Blessed are those who wait for rain

8 10 2018

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We’re not the most patient lot … but we just might be the most grateful. πŸ™‚

Colorado Highway 141, across the top of the screen, runs across the broad, lower, northern end of Disappointment Valley. Southeast of the rightmost 141 marker and south of the open space in the green blob that is life-giving rain is Spring Creek Basin. The rain has fallen fairly steadily with small breaks since Saturday mid-afternoon.

The world as we know it is SOGGY. And it’s FABULOUS.

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Bright girl

2 08 2018

Gaia; McKenna Peak

Copper Gaia is a glowing spot of color on a hazy, smoky day.





Colorful Temple

26 07 2018

Rainbow over Temple Butte

Only sprinkles over Spring Creek Basin, but we’ll take every one.





Drizzle

17 06 2018

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Grateful.

Some good news on the 416 Fire front from The Durango Herald.

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We kept getting little waves of drizzly dribbles during the day.

Sweet. So welcome. So desperately, very welcome.





Horse Park Fire now on Inciweb

31 05 2018

Skywalker; Horse Park Fire

Another link for ya’ll: The Horse Park Fire is on Inciweb.

The fire is at 1,240 acres and 50 percent contained! Two hundred seventy-two people are working on this fire, and we thank each and every one of them! They estimate containment by June 9.

The smoke was much reduced Wednesday, even from the last couple of days.

And more good news: We got a few drops of rain. πŸ™‚ I think one of the fire reports said no rain fell over the fire, but it was cooler, and we had cloud cover. The weather is supposed to change (not for the better), so this hopefully gave firefighters a good day to make advances. The report note that the moisture in the dead logs in the fire area is about 3 percent; kiln-dried wood has about 15 percent moisture. Yikes.

It’s hard to overstate how terribly dry it is. Please, please, be careful.





Fighting the Horse Park Fire

30 05 2018

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The smoke as of Tuesday is way less from the Horse Park Fire as many more firefighters are arriving to work on it. This photo is from Sunday evening as Comanche paused while grazing. You can see the lines of red retardant on the far ridge below the smoke where the air tankers were dropping it along the fire’s edge.

Update: I wanted to add this link to a Facebook page specifically for the Horse Park Fire.

Some more links to information about the Horse Park Fire:

Cortez Journal article

Wildfire Today





Horse Park Fire

28 05 2018

The first thing to know is the most important: Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs are OK.

Horse Park is immediately north of Spring Creek Basin. The Horse Park Fire started Saturday night by a lightning strike, and firefighters were on it pretty much immediately. The fire is outside the basin’s northeastern boundary and moving basically northward, pushed by strong winds from the south/southeast.

Early in the day, I was with Steve Heath (Heath Water Service) in the basin to show him theΒ  roads. There’s a big difference in go-to-ability between his loaded water truck and my nimble Jeep, and we wanted to see where he can go with his truck to deliver water farther into the basin than the catchment when the drought situation requires it.

Good news on that front, too: Steve is confident that he can get his water truck to the places where we might set water troughs for the horses (in addition to the water catchment).

It was interesting – and a little (a lot) sobering – that while we were scouting for water locations, this fire blew up on the basin’s northeastern horizon. As of the 10 o’clock news on the Denver CBS 4 station, the Horse Park Fire was at 1,000 acres with 0 percent containment.

Following are some photos from the day:

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Several planes were in the air all day, small planes like this one (above) and big planes like the one below:

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Part of the fire was in McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area, where fire retardant is forbidden, one of the BLM fire guys told me. Once the fire moved north from the WSA, three big air tankers started dropping the familiar red material.

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This is the same plane as the closer photo above, a few seconds later. Looks pretty crazy, huh?

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At least two helicopters were carrying water buckets from what appeared to be numerous sources to sites that were burning on top of the ridge. The main feature here is McKenna Peak. Perfectly placed behind McKenna from this vantage point (the eastern end of roller-coaster ridge), Temple Butte is mostly blocked. The fire is to the left – north.

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I was glad to find these guys on roller-coaster ridge, watching the fire from the basin side. Crew leader Dan was helpful with information, as was Patrick Seekins, BLM fire management officer, who called within 15 minutes of me calling dispatch in the morning to report the smoke. They had been aware of the fire and mobilizing pretty much since it started the previous night.

Unofficially, by my observations and from information given by Patrick and Dan, there was a lot of activity on this fire: a crew of smoke jumpers and a crew of hot shots; a fire team out of Norwood; BLM firefighters from Dolores; three big air tankers (resupplying in Durango, Cortez and Grand Junction, I think Dan said); at least four, maybe five, smaller planes dropping retardant; at least two helicopters carrying water buckets; at least one aircraft coordinating all the others (there were a lot of “birds” in the sky!).

Here’s a link to an article about the Durango Air Tanker Base in The Durango Herald. Planes like the one pictured with the article definitely were flying above the Horse Park Fire and dropping retardant.

It is incredibly dry out there in this land of no rain. Really, really, REALLY dry. This is not the first fire in the region, and it won’t be the last.

Fire restrictions are in place pretty much everywhere. PLEASE be super careful.

S'aka, Horse Park Fire

I asked Dan to please pass along to his colleagues the thanks of Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs and their human admirers. πŸ™‚ There seems to be very little chance that the fire will burn down into the basin, but it’s close enough to raise the anxiety level.

The mustangs are in good shape – living in the moment, doing what they do. πŸ™‚

P.S. Happy Memorial Day. It is a day to remember the service of others! Thankfully, those in my family who served their country came home. Today, we remember and honor those who did not make it home to their loved ones.