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Wallow Fire Still Growing — Why Now?
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Wallow Fire Still Growing

Wallow FireThe BBC reports that the More residents flee as Arizona Wallow fire grows. They have a map [they are a real news site, so of course they include a map] to locate the area – the eastern border with New Mexico about halfway up.

For more details [and a local area map] you go to the InciWeb Wallow Fire page

Incident Overview

  • Date Started: 5/29/2011
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 2,140 including 27 hotshot crews and 29 handcrews
  • Location: south and west of Alpine, Arizona
  • Cause: Human – under investigation
  • Equipment: 8 dozers, 141 engines, 46 watertenders
  • Size: 311,481 acres [487 miles² 1261 km²]
  • Aircraft: 20 helicopters
  • Percent Contained: 0%
  • Injuries to Date: none
  • Structures: 343 threatened; 1 damaged; 10 lost

Low humidity and high gusty winds are making containment nearly impossible. Fire lines are jumped almost as soon as they are cut, and this is a mountainous region. It will probably enter New Mexico tomorrow, and the smoke is spreading to Iowa. At this point the effort is to try to protect towns in the path, while waiting for the weather to improve later in the week.

Arizona Governor Brewer didn’t issue a state of emergency declaration until yesterday, which means they have probably blown through their Federal grant and will have to spend some of their own money on fire fighting. I expect them to ask for FEMA assistance at any time, because that’s what Republicans do, just ask Governor Goodhair of Texas. They will need to talk to the Tea Party whackoes in Congress, because they don’t believe in “bailouts”.

[For the latest information click on the fire symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]


1 Badtux { 06.08.11 at 12:25 am }

Most folks think Arizona and New Mexico are all desert. But this area is at a high elevation and gets more rain than most of the surrounding areas during the summer monsoons and gets a fair amount of snow in the winter, and is thus heavily forested. Add in the usual issues with USFS firefighting letting too much duff build up, and drought, and you’re talking about a tinderbox.

BTW, beautiful area to ride a dual-sport touring motorcycle in… well, when it’s not burning, anyhow. Sigh, I miss my KLR…

— Badtux the Former Arizona Penguin

2 Bryan { 06.08.11 at 9:17 am }

The main suspected cause is an unattended campfire.

Even on I-10, it you travel West in the Spring you can see the new growth, but especially the purple sage that blankets the mountains.

I prefer a horse for the country, but your own feet are what you are left with when the trails drop out, or there’s a fire – because horses really don’t like fires and do crazy things around them.

The ranches have to be in trouble, as the grasslands are surely wiped out by one or another of the fires in Arizona, and the drought across the Southern section of the country is going to make hay next to impossible to get.

3 Badtux { 06.08.11 at 5:32 pm }

Actually most of what you’ll see from I-10 at the Arizona-New Mexico border is creosote and brittlebrush and ocotillo with some agave and joshua trees in the higher elevations and mesquites in washes and other wetter places, not purple sage, which you’ll see mostly in the high deserts of Utah. The Sonoran Desert is deceptively lush looking compared to most deserts, because all of those other than the brittlebrush and mesquites keep their foliage year-round (and oh yeah, there’s cacti, duh). But believe me, it’s still very much a desert… whereas once you get above the Mogollon Rim, things get truly lush with real trees and grass and stuff.

4 Bryan { 06.08.11 at 8:03 pm }

Actually, I was looking at the slopes of the mountains much further West, and to the West closer to the California – Arizona border. It may not be sage, but it is definitely purple.

You probably can’t see it anymore after they started to pull water out of the Colorado and irrigate huge farms along I-8, which I saw on my last trip in 1991. There’s nothing like humidity to “enrich” the heat around Yuma.

Nothing much changed today, except the fire got bigger.

The grass and shrubs down South are also burning, so the ranchers are in a world of hurt.