Subduing the Beast—Monument Fire Update

Rt. 92 along the burned-out Monument fire area reopened last night. I drove to Sierra Vista today to place Gracie, the little gray cat rescued from a foreclosed home, at PetSmart. They have an adoption section with rescue animals only. Gracie is extremely loving and it was very hard to say goodbye, but she does not get along with my cats and I refuse to isolate her. I beg for any powers there may be in this world that somebody fall in love with her, and fast.

Law enforcement, firefighters, border patrol, and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Dept. believe that illegals or smugglers started this fire. They have pinpointed the ignition point on the border. But since anybody who dares to voice this ends up in a shitstorm, the cause of it will probably never be officially announced. Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever, whose territory includes 80 miles of border, has publicly stated his beliefs and is fielding accusations of racism.

It is still only 64% contained as of today, with growth potential still extreme. Its current size is 29,746 acres burned, with 1,170 people still assigned to the fire, including 27 crews, 92 engines, and 7 helicopters. They are still performing controlled burns and constructing lines by hand with air support to prevent the fire from spreading into the next canyon, Ramsey Canyon.

Everywhere along Rt. 92 are handmade signs thanking the firefighters. I took the following pictures today along the area that was closed to the public for nearly two weeks.

Horrible events are happening all over, all the time. Life just sucks for so many of earth’s creatures, both human and animal, I can hardly stand it.

Three restaurants were destroyed along Rt. 92: Nick's, Ricardo's, and Angelika's German Imports

Monument fire wreckage on Rt. 92

Ricardo's Restaurant wreckage from Monument fire

Monument fire damage on Rt. 92

Ricardo's Restaurant wreckage, Rt. 92

Owners of Angelika's German Imports survey the ruins of their business

Burned land along Rt. 92 where it jumped the highway and caused mass evacuations

This little home is called a yurt. It was damaged but saved. Though about 60 homes were lost, the firefighters did an amazing job of saving homes. It could have been much, much worse.

Incident Command Center was set up at a school in Hereford. It looks like a small city. This section holds a group of tents for exhausted firefighters.

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25 responses to “Subduing the Beast—Monument Fire Update

  1. couldn’t agree more. i’ve turned totally toward animals and restrict my human contacts to something like 1/2 hr a day. north dakota’s no picnic now either. Suffering, suffering, suffering. People like you and me, super-sensitive with a strong artistic bent, see and experience emotionally what others are able to block out. Next time around i want to be a clod.

    • Hi Ann, me too. Your last sentence brought a smile as I think that all the time. To aspire to be an ignorant idiot, oh the bliss. If only my choices in life revolved around where to go to dinner or vacation. Or what gadget to buy. Or what to wear. Or whatever. Anything but this constant sadness. Ignorance is liberation.

  2. Thanks for the update. I think of you often. What you and your neighbors have endured is difficult to comprehend. It takes a lot of courage to face up to this type of disaster.

    I’m hopeful that the fires will end soon, rain will come during the monsoon, and you can all begin putting the pieces back together. Don’t worry too much about the natural world. It has seen far worse and always recovers with beauty and grace, although it does take some time.

    Good thoughts to you and in your direction.

    • Thank you Bill. Few more weeks till monsoon. Maybe the rains will encourage little green shoots. But now my passion for Arizona is gone. Who wants to live in an area where fires are set on a regular basis? I predict people will be moving from here in droves. They already are.

      Today I’m putting a battery on a credit card for our poor tired old lawnmower, and will begin to clear our property. It could happen right here in my yard.

      Thanks for your good wishes, as always. Sorry I haven’t been around my favorite blogging pals recently. Need time.

  3. Thank you for keeping us informed. Thank you for the photos. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as too what and how this fire affects you and those involved. I ‘hope’ for better days for Gracie, for you and yours, and for all. ………..take care

    Oh, honestly who could resist a Cat named Gracie. No wonder she is a loving feline. Love and caring is in her name. And who doesn’t require a little loving in their life. Got fingers and shtufffs crossed for Gracie.

    • Hi Hudson, if I could pray I would pray for her. I pray in my own way, by destroying myself.

      Yeah Gracie fit her so well. At PetSmart they have a big sign over the cages that displays how many animals they’ve adopted as a company, it was over 4 million. So though nobody wants big chain stores in their neighborhood, PetSmart is doing something vital for the communities they serve. Thanks for writing and your good wishes hon.

  4. The progress being made by the firefighters is incredible. What dedicated men and women they are. McCain did say it was illegals who set the fire and was blasted for saying it. And I did read on MSNBC that the Sheriff also stated the same thing. But now the media has turned elsewhere – the horrible floods in Minot, ND. So we will probably never hear anymore news of the fire down your way. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    • Hi Sandie,
      Yes the heartbreaking pictures of the ND floods are taking precedence now on news pages. Then it will be something else. And then something else…and all those people still have to live with the destruction though no one ever hears from them again. A month ago it was tornadoes. We don’t hear anymore about it, but I’m sure those folks are still in great distress. I think of this often when disasters come and go like a revolving door. But if you want to know how Libya is doing, just check your home page.

  5. I didn’t realize until recently that there were two major fires in Arizona. I thought that there was only the wallow fire. However, I learned from the Red Cross that there was actually two fires. From speaking with an Red Cross volunteer I found out that they are working on establishing habitat for humanity services for people that have been burned out of their place.

    • Oh my goodness, not two, three. The Wallow, the Horseshoe, and the Monument. I’m surprised the Red Cross didn’t know this! All three are huge. Many organizations have come forward to help with care packages for both evacuees and firefighters. Thanks for writing.

  6. wow thats crazy, i have never fought a wildfire, most of my experiances were structure fires, , i hear that wildfires are HOT and that alot of firefighters die. scary. I hopw it gets contained soon

  7. Hey Darlin –

    Great photos and information – the personal photos you posted show a true and different aspect of the damage left behind from the fires.

    Sadly, you’re probably right about the statements concerning the cause of these fires. Most likely they will be overshadowed by news of different tragedies around the country – and we’ll hear little more. I think more politicians and lawmakers need to pay more attention to the song lyrics “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything –
    You’ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string – Too many puppets on a string I fear.

    Just a great big thanks for caring and looking out for the animals that are often forgotten in these tragedies. Wishing the best for you in the months to come.

    • Thanks Cowboy. Politicians really are tools—to their parties, to their bosses, to their personal causes—to anything but what their constituents need to survive. Some of them might start off with good intentions, but it doesn’t last. Sick of ’em all. Ugh. Thanks for writing and good wishes.

  8. Some heart-rending photographs here, Debra but glad the firefighters have got on top some of the time; it’ll be great when a cool change comes hopefully with lots of rain.

    • Hi JL, thank you. Everybody loves monsoon, this year will be even more special. Those firefighters are saints. They call the pilots “hotshots” and the word couldn’t be more apt. But much of the containment is done the old-fashioned way, with shovels. And it’s bloody hot. Every single one of them is a hero to us.

  9. Having spent time in your area over the last few years we have a better understanding of the problems faced in your border area. Folks who have never been there or rely on the news channels do not have an accurate picture of what is truly going on. You are just as right about the political system as John McCain was right about the origin of the fire. Politicians may at some point in their early careers start out with good intentions but it doesn’t take long for politics to corrupt them. It unfortunately is the nature of the political beast. Your photos truly show the devastation. I have a lot of trouble with the phrase, ‘fire is natures way of restoring itself’ when people apply it to these devasting fires that have destroyed so much land & affected so many people. We have hiked trails in both the Huachuca & Chiricahua Mountains & that land was in no way in any kind of restoration need. People are often too quick to apply cutesy phrases to situations they know little about!!

    • Hi Al, you’re right, since they do not and probably will not report the cause of the fire, people just don’t get it, then the information stops as new disasters take over. The “news” regarding the cause only surfaces when someone says what caused it—THAT is the news! Not the cause itself, but that someone had the audacity to say it! WTF?

      Politics is disgusting. It takes a potential good person and debauches them.They learn fast how to play the game if they want to keep their status.

      A lady said to me the other day that “god started the fire.” I could accept this explanation had it been lightning. And yes, the land will come back someday, that’s true. But what’s the point if this keeps happening. Most of the fires up there don’t make the news at all until something like this happens. Arizona sure does keep its firefighters busy. Thanks for writing and your support.

  10. My thoughts are still with you everyday, Debra, even though that sounds shallow. Thank you for your pictures and your updates. It gives me insight in what othes have to endure.
    I think of you often. I hope Gracie finds a good home with someone who gives her lots of lovin’ and gets lots in return.
    Take care, now!

    • Char, thank you. That doesn’t sound shallow at all—the support from my blogging friends has helped me so much. There are people here that need a lot more help than I do, but me walking around crying all the time doesn’t help anybody.

      I made an emotional spectacle of myself saying goodbye to Gracie. Jeez I’m a mess, I need to move on. Now if I could just find a home for these two Chihuahua mixes. I just made an appointment to have them neutered. I’ve had just about enough of two dogs with balls in the house.

  11. I didn’t realize that there were three fires. I am in CT and although these fires are far away, they still impact a lot of people nationwide. I have been reading more about it and seeing more support for the people. I wish there was something I could do to help, but I am still struggling myself from the fire I was in. I guess the only thing to do is to raise awareness and get the word out. Good luck and keep me posted. I will be praying.

    • Hi Survivor, what upsets me the most is that these fires will continue to happen. I’m from CT too and couldn’t wait to get out—now I want to leave AZ but it’s not that easy.

      Your blog is fascinating and original—you have a lot of good information. I often think about what I would grab if I had to evacuate in 5 minutes—-obviously the animals and the computers. I wouldn’t have time to collect artwork and other precious belongings. Nothing is backed up online. But I read about people in the path of the Monument fire whose homes exploded from the inside out so sometimes you don’t even have 5 minutes. Best to be prepared. Thanks for writing, appreciate it.

  12. Your photos are phenomenal! I confess my sympathies in something like this seem to go more toward the wildlife that is displaced or worse than for the human possessions. It is truly horrible to see, let alone experience though. When I was in the Army … 30 some years ago, and stationed in Alaska, we did a lot of fire mop up work in the summer. Wild fires in the tundra burn sometimes for years and re-engage as the summer days lengthen, so they send local solders out to check hot spots. Exhausting work! I pray for the fire fighters continually … and for those in the path of the fires. Be safe! Thanks for the updates. Let us know if there’s anything more we can do to help.

    • Thank you Barb. My sympathies are with the animals too, but I wonder if there weren’t homes at risk if they would have worked so frantically to get it put out, and it’s not over yet. I learned the word “helitack” and “hotshot crew” and “slurry” a whole bunch of other new fire-related words. And the “Nomex” that the firefighters have to wear, OMG, it’s SO HOT here already and add the fire to that. I don’t know how they keep from passing out. And I don’t think anyone got hurt—we are lucky to have such professionals on our side. Thanks for writing and your good wishes—people keep saying the forest will recover, the problem is Arizona won’t if they don’t do something about the borders. I didn’t realize Alaska had such a problem with fires.

  13. Thank you Find and Outlet for your compliment. I just finished reading the book From the Ashes by Gina Russo and I have a new appreciation of my fire and what I should be grateful for. The people in the Station Fire had only a few minutes(or less than that) to get out and as a result many died and suffered burn injuries. I have to stay optimistic not matter how hard it is at times. Sometimes by hearing about other people’s situations it helps you keep things in perspective.

  14. this is just an OMG moment!

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