The first day of California’s lightning siege, thunderstorms rolled across the Mojave National Preserve, slicing the afternoon sky with dry strikes.
Smoke rose from the top of Cima Dome, marking the start of a wildfire that would ravage the heart of one of the world’s largest Joshua tree forests.
A drive down Cima Road that only weeks ago was a trip through a magical landscape is now a tour of the world’s biggest Joshua tree graveyard.
Most of the charred trees are still standing. In the evening light, their leaves, bleached with scorch, take on an eerie beauty. But they are doomed, and the 43,273 acres of the Dome fire are forever transformed.
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