The massive forest fires that raged through Yellowstone National Park this summer were nearly equaled by the debate over the National Park Service's policy that allowed the fires to burn.

The Deseret News begins a four-part series today in the Spectra Section that examines the political, historical, economic and environmental facets of the fire and its aftermath. The series continues Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the paper's B section.During a recent tour of Yellowstone's west and northwest areas - including Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful - Deseret News staff writer Steve Fidel and photographer O. Wallace Kasteler talked with National Park Service scientists, lawmakers, environmentalists and businessmen who have an interest in the park. These people lend insight into the conditions at the nation's oldest and most famous national park, both before the raging fires started and after the ashes cooled.