Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Monument Fire- Aftermath Sierra Vista

I returned to Sierra Vista to see the aftermath of the Monument Fire that has burned for more than a week in that community. It was even more unbelievable than I had could have imagined.
Some homes and businesses were lost while others completely surrounded by fire were spared.

As far as the eye can see the landscape is blackened giving it another world look right out of a science fiction novel. Entire mountains were consumed by flames, thousands of acres charred, that for the moment look lifeless and as if nothing has survived. Not too long ago I studied the effects of the 2003 Aspen Fire on Mt Lemmon and I know that this is not true and that the area will recover over time.

This is the area where the fire broke across fire containment lines and crossed highway 92 on Sunday when the winds were reaching 50 to 60 mph. This is an appropriate place to commend the fire and emergency crews who did an incredible job under extremely harsh conditions. High winds, high temperatures, dry conditions, low humidity and rough terrain all combined to make this an extremely difficult fire and in my opinion it could have been much,much worse were it not for the hard work and dedication of crews from all over.

Several businesses in the path of the fire were completely destroyed. Evacuations must have come fast as lots of vehicles and other things were abandoned to the whims of the flames. Some burned to the ground while others next door were unscathed.

Everything burned except this house for some reason. Truly amazing.

Our Lady of the Sierras was partially destroyed but the huge celtic cross was spared.

Another home spared while all around everything else burned.

There is a mop up crew on the mountain and if you enlarge the photo above you might be able to see the dozen or so firefighters doing their job.

Contrast between areas that burned and those that did not.

Flame retardant dropped from planes to stop advancing flames.

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