Survivor | Bridgeport, WA | 2012

A few years ago wildfire scorched much of Dyer Hill, a place I never knew existed until it was burning. Driving later through the area, where charred trees still smoked, I noticed a half dozen old homesteads untouched by the flames. Back in the 1930s and ‘40s, owners had built their homes where springs fed green grass and ledges blocked gusty winds. Each was an island of safety amid tinder-dry fuels — bunch grass, sage and bitterbrush. These farmers knew the land and wisely used its aspects to shape a hard existence into a productive life.