John Buckley, executive director of the nonprofit Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, on Dec. 30, 2013, explains that in 100,000 acres of the 257,000-acre Rim Fire that swept through the Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and private timberland from Aug. 17, 2013, until it was contained at the end of September, all vegetation was killed. In areas like this one, superheated air killed everything, leaving nothing but black standing trees, brown needles and ash. In other areas, flames burned so hot that even stumps were consumed, leaving nothing but exposed soil and rock.

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