In 2003, 700,000 acres of California forest burned. The fires came to within a half a mile of my house. We were evacuated for almost 3 weeks. We lived in Wal-Mart’s parking lot with 5 dogs, 3 cats, and a bird and 4 people in a 29 foot trailer. The fire was incredible and devastating to see. It was like an animal, clawing its way up the sides of mountains, growling and snarling with fiery claws. I was working for a newspaper called The Alpenhorn News, at the time, and each day, before the fires began, there was an expectancy in the air. Thousands of trees stood dead surrounding us in every direction from drought and bark beetles and improper forest management. It was never a question of if there would be a fire. It was a question of when. 80,000 people would have to evacuate down 3 main roads leading down a mountain. Some people were told that if their area started to burn, it would be too dangerous to bring in fire trucks so they would be left to burn. People stayed behind, surrounded by fire to try and save their homes. They threw thermogel on their roofs and sat poised with garden hoses. Some won, many lost. When we returned, hundreds of acres of trees were just 200 foot tall pieces of charcoal. At the time, G.W. Bush had pledged less than a penny per acre to manage the forests. A sea of litigation between loggers, environmentalists, and politicians locked the issue to a standstill. Nature took care of it herself. In an apocolyptic blaze of epic proportions.