Tommie Martin points out across a dense thicket of low shrubs that stretches for miles. Blackened ponderosa pine trunks stab up at the sky.
“We’re looking at the skeleton of a forest,” she says.
It’s all that remains 23 years after eastern Arizona’s devastating Dude Fire killed six firefighters and burned 24,000 acres of overgrown ponderosa pine forest. Scientists say the forest will likely never return. The blaze was the first of the so-called “mega-fires” that now threaten forests across the West. This summer, in New Mexico, more than 100,000 acres have already burned.