Before and after view of the confluence of the Clavey and Tuolumne rivers in the Rim Fire burn zone.
Before and after view of the confluence of the Clavey and Tuolumne rivers in the Rim Fire burn zone.

What lessons can be learned from this summer’s historic Rim Fire, which burned for weeks in and to the west of Yosemite National Park? As Lauren Sommer of KQED Science reported recently, scientists are looking at more than 400 square miles of charred Sierra Nevada forest to find out.

The immediate reality of the fire’s aftermath is stark. Researchers at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences have been exploring what they call “the apocalyptic terrain” left behind by the fire, the third-largest fire in the state since modern record-keeping began in the 1930s. Here’s an audio slideshow that recounts a recent hike into the burn zone.

This week, the center published beautiful before-and-after views of one part of the Rim Fire landscape: the place where the Clavey River joins the Tuolumne. The center’s version — here it is again — includes a nifty slider so you can seamlessly compare every aspect of the scene. Alas, the slider version is not embeddable, and your blogger lacks the coding chops to put it together here. But check out the center’s site. The separate before and after shots are below.


Rim Fire-Before

Rim Fire-After


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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