Today has been busy--apologies for the delay in posting!
Like other friends who are having nightmares about the Horseshoe Two fire, I woke with a searing mental image of our house, engulfed in flames. That worry, fortunately, was far from reality. Last night's very cool, calmer weather dampened fire activity considerably, and when I rushed outside at dawn, the Chiricahuas, viewed from Rodeo, lay serene in the dawnlight, no longer smoke-shrouded.
John Roser and I attended this morning's briefing to the fire teams. Yesterday's accomplishments included work to clear the fire lines which had been established during last year's Horseshoe One fire, plus hand work to establish fire lines deemed the most urgent. High winds limited use of aviation, although some drops of water and slurry occurred before they had to be discontinued. (A big orange patch decorates the hillside just behind our house.) Very importantly, a bulldozer cut a line just above the Luckadoo's and our houses, and that line stopped the fire spread, likely saving our homes and those of other people living below us. (The fire came within about a quarter-mile of our place.)
At the briefing, the meteorologist predicted a "red flag" day, from noon till about 7 PM. Winds were expected to be similar to yesterday's, with gusts up to 50 mph. And it is indeed windy, but up until now it has seemed slightly calmer (but windy now!).
Today's major concerns are two: the fire is very close to wrapping around the southern end of last year's Horseshoe Fire. Teams will attempt to prevent that. Should it happen, South Fork and all of Cave Creek Canyon would be extremely vulnerable.
The second major vulnerability is the north edge, close to Portal, and resources will be focused there as well. During the day today, that region has looked reassuring.
The western edge of the active fire is being held by a combination of last year's burn and the rocky cliffs. The eastern edge, fronting Rodeo and the San Simon Valley, is less worrisome because the fuels are substantially less. The goal is to hold that line at State Line Road, with protection of course for all structures west of that line.
I have a photo of this morning's fire map and will post it as soon as I can get to a computer besides the iPad! It shows the new fire, after little more than a day, dwarfing last year's Horseshoe Fire, which burned under much wetter conditions for weeks! This map has also been posted at local information centers, such as the board at the Portal Store.
After the outcome of today's strong winds is known, the recommended evacuation will be re-evaluated. Stay safe, everyone!