The only way to truly grasp the scale and magnitude of Oregon’s historic 2020 Labor Day fires is to see their impact from the air.

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OPB photographer Todd Sonflieth captured aerial video over the Western Cascades between 2015 and 2019. At the time, his photography showcased the lush, forested beauty of Oregon for a series of dramatic aerial television specials. But after 2020′s Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires, which eventually merged, Sonflieth matched the GPS coordinates of previous flights and filmed above these landscapes again, creating a historic before-and-after record of the dramatic changes fire had brought to the region.

To date, the Labor Day fires remain among the largest, deadliest and most destructive wildfires in Oregon history.

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