Clouds resembling the flames of a raging wildfire light the evening sky over an area of forest partially burned by the Steamboat Fire in Yosemite National Park, California.
The Steamboat fire started on August 7, 1990 and eventually destroyed 6,106 acres of woodland. Wildfires have historically been considered disasters, but it is now understood that fire is an integral component of forest life. Naturally occurring fires thin the woodlands, increase sunlight to the forest floor, and allow for recycling of nutrients to the soil. Thus, wildfires actually encourage the germination and regrowth of the forest plants and trees.