Fire and Smoke: Where thinning is winning

More than 3,000 lightning bolts all itching to pick a wildfire fight came crashing into Southern Oregon July 15, yet one of those bolts bound for the Ashland watershed never stood a chance.

With great promise, it smashed into a massive 300-plus-year-old Ponderosa pine that rises like a sentry atop Skyline Ridge, which separates the Ashland and Talent watersheds. Scars show the electricity spiraled around the tree three times, blowing off shards of bark, before it unleashed its fiery fury at the tree’s base.

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