July 12, 2013

fire on the mountain

a DC-10, one of the fire planes
I have never been anywhere even sort of close to a wildfire before, until Tuesday June 18 when a fire broke out near Prescott, Arizona ("everybody's hometown", including ours as of this year). The Doce Fire started in a rural area and quickly spread to burn thousands of acres by the end of the first day. Billowing brown smoke filled the northwest part of the sky in the afternoon, and made for a very disturbing sight. By nightfall, the fire had moved up one side of Granite Mountain, crested it, and was moving down the side we can see from our neighborhood.

We are near the small local airport, which is usually busy with small planes (many of them for training related to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University). The firefighting planes were rumbly and loud, and went right over us after take-off. (only the DC-10s were too large to land here.) The planes themselves were very cool to see (especially the shiny converted old war plane), but if we managed to relax and forget about the fire for a moment, they reminded us of reality again soon enough. While we did not appear to be in any danger, it was hard to get on with daily life while a huge fire was raging with 0% containment only 5-6 miles away. That first day was really something, and here are my few humble photos of it:

Granite Mountain in the distance, taken from Pioneer Parkway (about 2pm)

Granite Mountain from different view

the sky behind our house, the afternoon of June 18 2013

view from our neighborhood of Granite Mountain the first night

For days, life seemed to revolve around the fire. Now I can better empathize with those who have been close to a fire like this! We are very thankful for the hundreds of firefighters, fire plane pilots, and other support people who worked so hard to get this fire under control. The fire came right into the backyards of some houses farther out of town, but none were lost.

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