Thursday, Feb. 09, 2006
Hot Off The Presses
Ack. Today got sort of crazy. (As if there were days in my life that weren't crazy.) The fire wasn't as bad as could have been, though that's not saying it's exactly good. There's a heck of a lot of smoke and so far there's been 1250 turned to charcoal. Fortunately nobody has gotten hurt, no homes or business have been toasted, and the fire made virtually no headway since yesterday early.
The photo here was taken just down the street from where I work; and while it looks pretty distant in that picture, it's still entirely too close for comfort.
Fortunately the Forest Service had completed some prescribed burns in the area over the past year or so. As a result, the most populous areas are relatively protected. The fire's eastern edge is bumping up against a local ranch but because of the fact that nearly all its other flanks are abutting firebreaks, firefighters have been able to really focus on that spot.
The next closest at-risk property is a Boy Scout camp called Camp Geronimo, still a couple of miles from the edge of the flames.
It's really eerie to see this thing at this time of year - unheard-of, in fact. There's been no snow to speak of this season, not even in Flagstaff, which normally has recorded about 22 inches by now. The relative humidity has been so low it barely registers. Tuesday it was 2 percent during the day and only about 7 percent at night. Firefighters got a reprieve last night and today, though. The humidity jumped to 40 percent by 9pm last night, and today it's been better, if not quite that high again.
This fire might ultimately be a blessing. At this point, major fires have cut out wide firebreaks all around town. This summer is forecast to be one of the worst, if not the worst, fire season ever for the southwestern US. We had a very wet winter last year, which resulted in an explosion of weeds, grass and other quick-burning fuel. But we're in the eleventh and driest year of a cyclical drought, so the pine trees are drier than kiln-dried hardwood. (That's not an exaggeration; it's from an environmenal study.) If you've ever seen a video of what a Christmas tree looks like when it catches fire, and how quickly it becomes a ball of flame, keep in mind - the average Christmas tree has vastly more moisture than the trees in the forest in central Arizona.
So how could this be a blessing?
It forms another barrier between us and a major catastrophic wildfire - the kind that roars through everything, destroying acreage that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, maybe even in the millions. Because that's what we're being promised this year.
I'm still a long, long ways from the fireline. I don't think I'm in any imminent danger of being burned out of house and home. To be honest, though, the place where I work is potentially at risk. It's smack in the middle of the woods - not a lot of other buildings around us, just trees and horse pastures, the towers and satellite dishes. Th-th-that's all, folks.
MC and I are still doing well. We've gotten several other leads on web work; a lot of people have asked us about building them webpages and several have simply said they want us to build a page for them. We've got a couple of projects we're working on now. Others are still out there. We have had now two sources tell us they'll trade for webspace, business service for business service. We'll definitely be doing that for one space, but for another I think we might pass - what he wants for $750 a year we can do for free and do it better, too. The only reason I'd go for his deal is if it gets our proverbial foot in the door with other local businesses - and I don't necessarily think that'll be happening.
00 is better - someone asked me and I figured I should let y'all know she's still alive, the infection's gone and she's become a regular fixture at the dentist's office. She's a bit depressed but other than that okay. She knows she's got to get a job, and soon; I am hoping that in a bit we'll be able to generate enough business to hire her, but in the interim she's kind of on her own. She's 24, granted. I am not obligated to support her any more. But she's still my child and she's been dealt more grief than anyone should be forced to endure, and I wish I could do more to help her.
I'm exhausted tonight. The combination of the fire and smoke and ash and all of the extra work have left me exhausted and stressed. I'm going to de-stress tonight, camping out on the sofa and either reading a book or watching television with MC.
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )