Forest Fire Photos


On October 16th I had quite a surprise when I looked out our front window and saw a stream of smoke, rising from the forest in our Cimarron view. It looked like it had just started so I called to report it. They had learned of it just minutes before. Hunters, plentiful in the forest this time of year made the discovery. The investigation lead to a walled tent with a wood-burning stove. Part of the roof material was charred and consistent with some found nearby. This area of the forest is known as Cow Creek and there is just one rough, dirt forest road to gain access. Watching it for a bit I realized I should get out my camera and document it. I took this first shot about an hour after I spotted the fire. I posted it on a local residents Facebook page, alerting people who didn’t have my ‘watch tower’ view. Feeling like a photojournalist, I watched, worried and photographed the fire as other, nearby spot fires started in windy conditions. After a few days we received some very welcome snow which helped to minimize the fire, until another snow put it out completely. I am showing the images as I shot them, in chronological order.

A fire in the Cimarron Mountains near Cow Creek was discovered early in the morning on October 16, 2019. It is spreading quickly.

‘In The Beginning’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns in the National Forest of Southwest Colorado.

‘Growing Wildfire’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns in the National Forest near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoky Plume’ © Denise Bush

The last light of day illuminates a forest fire in the mountains near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoky Last Light’ © Denise Bush

Flames can be seen on a ridge in a wildfire in the National Forest of Colorado.

‘Flaming Ridge At Twilight’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns through the night in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

‘Wildfire At Night’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns throughout the night and into the pre-dawn hours in the Cimarrons of the San Juan Mountains near Ridgway, Colorado.

‘Cow Creek Fire At Sunrise’ © Denise Bush
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A forest wildfire burns through the night and into the pre-dawn hours.

‘Sunrise Fire & Smoke’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado grows larger by the minute!

‘Smoky Mountains In Colorado’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire in a mountainous national forest takes on an ominous look at night.

‘Fire In The Sky I’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire in a mountainous national forest takes on an ominous look at night.

‘Fire In The Sky II’ © Denise Bush

After some welcome snow a wildfire smolders in the Cimarron Mountains near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoldering Cimarrons’ © Denise Bush

A fire smolders under Precipice in the Cimarron Mountain area near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoldering Alpenglow’ © Denise Bush

51 Responses to “Forest Fire Photos”

  1. That’s an excellent collection. I like the way the rising smoke arcs in the wind. The Alpenglow would be appealing in its own right.

  2. 3 EA Jackson

    Beautifully terrifying. The presence of the mountains is always strong but the “Sunrise Fire and Smoke” is really powerful. Lets hope the fires are always far away from your watch tower.

  3. 5 bcplimpton

    Not what any of us want to see but they are beautiful amazing photos.

  4. Beautiful and frightening. I’m glad the snows came your way.

  5. Stunning photos, Denise. Excellent documentation of a scary scene!

  6. Amazing gallery of photos, Denise. Scary to be so close! I am glad the snow came to the area!!

  7. 15 Vickie R Bush

    Wow Denise, really great shots. It’s really ashame people become so reckless in such a beautiful place.

    • I saw some of those big tents with stove pipe chimneys and figured that was the cause right from the start. I don’t know if they found the hunters who belong to the tent. I couldn’t find anything more on the internet.

  8. Amazing images of the fire which is always such a devastating event. (Suzanne)

  9. These shots are beautiful but worrisome at the same time.

  10. Great job documenting the fire, Denise. Glad it wasn’t closer to you. Disturbing that it was human caused, but glad Ma Nature helped put it out. How many acres burned?

    • Thank you Eliza. I read 850 acres burned. Windy conditions before the snow didn’t help. Sparks and debris from the main fire caused other spot fires in the area. Last I saw they were trying to locate the owners of the tent where it started. I hope they find them and hold them accountable.

  11. wow! You have quite a view Denise. The power of fire is quite amazing. I really like the photo of “Cow Creek Fire At Sunrise”

    • Most of these are from the end of my driveway but some are from Inspiration Point. There is an escarpment trail along the edge of the mesa we live on with even better views. I put your favorite on my store site … the only one from this set.

  12. beautiful series and I loved “Growing Wildfire”!

  13. Amazing!!

  14. Excellent reporting, Denise! The images are gorgeous. I’m so glad this fire was knocked down quickly with Mother Nature’s help.

  15. Nice series showing the development of the fire, Denise. I am sure it was a photo op you would rather not have had but you made the most of it. Glad that a couple of snows put it out and that it didn’t come any closer to you.

  16. Wow, powerful images, its ironic to see the smoke and fire compositionally integrated into the beauty of the natural landscape.

  17. Incredible images of the power of a forest fire. Brilliantly captured!!

    • Thanks Kirt. It all unfolded so quickly … powerful is a good way to describe it.

      • I have lived through Tornadoes…grew up in Iowa….earthquakes….24 years San Diego and now LA…and the worst thing to me is brush fires like we have out here or forest fires.

  18. 39 Bonnie Rovere

    Just plain WOW. Amazing.

  19. Seeing a forest fire first hand is both amazing and terrifying. You’ve captured that nicely.

  20. Sorry Denise that I did not get around to looking at this blog until now. You’ve done a magnificent job of combining art and documentation to show the fire. I would be willing to bet the residents in your area very much appreciated seeing your photos.

  21. I missed this post. Wow, how lucky that those stupid hunters waited till just before snowfall to turn their white boy tent into a matchbox. A few weeks earlier and the damage would have been so much worse. And I’m thinking of Australia as I write this.

    • Thanks Linda … we got lucky! I finally ordered your book … I was waiting until I needed something else so I could get free shipping. I am looking forward to getting into it after the holidays. I’m sure my husband, Brent will like reading it too!

  22. Scary and beautiful at the same time, glad the snow came!

  23. How did I miss this exciting post? I don’t know. Front row seats aren’t always what one wants but happily, this fire didn’t get totally out of hand. “Flaming Ridge at Twilight” for some reason has the most magic for me – maybe because the contrast between destruction and normalcy is so clear – the fire is visible, but the areas not on fire look perfectly ordinary, which points up the terror. So many great images though! “Smoldering Alpenglow” is a beautiful coda to the project.

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