Tag Archives: Monument fire

I Get Mail

I received this comment a few days ago from an RVer from Alberta, Canada who claims he knows what’s going on down here (I mistakenly thought he was from New Brunswick, and that too made him mad. Maybe he doesn’t like people from New Brunswick either.)

Author : Peter Harwerth (IP: , stjhnbsu0nw-142167236024.pppoe-dynamic.High-Speed.nb.bellaliant.net)
E-mail : peterharwerth@yahoo.ca
URL :  http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/

Seems like you are areal COWBOY! For your info I have spend every winter since 2005 5 miles from the Mex.Border. So you can safely say i know whats going on down there. I know about the crime and the hate and I know about the stupid AZ-weapon laws and the political campains from law enforcement agencies, just to get more money on the budget for the next year.You guys have a moron as a governor, whois so far stretched out on the right wing that I would not hesitate to call her a NAZI!!!

Do you know that thunderstorms start fires??? It happens in our country all the time. And I am not from New Brunswick, Canada! But an Alberta town got burned to 40% because of a simple lightning! With the dryness in your part of the world it just takes a spark. O, i almost forgot: a simple piece of a broken bottle thrown away 2 years earlier can also start a fire!!! You guys have absolutely no proof that illegals started the fire from the border!!!. But it was very convenient for that Sheriff to throw around his hate!!

Honestly i feel sorry for you guys!

Okay. I’m responding not so much because he’s rude and insulting, but because he’s wrong.

The Monument fire that burned 30,500 acres of one of the most beautiful refuges in the world and left a path of destruction unfinished until monsoon is over (and then for the next century after that) was definitely human-caused. That was officially announced as early as June 17, five days after the fire began. Fire investigators aren’t stupid, fires are their life. They know exactly where the ignition point was, in an area known as “Smugglers’ Gulch” a corridor directly on the border heavily trafficked by illegals and smugglers entering our country in droves. It wasn’t lightning (there was no lightning) and it sure as hell wasn’t a broken bottle. Again, so the facts are straight, the park was closed four days before the fire began and Smugglers’ Gulch is closed to the public at all times.


Just to be sure, I called the Coronado National Forest Supervisor’s office in Tucson and they confirmed it was human-caused, that it’s under investigation, and that’s all the information they are allowed to release. They completely agree that those of us who live on the border are entitled to answers but we may never get further details.

Every cop, border patrol agent, firefighter, park employee and those of us who live on the border who are left with the mess (both physical and economic) from the thousands of illegals who cross into our state every single day—are painfully aware of “what’s going on down here,” but those in law enforcement and politics have a gag order slapped on them.  Since I live here, and this affects me deeply, I ask questions. What they tell you personally is not what the media will print.

I can’t understand why Mr. Harwerth doesn’t drive his RV five minutes further and go stay in Mexico. He seems to hate everything about Arizona except the illegals. The sheriff he’s speaking about, Sheriff Dever, whose territory includes 80 miles of US/Mexico border, was the only person who had the nut to say (and not retract) that it was likely illegals, and I support him. We aren’t racists here. The Arizona border would be a pretty stupid place to live if one was a racist, as the Mexican culture is very strong here. Would racists allow Latino doctors to perform surgery on them? And as far as Jan Brewer being a “Nazi,” that’s a typical hate-filled word people who don’t have all the facts love to throw around, along with “fascist” and “racist.” If Nazis and Fascists had allowed their citizens to be armed there probably wouldn’t have been Nazis and Fascists.

If you don’t get what the problem is, there’s nothing I can say here that will make you understand. Go read.


The Week in My World 7-13-11

It’s been exactly one disturbing month since the Monument Fire began. Monsoon has started and instead of being the joyful respite we all wait for, new horrors have just begun for the people in Hereford Valley as their homes fill with ash and sludge. Everybody’s busy sandbagging their properties and buying flood insurance, which is really expensive.

I’ve received mail from uninformed people calling me all kinds of nasty names, but I write from the perspective of someone who lives here, not a couple thousand miles away. I hate political correctness but I find that many Americans accept it like sheep. It’s a really bad idea to troll blogs and leave aggressive negative comments. Much better to write your opinions on your own blog. If I see a post I don’t agree with, I leave, not start trouble.

But, life goes on. I’ve been highly motivated to clean up my property. I bought this house “as is.” The man who lived here worked in the mines but was completely self-sufficient when it came to taking care of his house and family. Maybe today he would be considered a hoarder. The barn and house were jammed full of every kind of scrap imaginable. We cleared much of it a few years ago, but a lot of it remained exactly where he left it when he died. He saved everything. Literally tons of metal, tires, wood, old refrigerators, half-empty bottles and cans of gooey unknown substances, thousands of parts from obsolete machinery, fencing and rotting hoses for his vegetable gardens. I’ve made countless dump trips and given stuff away. Since I’m scared to death of fires now, I’ve cleared most of the brush. The monsoon will bring new grasses and create new brush, but from now on I’m going to keep up with it. It’s a lot of work but I trust no one.

Something good happened—Gracie, the little tabby I rescued from a foreclosed home, was adopted. I still have the two chihuahua mixes and can’t wait to find a good home for them. I have nine dogs in my little house and it’s too much. People call and make appointments to see them and don’t show up. Other people call and want them for free. Others call with their phone set to “Private” and don’t leave their number. Little kids call. The stupidity, rudeness, and bloody waste of my time is discouraging.

Two confused chihuahuas after returning from the vet to get neutered. Coco and Chico, whose owner died and whose wife dumped the dogs the same day, need good home in southern Arizona. Will deliver.

“WTF? I thought you said we were going to get TUTORED!”

First brood of swallow babies on my front porch light. The parents come back every year and have two broods. I do what I can to keep them safe.

One died in the nest, I don’t know why. The parents couldn’t get it out, so we got a ladder and a pair of tongs and removed it.

If one more person tells me the prickly pears lost in the February freeze will come back, I’m gonna smack ’em.

The Border Patrol were all at the Monument fire for two weeks, now they’re back. Look at this agent on horseback….HOT. I would have liked to move around him and take better pictures, but they’re kind of busy.

Border Patrol bringing in a group less than 100 ft. from my back door. The concept of the BP being ruthless dicks isn’t true. They save lives every day. They are given fluids, taken to hospitals, then sent back.

Poor old guy at the gas station, empty tank and no money. He asked me for a dollar. I gave him my last five bucks.

Our friend Hogan (see Hoarder of History) finally retires his boots.

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.

The Almighty Power of Political Correctness

The Week in My World 6-29-11

My disillusionment with Arizona has left me uninterested in photographing local sights. I see the town differently now, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m trying. I want to love it. But I feel like one does when you’re on the verge of breaking up with someone and all the eccentric behaviors you thought were cute now annoy the shit out of you. I hope to get over this and stick out the relationship, but that tactic has never worked for me before.

None of the “We Buy Ugly Houses” companies will return my calls or e-mails, and who can blame them. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t buy a house here either. I wish the people who wrote to accuse me of racism regarding who started the Monument fire would come down here. I don’t hold it against them though—they remind me of myself when I was a young douchebag. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” If this fire was caused by a smoking rattlesnake or some insane hiker walking through Smuggler’s Gulch, I’ll eat my cheap designer rip-off Stetson. No one, and I mean no one, is allowed to discuss the cause of the fire unless you’re in a soundproof cell with a close friend and you’ve both signed a non-aggression treaty. And that’s what is so depressing. We’re sanitized. Impotent.

So I have no whimsical pictures or quirky anecdotes to share of my home this week. A muzzle has been slapped on my Arizona muse.