No-haze days

16 07 2018

Raven; McKenna Peak and Temple Butte

Raven on a hazy day not so long ago. We have gotten some drips and drizzles, and even with just a little moisture, our world feels the relief.

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The view, usual

10 07 2018

Terra; McKenna Peak and Temple Butte

Terra, again, a couple of days after the below photo/post.

This photo illustrates our usual view: Sunshine in the basin and rain beyond the horizon (McKenna Peak and Temple Butte).

The clouds did eventually cover us that evening – it was the evening of the rainbow – and we got a teeny amount of raindrops. As evidenced by the swirly swish of that stunning tail, the wind preceded the rain by hours. πŸ™‚





Ridge walker

30 06 2018

Hayden

It was a pretty nice view … and then Hayden walked into it, and it became spectacular. πŸ™‚

Hot, dry, windy conditions (you know … same ol’, same ol’ … ) have resulted in more – and more visible – activity from the 416 and Burro fires. Air quality near the fires is pretty bad, according to personal accounts and this Durango Herald article.

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Many thanks to the many firefighters on the job in our area!





Red boy and red haze

15 06 2018

Hayden; Temple Butte, McKenna Peak

If any mustang can make a smoky horizon look good, it’s handsome Hayden.

The 416 Fire is up to 32,076 acres, and the Burro Fire is now at 3,408 acres.

We’re hoping for rain … but the Durango Herald reports that the forecast could be a “mixed bag” because of wind and potential lightning. We’re already getting the blasting wind.

We really need a drenching rain. We need a LOT of drenching rain.

This probably isn’t that … yet … but we’re starting to get reports that the monsoons are coming.





Golden boys

13 06 2018

Skywalker and S'aka

Skywalker and S’aka caught in the act of peacefully grazing in gorgeous evening light.

Not so nice or peaceful:

McKenna Peak and Temple Butte ... 416 Fire (Durango) plume behind.

That’s not a lovely nice rain cloud building behind McKenna Peak and Temple Butte. That’s smoke again from the 416 Fire and/or Burro Fire. The smoke trail along our southeastern horizon is so widespread that I’m really not sure which fire it’s from. Neither fire is a good fire.





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.





Summer shed

27 05 2018

Tenaz; McKenna Peak and Temple Butte

It’s warm. It’s dry. Tenaz makes it gorgeous. πŸ™‚