Monday, July 11, 2005

Fire and Rain

"Did you see the fire?" John asked.

No, I hadn't noticed a fire in any of the mountains that ring Tucson, but I wasn't surprised.  After all, it was just seven days ago that I drive partway up Mount Lemmon, specifically to take a picture of the Smokey Bear sign.  The notice that day: "FIRE DANGER: VERY HIGH."  This is not the highest level of fire alert around here.  I've been on Mount Lemmon when the word on that sign was "EXTREME."  Until the monsoon gets here, any stray match can burn half a mountain.  Lightning will do the same until serious rain comes to drown it out.  Odd how it all works: while the eastern U.S. braces for hurricanes, Tucson is praying for rain.

Where's the fire?  Taken on Kolb Rd near DMAFB and the Boneyard

"It's in the mountains to the south," John told me.  And indeed it is.  The fire isn't visible by day, but the smoke sure is.  (Hint: that white stuff is not a cloud.)  I saw it as we headed back from Batman Begins, and even more so when we left the Hometown Buffet.  I talked John into driving south for a closer look.

Getting closer

The mountains south of Tucson are the Santa Ritas.  They are farther from the city than the Catalinas or Rincons or Tucson Mountains, way down near Green Valley and beyond. 

We knew we weren't going to get close on our little drive.  Wilmot dead-ends into one of the Davis-Monthan security gates, and even Kolb Rd. doesn't go all that far, at least not without interruption.  Nevertheless, we cut over to Kolb and started south, past the airplane "boneyard" that lies just beyond the Palo Verde trees to the left and right of the top picture here.  Many of the derelict planes are hidden behind a fence atop a high embankment, but there's still plenty to see along that route.  But that's not what we were there for this afternoon.

Ironically, considering what's happening Back East, this blaze is named the Florida Fire.  The latest report I've seen says that 1,000 acres haveburned so far.  It was started by lightning in that .01 inch thunderstorm we had Thursday night.

Stopped near a wash for this picture.

Eventually we stopped near a wash (a dry riverbed that carries water only when it rains) so that I could get out and take proper pictures.  Then we continued south.  I had forgotten to use the zoom, so I still didn't have anything that looked close.

End of the road - for now.

Kolb Road dead-ended into this construction site, just past the Voyager RV Resort ("Voted Best in the Country!" a sign informed us).  Apparently, it won't be too long before Kolb continues south from here. 

Zoomed in a little for this one.

And here's a moderate close-up. 

I have many more pictures to show you.  When I unloaded my camera's flash card tonight, for the first time in three days, I had over 30 pictures on it of varying degrees of interest.  Coming soon: lizard in the bathtub, hog on a hog, and the view north from extreme southeast Tucson.


Florida Fire doubles in size; homes still safe

Sunset for the Metal Warriors


rap4143 said...

Interesting photos. My area we have experiences unsual weather, a lot rain included.

ryanagi said...

Wild and scary! I guess the rain thus far has really done nothing for the dryness.

deabvt said...