Thursday, May 22, 2008

Frye Mesa Wildfire, Day Three

Benefiting the fighting of the Frye Mesa Wildfire, the weather has turned remarkably cold and wet, and winds have decreased. This is a huge relief for the 321 personnel on site here in Graham County to aid in containing this combustion and a relief for anyone else who loves our Mountain. Evacuation of all the private cabins, public campgrounds and picnic areas was completed today. This situation has likely spoiled many a plan for the approaching big holiday weekend. Although they predict full containment by Sunday the 25th of May, it hard to say when recreation will be permitted to resume on Mt. Graham.

According to the Incident website, the fire sits at 3500 acres tonight. It is directly 5 miles west of me as the raven flies. There are no visible flames at this time. I'm unsure how much rain has fallen over there but we only got a wee bit. The temperatures have plummeted though. It is 49°F (9°C) at 11:30 PM. Incredibly chilly for late May. After all, it was 106° (41°C) just 2 days ago.

"Anonymous" has commented yesterday that the Frye Mesa Dam is "just fine". That is a relief. By analyzing the map, it looks as if the fire did burn mostly to the east, from Frye Canyon to Deadman Canyon. Both areas were burned in the 2004 Nuttal Fire also. Possibly the lack of taller, "higher story" fuels was an aid to holding this fire to the lower elevations. The higher story fuels being previously consumed by the 2004 conflagration.

According to the official sources, the fire began as a spot fire at 1:00 PM, that took off so fast in the high winds that by 1:15 PM they declared it out-of-control. Think of that the next time you are in a wildland setting and are a little careless with your campfire or smoking materials. Those prescribed burn folks were the "experts" and they could not control a spark, you'd have a much smaller chance and could possibly trap yourself or your loved ones. Nobody is beyond learning from this event, professional or casual tourist in the natural world. Fire is friend or foe. Do all you can to ensure it remains our servant.

Photos by David Peters, Bureau of Land Management.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Hi from a fellow postcrosser!

I'm sorry to hear about the fire. They're so scary, aren't they?