While fire is a restorative force that can ultimately revitalize ecosystems, it has been increasingly destructive and deadly in the West, fueled by extreme heat and persistent drought.
The scorched black shadows of trees still line the hills and mountains of the Golden State — a year-round reminder of looming danger.
The threat of wildfires to residents of the oeste is now seemingly omnipresent. It lingers long after the smoke has passed and the skies have turned crimson.
Homes are damaged in the blazes, memories go up in smoke and neighbors whose houses were miraculously untouched — just out of reach — are left to ponder the “what ifs?”
The deadly Napa and Sonoma counties wildfires in 2017 took a toll on the state’s important wine industry, with businesses still recovering from the financial wreckage years later.