Fire Danger Observations from a Canyon Lover
The recent drought in the southwest made me very uneasy. We left June 29, 2011 for a three-week vacation and left behind acres of dry grasses, drooping brown palm trees, thin wiry cacti, and water-starved desert plants in the arroyo adjacent to our homes.
The temperature at the Tucson airport as we left was 100 degrees and the “Monsoon” had not started yet. Area recreation parks were closed due to the danger of fire, including Madera Canyon. (Thank Goodness!) The Forth of July was approaching, and I was so afraid some careless person would decide to set off fireworks or start a fire while camping. Every day we were reading about the big fire south of Rio Rico, the big fire that threatened Sierra Vista, the Horseshoe 2 fire in the Chiricahuas, and the Wallow fire in the eastern White Mountains that destroyed so many acres of forest, homes, and businesses. Having witnessed the fire in the Santa Ritas several years ago which threatened the canyon and the observatory, and also the fire that destroyed the Friends of Madera Canyon education storage shed at the entrance to the canyon, I was terribly frightened that fire would occur again in our mountains and canyon.
At the lake in Wisconsin where we visited, the local country club put on a fireworks display that we watched from our son’s boat on the lake. It was spectacular, but the first burst of fire and smoke really upset me as I was thinking of Arizona and the Southwest. It was done safely, and a call home to Green Valley after the 4th assured me all was well in Green Valley, Madera Canyon, and surrounding areas. For that I was extremely thankful. I hope this experience of over three months of drought will cause people to think about the dangers that can surround us in a dry situation. While in Wisconsin, I stood in the door and watched and listened to the rain! Folks, please appreciate the rain, as it is good for the flora and fauna of Madera Canon and the Santa Cruz Valley.
Be very careful when building cooking fires and use the equipment meant for that purpose. Be sure to extinguish all fires and use only areas designated for picnicking.
Madera Canyon is green again and beautiful; aren’t we lucky? And – it is raining outside!