Friday, June 4, 2010

Horseshoe Fire Enters Log Canyon

Yellow and yellow-orange areas show the spread of Horseshoe Fire during morning and afternoon of June 3, 2010.

Most recently the Horseshoe Fire has been spreading north and east, touching the bottom of Log Canyon in a couple of spots. Log Canyon is a major tributary of South Fork, where deep pools have thus far allowed small native fish to survive every drought. The confluence of Log Canyon and South Fork is especially rich, and in past years Eared Quetzals have feasted in this spot on the fall berries of Arizona Madrone trees.

Eared Quetzal in Arizona Madrone 
(Watercolor by Narca)

Mary Rasmussen, an information officer for the Forest Service, today likened the fire strategy to a cat-and-mouse dynamic, the fire being the mouse. When the fire advances in one place, the fire crews put a paw in its path, in the form of a low-intensity burn along a ridgeline. What does that mean for Log Canyon? Yesterday firefighters aerially ignited (remember the ping-pong balls?) the ridges to the northeast of the main fire. Those disjunct fires are now burning downslope towards the bottom of Log Canyon, opposite the area being burned by the main fire.

Ignited fire on ridges above Log Canyon, from road to Onion Saddle

Against expectations, the fire has not yet entered the riparian corridor in South Fork. That vegetation is wetter and has so far been resisting the fire's incursion.

Mary also addressed a rumor floating around, that the Forest Service and fire crews had planned a 32,000-acre "burn-out." This isn't true. The only fires being ignited are those needed to manipulate the spread of the fire, to encourage a low-intensity burn.

Yesterday, a big column of smoke blew up behind our house, as the fire burned the new ridges and the winds shifted.

Smoke behind our house, drifting toward Rodeo NM
(Photos by Narca)

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