Yellowstone Unfinished Song
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In 1988, Yellowstone National Park seemed on the verge of being destroyed by flames as forest fires raged across the region. People living and working in the park began to fear for their lives. The news media proclaimed a disaster imminent. Old Faithful Inn was very nearly lost to the fires.
It stimulated the largest fire-fighting effort in the history of such events. There were 10,000 fire-fighters. The full force of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, dozens of smaller agencies, even the Army and the Marines were struggling to control the fires... hoping to ‘save’ Yellowstone Park. Millions of dollars were spent.
The fires of that summer were portrayed as the "end of Yellowstone as we know it." One hundred bulldozers raked the landscape, forty-five helicopters shuttled water, and yet man couldn’t control the flames. It seemed Yellowstone Park was truly being destroyed as the drama unfolded on the evening news each day.
Finally, in September, it snowed, and it was this act of nature that brought the fires under control. Something man could not do... something nature has been doing for millions of years. As it turns out, fires have been a natural part of the Yellowstone region for millennia. Fires have always molded and shaped the character of this area.
Aerial footage shot the following spring shows that Yellowstone Park was not burned up. There are expanses of unburned forest between the burned patches. The burned areas turn out to be only a small part of Yellowstone. In time-lapse photography, pine seedlings erupt from the ground to replace burned trees. Sunlight has been let into the forest, and burned meadows become extraordinary displays of spring flowers as new life surges in to fill the void.
There was concern for the wildlife during the fires. Their reaction was a surprise. Grazing animals were often seen only a hundred yards from an active forest fire. The animals continued their daily activities paying the fires scant attention. Life went on very much as it always had.
This video captures the drama that gripped us all during that summer, and reveals the truth about what was really taking place. We see coyotes continuing to hunt for mice even as the landscape around them is still smoking. This video is a moving document about the real power of nature.
Yellowstone Park is a work in progress... it is indeed an "Unfinished Song."