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Rising from the Ashes: Recovery from a Forest Fire Photo Essay

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Last year 1,200 acres of the Long Island Pine Barrens burned during the regions largest forest fire in nearly two decades. Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency and deployed New York State Police helicopters for water drops to assist the 109 fire departments that had already converged to contain the blaze. I hiked through the charred remains of the forest this May, the first spring since the fire.

forest fre recovery 396Many of the larger trees still stand. Most branches were turned to ashes and the black trunks rise from the ground like charred match sticks.

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But signs of life are emerging from the ashes.

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Fresh trail markers have been painted.forest fre recovery 378

While dead trees still stand, they have lost most branches and leaves and all the smaller trees and bushes were completely lost in the blaze. There is no longer shade from the sun and it blazes brightly onto the forest floor, giving life to a blanket of green sprouting up from a ground still painted black with ashes and littered with charred wood.forest fre recovery 376

New life is on the verge of swallowing the old.

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