In the end, the drought riddled pine needles stood little chance of survival. We watched in amazement as an entire tree would be stripped to its branches within a matter of seconds with flames towering well over twice the size of the tree itself. Firefighters dropped water at a feverish pace from nearby Bass Lake and some trees did survive . Smoke lingered from the smoldering skeletons of glorious pines. Just a day or two earlier I had walked this stretch of pines, looking up at the beautiful green trees that provided cool shade from the hot sun. Much of that walk is now as you see here. The forest will recover. First with grass, shrubs and small trees and after a long time the pines will once again begin to tower above the forest floor and take back their rightful place. But it will not happen in my lifetime.