The last couple years have been tough on the forests of California. According to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2020 saw more burned acreage - 4.4 million acres - than any recorded year in history. More than 2.5 million additional acres have already burned as of September 30, 2021.
Two of these fires - the 2020 Creek Fire, and the 2021 Dixie Fire - hit extremely close to my heart, the Creek Fire burning through my Dad's favorite camp site, and the Dixie Fire nearly destroying the homes of two of my Uncles (and their families).
And so, when my Dad and I learned that the National Forests of northern California were finally opening up on September 14, 2021, we immediately made plans to pack up our chainsaws and do our best to reach his camp site. Whether we were successful or not, I also decided to make my way home through the heart of the forest burned by the Dixie Fire.