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Images of Yarnell Hill days after wildfire on display at Valley library

PHOENIX — In honor of the upcoming one-year anniversary of the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire, photos taken in the aftermath are on display at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix.

Photographer George Berke won a Pulitzer Prize chronicling neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Last year, he took hundreds of photos in Yarnell just days after the community returned to scorched earth where 19 firefighters were lost on June 30.

“I was there to follow five residents who had returned home,” he said.

He was working for the Arizona Republic at the time when he said he took one of this favorite photos.

“[It] shows a completely scorched landscape, but a patch of green plants coming up through the scorched earth,”

Berke found it remarkable just 25 days after the fire.

“To me, it symbolizes some kind of hope,” he said.

He captured many other remarkable images, and not necessarily what you might imagine.

“What struck me was just how fabulously beautiful Yarnell was,” he recalled. “I’d never been there before and had no idea that it was this wonderful place.”

Berke’s exhibit, “The Yarnell Hill Fire: 25 Days Later,” is on display through Aug. 12.