Six years ago, one of the biggest fires in Oregon's history ravished this place. These silver barren tree trunks stand at the edge of a broad arid meadow, slightly up the hillside from where I am — witnesses to those devastating fires, which burned for more than a month, consuming over 90,763 acres of forest and costing more than $38 million to contain (for a full synopsis, check out the official report by the Central Oregon Arson Task Force). The fires (started by lightning) ravished this whole area, leaving charred trunks and scraggly underbrush where thick trees once stood. Miraculously, the few acres surrounding Caldera are comparatively lush and green. The fires came roaring down the hillside, to within a few hundred feet of this place, and then suddenly stopped and turned back the other way. The locals say this place is protected by spirits. I can believe it.