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Big Sur Firemen, California, 2000

Photo: Big Sur Firemen

Firemen with lighted helmets use controlled fires to clear brush during a wildfire in California's Santa Lucia Range. Forest fires—man-made and natural—are so common here that Big Sur naturalist John Smiley calls them "another type of weather."

(Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Big Sur: California's Elemental Coast, " August 2000, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by Frans Lanting

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