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Decomposing red granite boulders are pictured in this indigenous San Diego mountain landscape in the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation at around 5,500 feet in March of 2006.

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The unnatural reddish look on the granite is actually a temporary stain on the rocks from the red phosphorous fire retardant that firefighting helicopters and aircraft tankers dropped on the Guatay wildfire in 2004.

Red dye is mixed with the fire retardant so airtanker pilots and firefighters can see where they have dropped and determine where else they need to drop to close out a fire. The bright red dye is biodegradable and will disappear over a few years.

The small knee- to waist-high leafy green plants in the photo's bottom left corner are yerba santa (Eriodictyon trichocalyx).

A close-up photograph of the coarse red granite surface can be viewed if you move your screen cursor over the photo.

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