Eric Liddle

Ecology Activist, Reno


Charred Opportunity

There are 110 wildfires burning across the United States at the time this project started and most of everyone is ready for fresh air. Strangled by smoke, the idea of a day in the woods hardly carries it's typical allure.

With flames affecting many and relief efforts and fire fighters stretched beyond their limit, grim news and sad stories are colored black and red.

Chances are, your take on wildfires isn’t positive - and rightly so - but if you look closely, there’s more to a charred forest than ash, and if your vantage point sees opportunity, you’re in for a treat.

Forest fires that start of natural causes - such as lightning - are a fundamental necessity of nature. While it seems counterintuitive, the majority of evergreen forests depend on fires to stay healthy, increasing the longevity of the forest by sparking life into the seeds that trees drop every year. Counter intuitive right? As the fires heat the pinecones and expose the seeds to the earth, they simultaneously clear openings in the forest where new life can flourish.


See without fires to clear the dense underbrush of the forest and topple old trees, the perpetual new growth would never see the light of day and slowly, one by one, the forest’s giants would choke themselves out.

With a black canvas in front of us, our mountains scarred, and opportunity noted, we knew we also had an opportunity. As a part of our design process at Deso, we draw inspiration from our surroundings. What we see is now largely charred but with a DIY attitude, we wanted to dig into the ash and reseed the future with color. Because while pine trees have natural defenses and century old plans for wildfires, native wildflowers do not ~ often taking years to regenerate as they rely on the transportation of new seeds to the area via wind or with the help of animals.

We wandered through the ash of our favorite trails, planting native wildflowers in the nitrogen rich, charred, fallen forest hoping of returning next year to new life.

DESO is the art form of getting lost - inspired by Desolation Wilderness in the Sierra Nevadas.  As we hiked into the hills with restoration on our mind and organic seeds in our pockets - we reflected on the path ahead of each seed, paralleling their art of losing themselves as they ventured into the wild.

Wildflower Coordinates: 39°15'33.6"N 119°50'59.1"W


Alaia ManleyComment