The forest recovers

The forest recovers

Some areas are faring better than others
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Butch Knowlton, La Plata County’s director of the Office of Emergency Management, stands at the spot where the Missionary Ridge Fire started along Missionary Ridge Road (County Road 253) north of Durango.
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An extremely low Vallecito Reservoir in 2002 was the result of three years of drought.
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Vallecito Reservoir is near full in 2012 compared to 2002, when it was at historic lows before the Missionary Ridge Fire.
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A burned mountaintop south of the Vallecito Dam on County Road 501 has recovered slowly after the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire. This photo was taken May 9.
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A burned mountaintop top south of the Vallecito Dam on County Road 501 after the Missionary Ridge Fire in 2002.
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A Gambel oak leaf that survived the Missionary Ridge Fire absorbs water drops after the mid-summer rains started.
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A Gambel oak leaf burned and bubbled on a branch during the Missionary Ridge Fire.
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Fred Finlay planted this aspen tree on his burned-out property in the Tween Lakes subdivision, as shown in the book Fire in the Sky, shortly after the Missionary Ridge Fire destroyed his home in 2002. The tree now thrives among a healthy aspen grove.
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