Eerie Beauty

The Mountain Fire instilled fear and wonder in the desert valley

The Mountain Fire that burned almost 30,000 acres in Mountain Center near Idyllwild colored the sky above the San Jacinto Mountains, drawing the attention of onlookers in the Greater Palm Springs area.


In the late afternoon on July 16 — the second day of the Mountain Fire that started as a result of an electrical equipment failure on private property in Mountain Center and ultimately burned almost 30,000 acres — photographer Millicent Harvey posted herself at Bogert Trail, near the Indian Canyons in South Palm Springs.

In awe of the scene above the city, she watched from 4:30 p.m. until sundown.

“Toward the end of my time there, the wind shifted dramatically, and the smoke became too much to sit there any longer,” Harvey says. While there, she ran into a friend — a plein-air painter — who observed with her. They marveled at the beautiful luminance of light and color shifts created by the wind and smoke, which “were changing constantly and revealing so much detail of the vegetation deep in the mountains.

“The composition came out of these observations and from the overall undeniable power and force of Mother Nature: amazingly beautiful and ominous at the same time.”

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Single Track Minds

Two local cycling experts share their takes on the best bike routes 
the Coachella Valley has to offer.

Dave Stockton, Jr. Shows How to Attack Your Short Game

Desert pro Dave Stockton, Jr. has worked with the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rory McIIroy, and he shares his expertise on three different short game lies.

The Art of Instruction

Golf is challenging and time consuming. However, those who play golf know they are potentially one swing away from “getting it.”

The Colbert Report

Now 74, Bighorn resident Jim Colbert has played nearly every Coachella Valley course of note, and he has favorite holes on all of them. Asked to narrow them down, he short-listed these six.

Call of the Wild

The release of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling book,Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which was made into a movie, has brought lots of hikers to the Pacific Crest Trail's run through Palm Desert.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

McCallum Theatre Broadway Blockbusters Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the four 2015-2016 Broadway Blockbusters Series shows.
Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Romantic Palm Springs Getaway

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couples getaway
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.