter and Blaze peeking through the trees.
July 7, 2010 The trees have been thinned. Blitz and Hawk pose.
October 23, 2013 The trees are over twenty feet tall. Now it’s just Blitz.
A farmer grows his crop over the course of a year, but our crop takes decades. Counting each year that passes is an occupational reality of being a forester. Seeing my dogs in these pictures also reminds me of time marching on. Now, there are new generations of both dogs and trees. To me, their lives are intertwined with the forest. This forest is full of our stories.