Since the fire broke out at Mt. Charleston, I've had three people ask me, "What's burning? Is there a forest up there?"
For those who don't know, there is indeed a forest at Mt. Charleston, and it includes large stands of Bristlecone Pines (which can live to be thousands of years old and are considered to be the oldest living single organisms), along with a variety of other trees and plants (and animals, including a herd of elk.)
It's shocking to watch the smoke pouring into the sky as the Carpenter Fire continues to burn at Mt. Charleston.
It's sobering to contemplate what damage the fire has done, but I am thankful we've not lost any lives. Other communities in the Southwest have not been so lucky this year.
Mt. Charleston is part of the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest and is in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. It encompasses the Mt. Charleston Wilderness Area, including the Mount Charleston Peak (11,908 feet).
I took these photos of the smoke filling the northwestern part of the valley while I was out for a walk this evening. On the 4th of July, we could see the fire's flames from our front yard. Some people I know in the northwest part of town told me it rained ash at their house this weekend.
Have you ever witnessed a forest fire?