Many of us have been glued to our TV’s, internet resources like Facebook and Twitter as well as our phones as we in Tucson watch in horror while the eastern half of our state is on fire.
Wildfires are very common here. With drought conditions and deserts full of dry kindling, one lightning strike or one careless person can turn our world upside down.
Growing up in El Paso, Texas there were numerous summers where we would wait for the flames to show up in the Franklin Mountains. Many times, they came very close to my parents home. There were a few times that we had the buckets ready to take water out of the pool and had the garden hoses on full, watering down the desert in back of us.
In Arizona, much like New Mexico, the landscape is filled with not just deserts but beautiful mountains and forests. In 2003, the little town of Summerhaven was almost decimated by a fire that swept through the Catalina Mountains. They’ve come back – many residents have returned and rebuilt their summer homes – but I can’t help but imagine what they might be thinking as this year’s fires burn. Towns like Eager and Springville are either under evacuation orders or have already evacuated.
When you live in an area like this, fire safety is a number one concern. Campfires, smoking outdoors, fireworks – all of it has to be considered carefully. Smokey Bear would want you to be safe and he wants his forest friends to be safe, too. If you’re planning a weekend getaway this summer to the great outdoors, please take pre-cautions which are listed on Smokey’s website.
So far, the only thing we’re getting in Tucson is a lot of smoke and haze from the various fires. It’s business as usual here – aside from the hoping and praying we’re doing for our friends and emergency personnel who are affected by this.