Arizona wildfires

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by ezdays, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    For those of you that have been following the fires here in Arizona, or at least read about them, here is an update. First, a brief history: Arizona is normally very dry; yesterday the humidity in Phoenix was 4%. Some years we have very little snow up in the high country and sparse rain here in the desert. In those years, the forests are really dry and can easily spread fire. This year there was lots of snow up north and rain here. That’s a good thing and we had plenty of wildflowers this spring. We also had an abundance of weeds and grass, and now that it’s dry again, the wildflowers and weeds are just fire fodder waiting for something to happen. Well, it usually does in one of two ways. This is the time of year for thunderstorms, but being so dry, we get a lot of lightning and wind, but no moisture. The rain evaporates before it hits the ground. This inevitably starts fires, which is the case right now. Sometimes people start these fires, which was the case two years ago when we had about 500,000 acres of pines and hundreds of homes go up in flames.

    Right now they are fighting the second largest fire in Arizona’s history and it has consumed about 180,000 acres of pristine desert with no end in sight. There are many other smaller fires, one just to the south of us yesterday took 500 acres with it and the winds blew smoke over most of the west side. Our eyes burned and we could smell the smoke when we went outside. There are about 11 major fires in the state right now, and there are a couple of new brush fires each day. We’ve had no less than eight of them around us these past few weeks, and it’s not uncommon to walk outside and see a big plume of smoke somewhere. The bottom line though is that we are safe for now, as are several other members of the Gauge like Ray Marinaccio and Jim Currie.:) The largest fire has taken a few homes, but is now headed up in one direction towards Black Canyon City in the desert and in the other towards two smaller towns in the forest area. The last line of defense to the east is the Verde River, and if it jumps that, it will hit the forest. There is no defense to the west, just about 800 firefighters doing their thing.:thumb:

    I am posting this just in case you were interested or curious, and to ask those of you that are so inclined, to pray for the safety of those fighting these fires and that they are successful in containing them. Praying for a little rain wouldn’t hurt either. :D:D

    I will post updates as things change.
  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Nature at its worst. We always seem to have fires in the northern parts of our provinces and it is difficult to get fire fighting equipment to where the fires are.
    I remember a mountain fire on Devils Peak near Capetown South Africa. I was a kid then and watched men fighting the fire by trying to beat it out with wet sacks as fire trucks couldn't make it up there. My dad sprayed our house with a garden hose to keep the sparks under control. Some homes were lost but not ours fortunately.
    Yes Don, we do pray for those that put themselves in jeopardy in order to save others.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    The tragedy here is that they say the desert may never recover. The tall pines will reseed themselves and man will rebuild after a fire, but the cactus and other desert plants will not. One victim of the current fire is the tallest saguaro in the world. It has been burned and they don't expect it to last. It is 46' tall and around 200 years old. You can see a story and picture at this link.

    The wildlife? Well there are deer, wild horses and other large animals in the desert, but most (except the deer and horses:D) live in the rocks or underground. Most though rely on the desert vegatation for food and water.:(
  4. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    All-though the fire is probably 40 to 50 miles from here, we can see flames raising over the mountains to the southeast at night. (scary sight)
  5. JVRR

    JVRR Member


    I will keep you in prayer keep us updated. I am a christian and i will pray for those in need.What kind of imediate danger are you all in

  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    If you read carefully, we are in no immediate danger, nor is anyone we know of right now. But I was asking for the intentions of those fighting these fires that they be kept safe and are sucessful in what they do. It has been a good year in that so far there are no casulties, and we all would like it to stay that way. There have been other years where they have lost some firefighters and severly injured others, so we find them putting their lives on the line to save us and our proprety and to preserve that which Mother Nature gave us.

    Some here just seem to be "inconvienced" by the smoke and some by the fact that they may not be able to spend the holiday where they intended since some of the fires are heading close to some prime vacations spots.

    We'll keep everyone posted.
  7. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Now remember this is coming from a firefighter who knows what he is talking about LOL :D :D :D

    Forest Fires are one of the worst fires to fight, It drains you of your energy, dehydrates you so you have to keep yourself well hydrated so you don't pass out from heat exhaustion. Here in PA we only get small brush fire, but once in awhile there is a Forest Fire, biggest i have fought was 4 acres. I have seen videos of them fires out there and feel bad for all those that lose their home and belongings. Firefighters from all over the US go to the forest fires. You have to have the class in order to go. The firefighters at times will light back fires about 10 to 15 feet in front of the fire path which it is taking at the moment so it will burn itself out. Also cutting brush lines to stop the fire as well. They bring in air drops, using all helicopters and airplanes the forest fire department can get ahold of. Mean while the firefighters have brush rakes, indian cans ( big back back filled with water ), axes, shovels, rakes, & other tools used for fighting brush fires. Meanwhile you have other firefighters on the Engines using handlines ( crosslays ), & deck guns to help put the fire out, and to also protect homes if they can. Hopefully they will get the fires out soon and everyone comes home safely. Yes the job is a dangerous job no matter what kind of a call it is, but we do what we have to, to save the property or the life of a total stranger that we don't know. As the saying goes from my fire department I belong to, Our Lives We Risk... ...Our Friends To Save. And that saying is true.
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    The current conditions is that the fire fighters had some help today from the wind not being as strong. On the other hand, the wind was here and was blowing down from the north today and the smoke was really bad. The fire is still moving at the rate of one mile a day and going in two directions. It is getting closer to Black Canyon City and the Interstate. Maybe Matthew might know more about this than the rest of us, but they say that in some areas, the fire is moving into the wind.:confused: Really strange.
  9. SAL Comet

    SAL Comet Member

    Don, I hope you guyz come through OK. My hat's off to those firefighters, that's a mighty tough job, and wish I them the best. Keep us updated please.
  10. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    Fires can be scary things, a fvriend of mine is a volenter firefighter in the local bush brigade, he is the fire captain, and at all of his briefings he say" get the wet stuff on the red stuff, and keep cool". Being a bummy, I asked him what he ment by the last bit, he said "I dont want my guys, getting carless, as it not only puts them in greater danger, but also puts whoever goes to help them in danger. " I asked no ferther questions, and handed him a beer...

    Don you and all the firefighters are in our prayers, and our best wishes to keep you all safe...have a good one..steve
  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thanks all, they need our support. Since this is the largest fire in the US right now, they now have 2000 firefighters on the ground, seven out of the ten largest tanker planes in the country and several copters fighting this fire. Last night they were announcing that they may have to use the Interstate that goes between Phoenix and Flagstaff as a fire break in one area, shutting down a major highway that is really busy on summer weekends, but especially busy on this holiday weekend.

    There are firefighters from all over the country, women, native americans and they even use prison crews at times. They are also saying that the cost to fight just this one fire is now close to four million dollars. The cost of what's being done to the desert and hills cannot be calculated.
  12. JVRR

    JVRR Member

    does any body know how much those tanker planes can hold????
  13. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    The Orion P-3 can hold about 3000 gallons of chemical retardent. The entire fleet was grounded last year, but the FAA activated them again just before the fire season started. It's amazing how they dorp their load, land, take on more retardent and are back in the air within minutes. The copters usually fly to a nearby lake and drop a bucket in. I don't know how much they can carry, but it depends on the craft, I'd guess a couple of hundred gallons.
  14. JVRR

    JVRR Member

    so another words there dropping lots of water every day. the retardents help stop the spread of the fire right. like it coats it with a fireproof chemical
  15. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Your right Josh. It coats what is not burnt and protects it so it will not catch on fire. They get ahead of the fire and drop it or there are times they will fly right over it and drop the chemicals. They fill up with water where ever there is water, swimming pools, dams, creeks, rivers, ponds, & lakes. Millions of gallons of water is used per day to put these types of fires out. Now with the fire going into the wind, i never heard of a fire doing that before no have never seen it. I will ask my forest fire warden ( who happens to be my brother ) of my local fire company and see what he has to say about it and let you guys know.

    In a way the fires are a good thing because it gets rid of the dead wildlife and helps create new wild life. That's why the rangers and a brush fire crew go out in the summer and burn off the dead wildlife in certain areas, but keep it under control, to make room for new wildlife. But there were them times when it got out of control and it turned into a forest fire. I just hope all of the Firefighters and everyone who is helping stay's safe.
  16. JVRR

    JVRR Member

  17. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

  18. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    I asked my brother about what you said there, and this is what he gave me:

    If the forest fire is big enough it will create its on weather, producing thunderstorms, and other weather. What's happening with the wind is the cold air is rushing in at the bottom while the hot air from the fire is rushing above it making it go towards the wind. If you guys need to know anything else I am more than happy to help. :D :D
  19. JVRR

    JVRR Member

    live steamer does that mean that the cold and warm air is clashing. if so that is the same thing that happens during a tornado.
  20. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Apparently, this is common enough that they have a name for it. They mntioned it on last night's news, but said the name too fast to understand. The TV weather reporters are always talking about the fires creating their own weather. Lots of wind and I guess they can create thunderstorms as well. No rain, just thunder, lightning and wind. :cry:They also have a name for when it is raining and the rain doesn't hit the ground. They call that "Verga" and with our very dry climate, it happens often around this time of year.

    Still no change today. They are still talking about shutting down the Interstate, I-17 between the Carefree Highway and Cordes Junction fairly soon because of the smoke, and later to be used as a fire break. There was a large fire up in that area about two weeks ago where the same stretch of road was closed for about two days.

    I hope some of you out there won't find this subject boring or out of line for a train forum.:sleeping::sleeping: I think it's worthwhile enought to discuss and to educate. I also take a keen interest in how others live and what things are like in their area. I would hope that others are as interested as well. :wave::wave:

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