With the help of ranchers, naturalists, scientists, and land managers, this new series explores life in California’s inland Coast Range after 2020’s huge SCU fires. From Morgan Territory to Pacheco Pass, the series will take you to places off the beaten track for most Bay Area people, yet deeply connected to places they already love.
Want to learn where to find the region’s most spectacular post-fire wildflower displays? Wonder about the effects of climate change on the region’s plants and animals? Want to know how Californians can live sustainably in a fire-prone future?
Join us in the fire zone, for Diablo Range Revealed! Presented by Save Mount Diablo with special thanks to Margaret Kruse, Connolly Ranch, Bay Nature magazine, East Bay Regional Park District, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, California State Parks, and Pine Ridge Association.
Presented by Save Mount Diablo. Featuring Seth Adams, Heath Bartosh, Celeste Garamendi, and Margaret Kruse. Photos and Videos by Scott Hein, Wally De Young, and Cooper Ogden. Music by Phil Heywood. Illustration by Laura Cunningham. Production by Joan Hamilton.
On the morning of August 16th, 2020, Margaret Kruse jumped out of bed to the sound of thunder and lightning. The sky was gold. Atop the ridge beside her ranch, a tiny glow of fire burned. By nightfall, she was encircled in flames.
This wildfire was a part of the SCU complex of fires, the third-largest fire in California history. Nearly 400,000 acres burned across the Diablo Range. Luckily, the fire never made it to Kruse’s home, but two-thirds of her family’s property burned.
Mount Diablo’s habitats, like many others in California, are adapted to fire. In 2013, after the Morgan Fire, flowers that hadn’t been seen in 40, 80, or 125 years began sprouting, and unusual amphibians were thriving.
Now, California’s in a drought, temperatures are rising, and the world is changing because of the climate crisis in ways we don’t fully understand. The question is, what will be the aftermath of the SCU fires?
Save Mount Diablo is launching the Diablo Range Revealed project. Over the next three years, we’ll produce articles, photo galleries, and videos about the plants, animals, and ecology of the northern Diablo Range, from Mount Diablo to Pacheco Pass.
The fire has burned a path right into the heart of the Diablo Range. We look forward to making lots of interesting discoveries and sharing them with you.
Photographer Scott Hein and journalist Joan Hamilton came to Connolly Ranch to report on the effects of the 400,000-acre SCU Lightning Complex Fire. But as they toured the ranch’s blackened hillsides, an even more dramatic story emerged: about the remarkable family that’s been tending and defending this ranch for five generations.
Photo by Scott Hein 2020