Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something I Overlooked

Caption: How the Apache National Forest looks like when it's not on fire. This is the eastern entrance.

Image credit: Geographer/Wikipedia

There are lots of good things about not watching television news, but one of the bad things about it is that there will be times when a large portion of the country is on fire, and you're not aware of it. Apparently, this has been going on in eastern Arizona for the last week or so:

Note the map scale in the lower left. Twenty-five kilometers is about 15 miles.

Caption: On June 13, the Wallow Fire became the largest in Arizona’s history, surpassing the Rodeo Chediski Fire by about 1,000 acres. By the end of the day, the Wallow Fire had burned 469,407 acres (1,900 square kilometers or 733 square miles) and destroyed 32 homes, 4 commercial buildings, and 36 outbuildings. The Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002 burned 468,638 acres (1,897 square kilometers or 732 square miles), but destroyed 491 buildings, including 465 homes.

[For a larger version of this image, visit the Image credit link.]

Image credit: NASA/MODIS

The park website is full of warnings about closures, and instructions for evacuations. There's a lot of forest on fire down there, and there doesn't seem to be much stopping it right now:
Residents of the eastern Arizona communities of Nutrioso and White Mountain Acres were allowed to return home Wednesday as fire crews continued to wrestle control of the Wallow Fire.

Officials said they are reluctant to describe the blaze as controlled but noted that more and more houses and communities are in less danger. And while Greer and Alpine remain in evacuation in cases winds reignite fires in those areas, authorities said that they're hopeful that folks with homes there could return in as few as three days.

Wallow Fire: 20 percent contained, Nutrioso residents allowed back home
The Wikipedia entry for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest says that there are about 2.63 million acres in it, so it seems logical to conclude that a little more than a sixth of it is either burned or on fire.

I used to visit southern Arizona quite often on business, so my heart goes out to the folks there.

No comments: