THE
COTTONWOOD FIRE

Wildfire news hotsite award

A Photo Essay by
Pete Rissman and Warren Grandall

On Tuesday, August 16 1994, fire broke out on the Tahoe National Forest at the Cottonwood Campground in Sierra County, CA. This campground is located about 4 miles S.E. of Sierraville on State Route 89 and is about 9 miles S.S.W. (as the crow flies) from Loyalton. Before this fire was finally controlled, it would not only threaten Loyalton and Sierraville but would burn over the north end of the Bald Mountain Range to the outskirts of Border Town, Nevada some 20 miles to the east, blackening over 70 square miles of federal, state and private land!

This Photo Essay is about the Cottonwood Fire's
3 day assault on the town of Loyalton, CA.

My favorite photography subjects are things that you can drive, fly or ride, so my primary goal was to photograph the aircraft fighting the fire. There were plenty of aircraft and lots of fire.

My friend Warren Grandall was a USFS Public Information Officer on this fire. He took a camera with him on some of his trips to the fire lines and the resulting pictures are some of the most stunning I've seen. He's been gracious enough to contribute some of the best to this project. As you'll see, they knit this essay together in a way that wouldn't be possible without them.

The essay contains this start page, 17 pages of pictures, and a final page of statistics and personal observations about the fire. As you wander through the pages, view the photos, and read the captions, imagine this happening in your front yard! While I wouldn't wish that on anyone, it might make you a little more careful with fire while you're in the forest. Few people want to visit or live in something that resembles a dirty ash tray.

P.G.(Pete) Rissman

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