The Gazeebo

A Poet's Place

Wallow Fire: Charging the Criminals

The information in this post was acquired from FOX News.

An announcement was made recently saying two cousins are being charged for causing the Wallow Fire earlier this Spring / Summer.  From what they said, they had left a “campfire unattended” which quickly spread to the forest with high winds.

The two are being charged with 5 counts EACH, “including leaving a fire unattended and failing to maintain control of a fire that damaged a National Forest System.”  Also, according to the article from FOX, if they actually get convicted, each charge brings with it a “maximum penalty of six months in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.”

Here’s hoping that these two get the maximum for destroying such a beautiful area, due to their lack of common sense and poor sense of judgment.  I just wonder .. why is the penalty not higher / longer?

August 24, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , , | 1 Comment

Wallow Fire: Day 34

The information in this post is from InciWeb.

The fire has grown to “538,049 acres” (15,407 acres in New Mexico), its containment set at 95%, with 991 people in the area to take care of what’s left.  No further damages to buildings, but total injuries are at 16.  The growth potential is at “low,” its terrain difficulty considered at “high.”

Here’s hopes that no more injuries occur to those brave men and women fighting this fire!

Also, due to the fire and the conditions up in Northern Arizona, the Fourth of July celebrations have been canceled.

July 1, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , | Leave a comment

Wallow Fire: Pictures Taken by Firefighters, part 2

More pictures from my mom’s coworkers.  These are an amazing addition to these posts because they are from the viewpoint of the very heroes out there.

Also, my mom told me of a story that one of them told her after coming back.  This guy was part of a crew that was set to protect a house from getting burned down by the fire; part of their job is to wet the house and the area around, along with covering it with material that doesn’t burn (or at least as easily).  Well, the site’s commander was watching the trees and noticed that they just started swaying very ominously; it was because the fire was literally that close – this thing like breathes people (due to the draft caused by the flames).  But, just a minute after they noticed the trees, a helicopter flew over and told them to get the heck out of there because the fire was moving toward them.

Another story told by the same man was of the living conditions during the night.  The tents provided to them are made for 1 man, but these men are huge so they often just slept in their sleeping bags.  The night air gets below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the winds are extremely strong (at least 20-30 mph), so my mom’s friend told her that he ended up shoveling out a little trench to sleep behind.  What really sucked though was that after a load of time trying to finally get warm, he ended up having to pee; so, he got up and just peed right there and then gave up on getting warm and walked down to a station where people are working shifts throughout the day to make coffee and the like to keep these guys taken care of.

I just found that story so interesting to hear about; of course it was better coming from my mom’s mouth and probably even better coming from his mouth, but I’m sure you guys get the point of it all.

 

 

 

June 23, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wallow Fire: Day 26

Hey everyone.. this is a way late update, but I’m back into the regular role of things and have the update for you 🙂  This one comes solely from InciWeb.

Quick update: the fire has now grown to 529,825 acres, at 61% containment.  It became the largest fire Arizona has ever seen on June 14, 2011 when it passed 468,638 acres, which was the size of the Rodeo–Chediski Fire.  The Wallow Fire has destroyed a total of 32 residences, 4 commercial properties, 36 outhouses, and 1 vehicle, with damages being set at 5 residences and 1 outbuilding.  Also, there are presently 2,954 various personnel out trying to battle this monster.

Good news for Luna, New Mexico – the evacuation that officially started a few days ago has ended; however, “evacuations remain in effect in areas north of the Blue River, Arizona” and “a pre-evacuation alert continues in Apache County for Greens Peak, Hidden Meadows Lodge and surrounding areas.”

Another bit of information is that the growth potential, along with the terrain difficulty, is at a high level which creates an issue for fighting it; however, those brave men and women out there are doing it.  They’re putting their lives on the line for those who live in the area, along with that beautiful country that’s getting torched by this horrible fire.  They are some real heroes 🙂

June 23, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , | 1 Comment

Wallow Fire: Pictures Taken by Firefighters

I have the privilege to show you some pictures that some fire fighters that work with my mom took while working the fire.  These views are amazing and show the area really nice through a fire fighter’s eye.  I want to repeat that these pictures are, in no way, belonging to me or taken by me; I am simply sharing them after being given permission to do so.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wallow Fire: Day 15

First of all, sorry for not updating sooner; this post includes information from InciWeb and Channel 5 (KPHO).

Initial update on fire: it has now grown to 430,171 acres and is at 6% containment; the number of buildings destroyed is up to 67 (29 residences, 34 outbuildings, and 4 commercial properties), along with about 6 others damaged (5 residences and 1 outbuilding).  3,208 firefighters and other personnel from around the country are presently in the area fighting it.

The DC-10 that I mentioned in the last post made slurry drops today.

In addition, due to the high smoke and haze, air conditions have reached a point to be considered extremely hazardous in both Eagar and Springerville.

Image below is from InciWeb.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , | Leave a comment

Wallow Fire: Day 12

This update comes from Channel 5 (KPHO) and InciWeb.

Alright, so good news and bad news with this.  Which do you want to hear first?  I’d say the good news considering the situation.. so, the good is that firefighting efforts by the brave men and women out there have achieved 5% containment, meaning a step toward taking this thing out.  Also, the winds are dying down from the usual “20 mph … and gusts of up to 40 mph” down to an expected forecast “between 7 mph and 17 mph … with gusts of up [to] 21 mph just north of the fire line.”  In addition, a air tanker is expected to come in to help with the fire.  It is a “DC-10 supertanker aircraft, which can drop up to four times as much [slurry] as the smaller planes,” according to KPHO.  Firefighters are expecting to get an even better handle on things with that and helicopters, which are used for water drops.

The bad news is that the fire is still going and has so far accumulated “an estimated cost of about $15 million,” along with having burned 386,690 acres and affecting 51 buildings, “destroy[ing] 22 homes, damag[ing] 5 others and burn[ing] 24 out-buildings.”  As said before, half the town of Eagar was evacuated; however, now the rest of Eagar, along with the towns of Springerville and Greer have now been evacuated.  According to KPHO, some residents of the evacuated areas are “camping in makeshift shelters at local high schools and other areas.”  In addition, due to the ever-moving fire, communications have been threatened, specifically the “fiber optic lines, which means the command center and other workers would lose all communication.”  KPHO has also stated that due to this issue, only hand-radios and the like will be the way anyone will be able to communicate.

The fire has so far been moving about Northeast with the wind, but “expected to change, moving instead from west to east,” according to the article on KPHO, threatening towns in New Mexico, especially Luna which have been given a “pre-evacuation alert,” according to InciWeb.

As a final thing, KPHO has 2 slide shows available to view.  (1)   (2)

Image below is from InciWeb (see link from top).

From InciWeb

June 9, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , | 1 Comment

Wallow Fire: Day 11, part 2

Alright, so for this post, you’ll be getting news from 4 different news sites, including Channel 3 (AZ Family), Channel 15 (ABC), Channel 5, (KPHO), and Channel 12 (AZ Central).  You’ll also be seeing news mixed in from AZ Central’s Blog.

So down to the actual update on the fire – according to AZ Central’s Blog, it has now burned “about 389,000 acres” and is at zero percent containment, “making it the No. 1 firefighting priority in the nation.”  ABC put the size into perspective; at about “486 square miles of ponderosa pine forest,” it is “more than twice the size of Chicago.”  AZ Central also stated that it’s like “Phoenix, Glendale, and Cave Creek all put together.”  To add on to the size, ABC stated that “winds gusts of more than 60mph” is helping it move more as each day passes; the low humidity not helping at all either.

In preparation for the fire, about 2,000 residents from Eagar “were forced to leave Tuesday afternoon.”  An ominous picture that ABC described of the scene was that “ash rained from the sky, filled with thick smoke, and when the sun peeked through, it was blood-red.”  That is not something anyone wants to see when they’re leaving their homes, but here’s hopes that it doesn’t reach the actual town.

One of the way the firefighting teams are trying to fight this immense fire, is by pre-burning areas in some close distance to the towns so that when the Wallow Fire gets there, than it won’t have anywhere to go, due to no fuel to actually burn.  Luckily, no firefighters have been injured thus far so that’s one extremely positive part to this entire story.   Also, according to AZ Central, firefighters are coming in from all over the country, the guy that was interviewed being from Oregon and having just recently seen people from Minnesota, and even as far east as Pennsylvania.  AZ Family stated that “20 more crews – nearly 300 people” are heading to the area to help out with the fire.  “Firefighters can only work for so long before they need to rest,” their breaks being “every 14 days,” thus giving a huge reason to get these crews out there.  In Glendale, firefighters usually have a schedule of working 24 hours straight and then having 48 hours off, other places around the country having 48 on, 96 off; however, in cases like these, these men and women are out there trying to combat this fire with “shifts around the clock.”  The firefighters that will be coming in will, “not only rotate in to replace some of the firefighters who have been on the lines of the Wallow Fire, they will also gear up for the ‘next event,'” whatever that may be.  They are always trying to think strategically to avoid any further damages, while still fighting to take control over it.  For example, “Phoenix Fire Department sent four engines and 17 firefighters to Eastern Arizona,” which “have been assigned to structure protection.”

According to another article on AZ Family, several “slurry bombers…are based out at Winslow Airport, about 100 miles Northwest of the fire.”  These tankers each carry about “2,500 gallons of slurry per load, “which is a kind of fire retardant,” made up of “a mixture of water, fertilizer and a thickening agent.”  According to the site, the way it works for protection is by “stick[ing] to vegetation, insulating it from the fire,” while at the same time, “the fertilizer is a starting point [for] new vegetation to grow [within the] burned areas.”  If you’ve ever wondered about the red coloring of it like I have, that is a sort of signal when it lands ahead of the fire for “bulldozers [to] move in to cut a fire break.”  Another interesting point to the slurry is that it “doesn’t evaporate” like the water drops do.  Also, this is where the thickening agent comes in because it helps the entire “slurry from dissipating in the air.”  Another fact to this entire thing is that these tankers, and their respective pilots, “are at the mercy of Mother Nature,” which stops too many from going up in the air due to the high winds in the area, along with “low visibility due to smoke and haze” from the fire.

For anyone who’s interested in seeing some pictures of the fire, KPHO offers a slide show (see link at top).

June 8, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , | 1 Comment

Wallow Fire: Day 11, part 1

Fox News has a report that the Wallow Fire in Northern Arizona has now burned “486 square miles” (according to the report) since “an unattended campfire…sparked the blaze [at] about 1:30p.m. May 29 [2011].”  Now the fire continues to spread and as of Tuesday, “it became the second-largest fire in Arizona history,” as crews continue to try to control it, without any success so far.  Several “areas south of state Route 260 and east of Greer” have been evacuated so far, with probably more to come.

I just hope that this fire is taken care of and no one loses any more homes than the 10 buildings that have been damaged so far.

June 8, 2011 Posted by | AZ Fire Watch | , , | 2 Comments

   

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