Elk Bath

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Elk Bath by John McColgan.

Elk Bath is an award-winning wildlife photograph by John McColgan, a fire behavior expert working for the Alaska Fire Service division of the Bureau of Land Management.[1] It was taken on August 6, 2000,[1] on the East Fork of the Bitterroot River on the Sula Complex, Bitterroot National Forest, Montana, United States,[2] and is also sometimes known by the title, Bitterroot Forest Fire or, more vaguely, Montana Fire. When NASA featured it in its online Astronomy Picture of the Day series, it entitled it, Fire on Earth; the image shows two elks seeking protection from a raging wildfire by standing in the river.[3]

It was one of the Time magazine Photographs of the Year 2000, and ran in its The Year in Pictures special edition in winter 2000/2001, and the web equivalent.[4]

McColgan took the photograph with a Kodak DC280 digital camera[5] while standing on a bridge crossing over the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. Several other animals were present off frame, including a deer standing below McColgan as he took the photograph.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Elk Bath". National Interagency Fire Center. Archived from the original on 6 February 2007.
  2. ^ Stephen J. Pyne (2016). The Northern Rockies: A Fire Survey. University of Arizona Press. p. 38.
  3. ^ Nemiroff, R.; Bonnell, J., eds. (2000-11-21). "Fire on Earth". Astronomy Picture of the Day. NASA. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  4. ^ "The year in pictures". Time.com. 2000. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  5. ^ "Most Famous Wildfire Photograph Ever Taken!". About.com. Retrieved 2008-02-19.