Coronado National Park Fire Update (Huachucas)

It is fast becoming the worst fire season ever for Arizona. There are currently three major fires burning: The Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona, which has consumed 444,000 acres and is only 10% contained, the Horseshoe Fire in the southeastern part of the state which has burned 134,000 acres, and a new one that started at 1:00 pm yesterday in the Huachuca Mountains in Sierra Vista, very close to where I live and very dear to all of us. They’re now calling it the Monument Fire because it’s in the Coronado National Monument system, but the park is officially called Coronado National Memorial here.

I had to take a foster cat to Sierra Vista today to be spayed, and I waited to pick her up at my friend Janice’s house near Sierra Vista. We watched the mountains burning from her yard. We saw many people who had to evacuate driving by with trailers full of horses. The smoke is very bad and everybody’s faces are swollen and noses are running. This is nothing compared to what the animals who live in the forests must endure. The various ranges of Coronado National Park are comprised of “sky islands,” each an ecosystem unto itself. The animals that live in the various systems, called ecotones, cannot survive in another system.

I picked up the cat and on my way home I stopped a few times to take pictures. Many roads are are blocked by border patrol and police. I talked to some of them. Yesterday the news said the Monument fire had burned 100 acres, today it’s 3000 acres. I asked if this was true, they said easily—this fire started at the border. It is zero percent contained.

They said on the radio the fire started near “Smugglers Gulch,” right on the border. This forest is known for drug and human smuggling. Since the park has been closed to visitors since June 9th because of extremely dry conditions and high winds, it is assumed the fire was started by smugglers. There are many smaller fires that do not make national news. To see how beautiful this area is (was), see We Don’t Need No Stinking Guardrails, posted three weeks ago.

The destruction these fires cause has to be seen to be believed. We do need more border protection, but 2,000 miles of border, 370 miles of it in Arizona is a lot of land to cover.

Monument fire from friend’s yard near Hereford 6-13-11

Monument fire from Hereford Rd 6-13-11

Monument fire from Hereford Rd 6-13-11

Monument fire from Rt. 92 6-13-11

Monument fire from Rt. 92 6-13-11

I think this is a firefighting helicopter, I read there are four of them working on this fire.

Monument fire from Rt. 92 6-13-11

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13 responses to “Coronado National Park Fire Update (Huachucas)

  1. Great photos, Debra; we had our share of horror bushfires last summer in Victoria where the little town of Marysville and most of its inhabitants were wiped out.

    Interestingly we in Australia have our share of border protection issues though most illegals, as you probably have heard, arrive by boat. There is incessant talk about ‘people smugglers’ and what action we should take against them. It is a real political issue and yet the numbers are infinitesimal when compared to many European countries.

  2. Thanks JLeo, that’s horrible that an entire town was wiped out. You mean the people died too?

    They are finding more and more human smuggling in the US. Just read about a house in Phoenix holding 100 people. The more people, the more crime and war. The more war, the more refugees. The more refugees, the more exploitation. It’s so ugly.

  3. What makes me sick...

    I consider myself pretty well ‘up’ on the news but, I would know nothing about this if I didn’t subscribe to your blog. California has had alot of wildfire news coverage in the past that actually makes it over here to the UK. I appreciate your pictures and updates. They say we’ve had ‘drought’ conditions over here due to insufficient rainfall, but we’re drowning compared to y’all. I really hope these things can be contained and extinguished at some point SOON! I am particularly interested in your observations on the wildlife and ecosystems, which will take a helluva long time to recover.
    Be safe and keep up the good work!

  4. Hey DD, how are you? Thanks. I didn’t know this but they actually had closed other parts of the Coronado Park system earlier this month too, not just the one in my area. It’s bad, no snow or rain last winter, and a month until monsoon. The next month is going to be hell on wildlife, border patrol, and especially firefighters. They’re really stretched thin here. I’m so upset by these fires, everybody is—you don’t realize how much until it hits your own backyard. Take care.

  5. 6-14-11: Monument Fire grows to 4600 acres. No containment.

    Here’s a picture of what it looks like at night with time-lapse photography:

    http://www.svherald.com/content/carr/2011/06/13/more-150-battle-monument-fire

    • What makes me sick...

      WOW! That is just F***ing Nuts! You guys definitely have your hands full with this one. Slow broadband at the moment, so I only got to see the first photo from the link. Dum Dum has never been in a forest fire (touch wood… or not ;) ), but he has been in a house fire. Can’t even imagine how powerless people must feel. Let’s hope FEMA doesn’t drop the ball on this one (yep, Dum Dum read the paper too)! People always bitch about the rain in the UK. I’ll have a word and try to send ya some :) .

  6. I hope you’re ok. this is the last thing you and yours need.

  7. Sorry to hear these are still spreading. Thanks for the update, dear one.

    • Thanks Patti. It’s getting worse. I just talked to my friend Janice and she’s packed and ready to leave if they come down her street with a bullhorn, but 8 difficult dogs is a problem. She can bring them here, we’ll work something out. I have a barn, such as it is.

  8. Peter Harwerth

    Think for a moment about that “illegals” should have started the fires. If I were an illegal I would do anything to avoid being tagged and found. If I were an illegal in your country I would be afraid for my life. I would never, never, never risk to attract attention. Therefore the accusation that illegals have started the fires are just plain stupid.

    • I see you’re from New Brunswick, Canada. So you are yet another clueless person. Do I have go through the sequence of events again? You just don’t get it.

    • Dear Northerly Neighbor –

      I can’t quite tell your age by the brief comment, however, I take it you have never lived on the Mexican border, nor have you payed much attention to the killings at the border by the Mexican drug cartels. Not only at the border, but on the U.S. side of the border also. If you need links to the crime associated with the Mexican border, or all the small fires they start to stay warm and then leave behind – just say so – I can keep you busy for a few hours reading.
      I wonder if you would say the same thing to the U.S. Border Patrol agent that was just recently heinously murdered. How about his wife and young children – maybe you could convince them that it couldn’t have been an illegal. If I point the agent’s wife to your post – Who do you suppose she will think is “stupid”?
      Get a grip man – the illegals do what they want when they want even if they risk being caught. Logical thinking and illegals are not something that should be used in the same paragraph.

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