Another wildfire-themed wedding

Watson Wedding
Megan Reehill Watson and Rick Watson, June 14, 2014, with smoke from the Shirley Fire in the background. (used with permission from Makenzie Photography)

On June 8 we ran an incredible photo of a bride and groom that was taken just after they said “I do”. In the background of the photo was an ominous, dark column of smoke from the Two Bulls Fire near Bend, Oregon. Just after a shortened ceremony, the wedding party, guests, DJ, and caterer had to evacuate and relocate to a park in Bend. Other outlets also ran the photo, and it went viral quickly.

Saturday, June 14, a similar scene developed, but the ceremony went off without a hitch (however, they WERE hitched). Megan Reehill and Rick Watson, seen in the photo above, were married close enough to the Shirley Fire near Lake Isabella in California that the smoke from the fire also showed up in their photos. The ceremony and the reception took place at The Lodge at Painted Rock in Lake Isabella five miles south of the perimeter of the Shirley Fire (map).

When we asked permission from the photographer, Makenzie Barerfileld, to use the photo, she also provided the following information:

The photos were taken at the beginning of the fire, before it had grown to the devastation that it is presently. The father of the bride actually went to the fire officials early that morning to make sure we were safe and if we would need to evacuate the wedding venue or not. They told us when we saw the flames with our own eyes on the hills in the distance that we would have eight hours to evacuate the wedding venue, The Lodge at Painted Rock in Lake Isabella, CA. The backdrop was unavoidable. It was a constant reminder of the contrast of the day.

The bride explained that the outdoor wedding had been planned 10 months in advance, and after checking with the fire officials, they felt they could do it safely, and under those conditions the fire was not going to stop the wedding or force them to find a different venue at the last minute.

If you’d like to find out more about the happy couple, including their wedding plans, a brief bio, and how the proposal went, it is all at And just for the hell of it, I sent them a wedding gift. They are registered at the Pottery Barn and Macy’s.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Another wildfire-themed wedding”

  1. It was a beautiful wedding! And as bad as a fire is! It lit up the sky during the night with a pretty out lay of the mountain during the wedding. Very pretty pictures of my good friends Mr. And Mrs. Watson !!


Comments are closed.