Friday, May 18, 2012

Fire Season

In the grand scheme of natural disasters, Arizona gets off pretty light.  We don't have tornadoes, hurricanes, major earthquakes, or mudslides.  We sometimes feel aftershocks coming up from Mexico or over from CA, but those are rare.  We have monsoon rains, which occasionally flood washes and require a couple idiots every year to be rescued after mistakenly believing they could drive across said flooded wash.  Despite the "Do Not Cross When Flooded" signs.  We have microbursts, concentrated areas of wind and rain that are capable of causing as much damage as a low-lever tornado.

But we do have fires.  Big ones.  "Make national headlines and get declared a federal emergency area" kind of fires.

On one hand, I've been relatively insulated from them.  I live in suburbia, where the only fire danger comes from my chain-smoking neighbors.

But outside of suburbia?  Better have a fire evac. plan.

Some years are worse than others.  The last two years have been relatively minor, fire-wise.  We always get a few small ones here and there...Arizona is still a lot of open, uninhabited land.  Surprisingly, about half the state is actually treed forest.  Treed forests that burn really well.  And necessary forest maintenance -- removing deadfall and all the stuff that fuels a fire really well, doing controlled burns -- is always an unhill battle between those that don't want to see a single pine needle touched and those that recognize the value of preventative measures.

But this year is already shaping up to possibly be a bad one.  Two major fires currently burning, one partway between Mesa and Payson (NE of Phoenix, close enough for me to see the smoke in the distance), and one south of the Mayer/Dewey/Humboldt area just before Prescott.  That one has required evacuations.  :(

I always worry about my horsey friends that live in fire-danger areas, and not just in this state.

Stay safe, everyone.  Have an evac plan, and hopefully you don't have to use it.

Here's hoping everyone stays safe and fire-free!

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