The 2012 Arizona wildfire season is off to a quick start, with no relief in sight. Arizona residents who live in areas where they do not need to worry about dust storms, they have the more prominent danger of fire destroying their homes.
The Gladiator Fire has scorched more than 1,700 acres so far. The community of Crown King had to be evacuated and the only road in and out of the area has been shut down. Crown King is (was?) a historic mining town in the Prescott National Forest. The Gladiator fire started from a house fire which caused a propane tank to ignite.
The Sunflower Fire is currently the largest fire in Arizona. It is located approximately 21 miles south of Payson in the Tonto National Forest. The Sunflower Fire has burned approximately 4,600 acres so far. At the time of this writing, the Sunflower Fire was only 5% contained.
The Elwood Fire is lcoated on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and has burned more than 1,500 acres so far.The Elwood Fire is only 5%contained and how the started is currently unknown.
The Bull Flat Fire is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. The fire has grown to 1,329 acres so far and is only 45 percent contained. The Bull Flat fire started from a lightning strike Thursday night.
In 2011, over one million acres in Arizona were burned due to wildfires (Source: ABC15). To put that in perspective, that is 1500-1600 square miles of land burned in Arizona. Rhode Island is 1214 square miles, with a population 1,051,302. Do you like football? Well, the area burned in Arizona in 2011 was the equivalent of at least 1,320,000 football fields…over a million football fields!
The 2011 Arizona wildfire season was a record-setting year. With 2012 off to such an early start with numerous fires burning, I’m worried it will be another bad year for Arizona wildfires.
The worst aspect regarding Arizona wildfires is that the areas which usually burn are destinations for people who live on the desert floor to seek shelter from the summers. You HAVE to get out of the desert during the summer because the 100’s just get old. With Arizona burning, those destinations are slowly slipping away from Arizona’s landscape.
I captured this image from the southeast valley in the Phoenix area. This is the smoke from the Sunflower fire approximately 55 miles away. The winds are blowing the smoke into the Phoenix valley area, leading to very poor air quality. On the drive home for the past two days, the skies were gray and brown. It looked as if a storm was blowing through, but the reality was the “overcast” conditions were a combination of the ever-present pollution and the addition of the wildfire smoke. My eyes, nose and throat burn as I write this and wonder why I ever moved here.
Again, these are things you will never hear from the Arizona Tourism Board or the Chamber of Commerce. As always, you will learn the truth about living in Arizona here. Please be sure to sign up for email updates to get the latest articles.