Friday, May 20, 2011

From Afar

It has been unsettling trying to keep abreast of the fire news from several states away! As we drove east, smoke followed us deep into New Mexico, until night covered all.

Peg Abbott, Carol Simon and Richard Webster have all published various reports on last night's community meeting. In short, the Horseshoe 2 Fire will be with us until the monsoon rains come. Given the speed and intensity with which it can spread when wind-driven, that is a very alarming prospect.

Burnout operations are being prepared in Rucker Canyon, to try to moderate the fire's intensity. However, from there the fire is likely to burn all the way to Highway 80, the highway that runs south to Douglas.

In the high country, the area burned in the 1994 Rattlesnake Fire is burning again. All of the standing dead snags will be removed when next we are able to return to tha Rustler Park road. That grim reminder of the old fire will be gone, but we'll have plenty of new reminders, and there will be plenty of new snags to be used by nesting bluebirds (when their foraging habitat recovers to the point of allowing their return).

News continues to be good for the burn's progress in South Fork and Cave Creek Canyon. A second blackline is planned for the Herb Martyr area.

The next Type 1 fire team is due to rotate in very soon. The community sends its heartfelt thanks to the people who have been working so hard on behalf of the Chiricahua Mountains and the communities clustered at its feet. We also welcome old friends back to the community: Dugger Hughes was the incident commander who, with his Type 1 team, saw us through a critical period of last year's Horseshoe Fire.

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