Michelle Forsyth

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Sayward Fire, Campbell River, BC, Canada, July 5, 1938, 2008

Watercolor. gouache and sequins on watercolor paper, 36" x 54"

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On July 5, 1938 sparks from a yarding engine operating just north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island started a fire in some felled trees. Fifteen thousand firefighters worked to control the blaze yet it raged on for 30 days, creating a black scar on the earth measuring 75,000 acres. A massive replanting effort during which almost 800,000 Douglas Fir trees were planted helped to regenerate the forest. Today the undulating topography of the Sayward Forest is home to a variety of wildlife including Black-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk, black bears, cougars and gray wolves, and is largely covered with Douglas Fir, Western hemlock, Cedar and Sitka spruce. My drawing documents a mattress left by the side of a lake where the fire burned.

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