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Photo Essay: Santiago Canyon Fire, Foothill Ranch, Orange County

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Foothill Ranch, Orange County, CA. Santiago Canyon Fire. Canyon hills behind homes on Viaggio Ln.

Alex Miroshnichenko is a freelance photojournalist who shared his neighborhood with some nasty wildfires this past week. As a photographer, he naturally snapped shots of the fire in and around his house and community. But he didn't want to try to profit off these photos. "This wasn't just another photojournalism job," he wrote in an essay he posted online. "This story literally hit close to home. Thoughts of selling these pictures did not enter my mind. I was too close to this story."

As he shot photos, neighbor after neighbor would approach and ask Miroshnichenko to e-mail them copies. Soon, the requests were overwhelming and he put them up on Flickr. After realizing the impact the photo site was having on the world and online community, he changed the Creative Commons license letting news outlets around the world use his photos. "Even though I sell news photos to media organizations, this time my intent was to share my experience and feelings; to share what it's like to have tragedy hit your hometown. Making a profit on these pictures would be cheating my own heart."

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What follows after the jump is a collection of the photos we most enjoyed. Thank you Alex.


Smoke filled sky. That is the sun. View from Overlook Park. 4:29pm. 10/24.


View from my car as I'm driving towards Foothill Ranch Park where flames were threatening the park and nearby homes. 3:16pm. 10/23/07.

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Eastern view from my street.


View from our front door window. Very eerie and unsettling seeing the bright orange sky on fire. 7:48pm.

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View from my front yard looking at my home. Orange skies were common. 5:23pm.


Fire trucks leave Viaggio and arrive at Tessera Ave. 4:07pm.


Fighting embers on Camarin St.

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View from backyard of a Tessera Ave home. 3:56pm.


Palm tree in front of 9 Viaggio Ln, no where near flames, catches fire from an ember.


Overlook Park. Only "official" personnel allowed inside park. Flames closing in on park's retaining fence. 3:27pm


Inside Whiting Ranch. Fence used to be standing. It looks like a war zone. 3:07pm. 10/23/07.

All Photos and Captions by Alex Miroshnichenko. See his Flickr page or his website.