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<h3>Fire</h3>

Burning from July 4 through September, the Zaca Fire charred more than 200,000 acres and put the South Coast on edge all summer long.

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Burning from July 4 through September, the Zaca Fire charred more than 200,000 acres and put the South Coast on edge all summer long.

Published on December 20, 2007

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At some moments, there was nothing anyone could do but stand and watch.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Most of the time, the firefighters were out in full effect, dropping retardant and water directly on the flames in the deep backcountry. It proved quite the spectacle, and reminded everyone in California that we live in a dangerous, wild place.

Published on December 20, 2007

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To contain and control the unruly Zaca Fire, firefighting experts from all over the west descended on Santa Barbara County to strategize a plan of attack. And in firefighting, attacking means pulling out the maps, like Nick Cleary and Ron McClain did in the makeshift firefighting headquarters at Live Oak Camp.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Once maps are analyzed, the operation moves to on-the-ground manual labor (such as the work these men pictured above are about to do).

Published on December 20, 2007

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From-the-air bombardment.

Published on December 20, 2007

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With so much machinery in motion, there's bound to be mishaps, such as this helicopter crash (pictured left) near Figueroa Mountain. The pilot escaped with his life.

Published on December 20, 2007

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The Zaca Fire's aftermath promises to be more troublesome than the fire itself, as the torched hillsides are bound to be erosion nightmares and the ecosystems may take decades to rebuild fully.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Nonetheless, the community gave thanks to the firefighter.

Published on December 20, 2007

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No one was as thankful as Wayne Wilson, owner of the historic Cold Spring Tavern, which could have perished had the fire not been steered away from the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Published on December 20, 2007

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Like the helicopter, the firefighters have moved on to the more disastrous blazes in San Diego and Malibu, but their work will never be forgotten.

Published on December 20, 2007

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