The Angora Fire in South Lake Tahoe began in June, 2007, destroyed 254 homes, caused $140 million in property damage, and scorched 3,100 acres. This project, a collaboration among the photography area of the Art Department, the University of Nevada Reno's Academy for the Environment, and the Center for Land Use Interpretation based in Culver City, California, presents a time-based, visual study of post-fire landscape development. Selecting ten sites and digitally photographing the same vantage points over a period of ten months provides investigators and the general public an opportunity to assess post-fire development.
It is surprising how few resources are dedicated to evaluating post-fire landscapes. The visual ramifications of fire are obviously evident, yet rephotographed post-fire landscapes are rarely presented in scientific journals or within the popular media. This project initiates a solution; that is, to present a visual study of post-fire development on the Angora Lake Fire. An important sidebar: It is extremely rare for visual artists to join in the investigative process of landscape management, a domain usually reserved for quantitative scientists. This project, while modest on many levels, initiates a process of including the refined visual language of the visual arts (photography) in evaluating landscape change. The underlying premise of this secondary advantage is that art does, indeed, matter. Scientists are in need of a visual baseline for future analysis. Visual analysis of post-fire landscapes is needed, and there are currently no published dedicated, skilled, professional visual comparative views of post-fire redevelopment in the Tahoe basin. The project is being continued beyond the original grant period due to the importance of the site and data gathered from this area.