Monument Fire + Monsoon = Mudslides

Monsoon started about a week ago and so far it’s a strong one. There are various scientific methods used to predict the strength of an upcoming monsoon, but it turns out to be whatever nature decides.

But one thing is certain, and that is when mountain forests suffer major fire damage, natural waterways are not enough to absorb the heavy rains. The water has no place to go but down. On my way home today from Sierra Vista, mudflow had closed roads and I learned after stopping and asking that once again the people who live at the base of the Huachucas were told to evacuate.

Everybody here knows how the Monument fire started, but it has yet to be made official, and likely never will. I honestly can no longer see myself having a life here.

This is what Rt. 92 looks like all along Coronado National Park where the Monument fire burned for two weeks.

Monsoon rain is not like a normal rainy day. It comes in heavy bursts with high winds that can last for hours, stop, then start again. It's usually the best time of the year.

Miller Canyon Road off Rt. 92 was closed and the homes that firefighters saved will be in danger again for the next two to three months.

With the trees gone, mud comes down the mountains.

Natural waterways, called washes, are unable to contain the flow.

Streets flood with mud and debris.

We live near several prisons and often see "cons" doing various work around town. Today they had them making sandbags. The sandbags are loaded into trucks and placed around houses. I asked a con who helped me at the dump the other day what he was in for—two pounds of pot. What a waste of taxpayer money.

Update 7-12-11. Picture from KGUN 9 News. The mudslide was worse than I knew. It ruined homes and this is just the beginning.

27 responses to “Monument Fire + Monsoon = Mudslides

  1. Makes you wonder what next?

  2. is there a different part of the state that isn’t undergoing all this upheaval? Tucson, Phoenix etc? I know very little about the geography of the state but it seems life is continuing normally in other parts of it. I agree that life where you are is not dealable with.

  3. The monsoons should be a time of rejoicing and this year they are a time of tears instead. The mud is incredible. Such a beautiful land destroyed by those who shouldn’t be here in the first place. So very sad.

    • Sandie, thank you. I loved monsoon and looked forward to it each year with great anticipation. I have beautiful pictures of monsoon skies under category ‘Arizona monsoon’. Now I just don’t care.

  4. Wow – the pictures portray tragedy. I’m really sad to hear about those poor families. Your post reminds me of the Appalachia mountaintop removal. It is awful.

  5. White people camp out also. I find it a bit racist that you assume it is the illegals. And yes, I’m white, and I backpack in the mountains. I live on the west side of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest – we get rain all year round, so fires never get big here on the west side. I am truly sorry for your disaster.

    • If you had been following the Monument fire in the slightest way, you would know it started in a border crossing called Smugglers Gulch. You would know that the park was closed four days before the fire started because of hazardous conditions. You would know that they know the exact ignition point, and that no hiker in his/her right mind would “camp out” on an entry corridor on the US/Mexico border which is closed to the public at all times. You would know that fires are sometimes set for diversion, but this one became uncontrollable within minutes.

      Statements like these by naive, uninformed people are why nothing will ever be done about illegal entry into the US. I urge people like you to visit the border, talk to the people who LIVE HERE, and see for yourself. Many cops, firefighters, and border patrol agents are Americans of Mexican heritage. Do you want to accuse them of racism too?

    • Janet – Hmmm – west side of the Cascades? Now I know the west side of the Cascades have very few Mexican illegals. You sound young, and as was stated, a bit naive about this particular situation.
      Perhaps, also as was stated – not only take the time to visit the border towns, but maybe take up residence in one of the border towns for even 6 months. I have a feeling your words would be different here and how you think and feel now would be completely turned upside down. Get a grip on more aspects of life and see it for what it is and not what the media and government wants you to see.

    • Janet, there is no assumption. It is a fact it was started by illegal aliens. The truth is not racist. Although now retired from the Border Patrol, I stay in contact with active Agents that are boots on the ground there. You mention the Cascades. I live in the northwest too. If you are out in the national forests, you best be careful of the illegal aliens growing pot for the cartels on the various national forest lands, polluting the streams with chemicals, setting booby traps to keep people out, and guarding the grows with AK 47’s. Janet, you need to become more aware of the reality of what is happening with our uncontrolled border. Read the M3 Report ( to find out what is coming if the border is not sealed.

  6. I was wondering what would happen if rain came once the vegetation wasn’t there to hold the soil…wasn’t sure when your monsoon season was….I echo the sentiment of “get the hell outta there” before earthquake, plague or pestilence hit…

    • Hi Harry, we were all expecting this and now it’s here. What a mess. Monsoon starts early July and lasts until about September. Wish I could just leave, but my pack is a huge obligation I cannot neglect even for a day. If it were me alone, I would have been outta here a year ago.

  7. the word of me

    Hi D.
    Lots of artists in Tucson…lots of galleries.
    Glad to hear that you’re OK.

  8. Beautiful photographs; sad turn of events..

  9. One disaster usually begets another. Forest fires and then mudslides. Earthquake and then contaminated water and rampant disease. Hurricanes followed by tornadoes. Let’s hope this is the last one.
    Seems like you have made up your mind about your future in this place. There is nothing wrong with closing one chapter and opening another. Think of it as a new adventure! This will take time though.

    • Hi Bill, there’s not much here. The worst problem is lack of work—it overshadows everything else. With no money everything other crisis become 100 times worse, it makes people crazy. The stress of not being able to pay your bills is horrible. I honestly don’t know whether to just let them foreclose on me and just leave. What I’m experiencing now here is worse than CT—couldn’t afford to live there because of insane housing prices, but could always get manual labor. Here, there’s nothing.

      • Sometimes with any crisis and the fall out there is a point of no return. It seems that you have reached that intersection. When there is absolutely no money there is no usually no way out other than to start over. Hopefully you won’t have to go through foreclosure and the ensuing credit hassles. But there are worse things, like driving yourself crazy trying to hang in there. My thoughts are with you.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear this. And it is a huge waste of taxpayer money to lock people up for selling/smoking weed. Alcohol, which is legal, does far more damage in homes and lives than marijuana does… but it’s a political thing after all. If we spent the resources that are wasted on the failed “drug war” on the Constitutionally mandated purposes of government (infrastructure, especially maintaining borders,) then maybe there would be far less crime to begin with.

    • Hi Elysian, I’ll bet most of the cons we see working around town are in for minor drug busts. They wouldn’t let them out if they were dangerous. Yes we pay for their incarceration. It’s a huge expense. Instead they let rapists out early.

  11. Al sent us to see the pictures. Thanks for sharing, and letting us read the comments about our “immigrants.” Our winter home is in Benson (retired 10 years ago, no worry about work, Thank God!) but we’ve been away since before the fires started. Looking forward to going “home” to Benson, but a little leery about looking too far south.

    • Hi Jerry and Suzy, we love Benson because that’s where the trains start. They used to run through Bisbee but no more. They even pulled up the tracks. Prepare for a shock when you travel south. Thank you so much for writing. I envy you your RV life!

  12. I completely agree with that con being in prison for some pot! It truly is a waste, and yet we have others committing far worse crimes who either get off scot-free or who simply get a slap on the wrist. Personally I think we can find something better to do with our money then bust someone for something as ridiculous as some pot. I really enjoy your blog, and admire your willingness to share your honest opinions. Will definitely be checking back!

  13. Hello freshrevelations, I keep reading about dangerous men who get let out and go rape and kill young girls, then you see these guys locked up for weed. The whole system is so screwed. Thank you for your comments, and congrats on your fresh new blog!

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