Image(s) of the Month: June 2014 – Remembering the High Park Fire Two Years Later

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A tanker drops slurry forming a line to protect homes near Horsetooth Reservoir on June 11, 2012.

Two years ago, residents of Northern Colorado witnessed what was then the second-largest wildfire in Colorado history by area burned. The High Park Fire was first reported on June 9, 2012 and burned more than 87,284 acres before 100 percent containment was achieved 21 days later. At least 259 structures were destroyed, making it the most destructive fire in state history until that number was eclipsed by the Waldo Canyon fire only a week later and the Black Forest Fire in 2013. Knowing the fire would be covered by many newspaper and television crews, I wanted to photograph images that were less breaking news-oriented and perhaps more lasting and artistic; showing some of the deadly, yet strangely beautiful aspects of the blaze. Here’s a selection from those smoky days of the summer of 2012.

Onlookers watch air crews battle the blaze from the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir.

Onlookers watch air crews battle the blaze from the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir.

Thick smoke west of Loveland, south of Masonville, on the morning of June 12.

Thick smoke west of Loveland, south of Masonville, on the morning of June 12.

Horsetooth Mountain veiled in smoke as seen from the southwest near Loveland.

Horsetooth Mountain, barely visible through smoke. Taken from a location which usually provides a clear shot of these foothills, south of Fort Collins and west of Loveland on the morning of June 13.

The High Park Fire as seen from City Park in Fort Collins.

The High Park Fire as seen from City Park in Fort Collins on June 13.

Larimer County Sheriff's Deputies work at a Masonville roadblock.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Deputies work at a Masonville roadblock.

A sky crane looks like a minuscule ant working against a massive backdrop of wildfire smoke.

A sky crane looks like a minuscule ant working against a massive backdrop of wildfire smoke.

Smoke plumes seen from north of the High Park Fire area in Loveland.

Smoke plumes seen from north of the High Park Fire area in Loveland.

Smoke plumes captured at sunset on June 23, from Wellington, Colorado.

Smoke plumes captured at sunset on June 23, from Wellington, Colorado.

A tribute to firefighters is painted on a boulder near U.S. Highway 287 north of Fort Collins.

A tribute to firefighters is painted on a boulder near U.S. Highway 287 north of Fort Collins.

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