Moment of the Year | NMBR's Best of 2012

Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire | While walking between the smoking trees near Sign Camp Ridge, a distant movement caught my attention. A lone cow elk trot from within the smoke and flames. Her pace was steady as she kicked up a cloud of ash; she paid little attention to me as she passed. It's anyone's guess how far she traveled to get here on her sojourn—the burn area extends nearly 50 miles south of this point.
In the final frame she crosses FS-141 to unburned terrain. FS-141, which runs from Reserve to Negrito Camp; the road served as the northernmost fireline of the 465 square mile blaze. Witnessing this animal emerge from the charred forest provided a testament to life and the will to survive. | Gila National Forest, NM | Full Gallery Link - HERE