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Getting too close for comfort.. #151779 06/21/21 10:16 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

AZ-260 highway is about a mile north of us. Immediately north of 260 a three day old lightening caused fire has burned right up to the High School. Water bombers are dropping as much as they can trying to diminish the flames, but as parched and dry as the forests are it's a losing battle for the most part.

Evacuations orders for residents north of 260 are in effect. South of 260, where we are, people are on standby. If the fire crosses the highway we'll be ordered out as well. So far the breeze is in our favor, moving smoke and flames to the northeast. If we have to leave we're packed and ready. Hopefully that won't happen. Worrisome to say the least..


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151781 06/22/21 01:35 AM
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Damn sorry to hear. I got caught in Roosevelt a few weeks ago when the Telegraph and Mescal fires came out of nowhere. I had to go up through the reservation and through Safford to get back to Tucson. All the roads were closed. These fires are scary. I'm hoping all is well with you and your family in the coming days.

Bless our firefighters who are dealing with ridiculous heat and aggressive fire behavior this year....

Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151782 06/22/21 03:33 AM
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Wow, sorry to hear about that. Definitely be ready to get out of there, and don't forget the XT and any pets. That area has had more than it's share of forest fires. I've lived in the valley all my life (62 years) and it seems like there have been hundreds of fires up there. At least this one was not caused by someone being careless. I remember the Rodeo–Chediski Fire, which was intentionally started by 2 different people, one a part time firefighter looking for work, and a really stupid lost woman who actually started a fire to attract attention. I rode up to Show Low after 260 was reopened, and the devastation was terrible. And totally human caused.


The above is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
1994/2001 custom built XT225 with a ton of aftermarket parts.



Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151785 06/22/21 01:06 PM
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We'll pray for favorable weather and minimal damage. Hopefully you've got a natural fire-break around your house.


This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151786 06/22/21 03:00 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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UPDATED 06/22: See attached photo below..

We're located in what can be called a natural fire-break, our 1 1/2 acre property lying in an open area on the bank of the large wash that runs from south to north through Buckskin Canyon.

To our west the nearest canyon wall juts abruptly upward to a heavily forested plateau area covered with expensive custom homes. Across Buckskin wash to the east of us that canyon wall rises sharply up to heavily forested areas, once again thick with high dollar homes.

Here on the west bank of Buckskin wash in the canyon bottom we're in an area Mormon pioneers who settled here in horse and covered wagon days called "the flats", rich, level, treeless areas where farming was good, water was plentiful, and the tiny community of Heber took root and grew.

Today Heber/Overgaard (two communities that have grown together as one over the years) is the largest, most economically influential unincorporated community in all of Navajo County. By "largest" I don't mean full time residents wise. Year round there's 'maybe' two to three thousand full time residents in the community, people who keep the lights burning for those who abandon ship when the snow flies and don't show their faces until it's warm and sunny up here again (which translates to "hot and miserable" down in the Valley).

It's not full time residents like us who excite the county, it's the "summer people" who swell our tiny community to overflowing each year that Navajo County is most concerned with. They arrive in the spring with clockwork regularity, bringing much needed economic boosts not just to the H/O community itself, but to the entire county including nearby cities and towns like Show Low, Snowflake, Taylor, Pinetop, Holbrook, etc.

When we have fire in this area, like we have now with summer just starting, Navajo County's board of supervisors are quick to meet and declare a state of emergency, which brings in money and support for fire suppression efforts that otherwise wouldn't be forthcoming nearly as quickly. The Rodeo/Chediski fire that devastated the area 19 years ago, and who's scars remain in plain sight today, taught some tough lessons that Navajo County isn't about to ignore.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
Photo taken looking to the northwest from the Ranger station about 4 miles east of us on 260 as the fire burns just beyond Heber/Overgaard. A Hot Shot fire crew at ACE hardware this morning said the wind has shifted and the fire threatens Overgaard north of the 260 again, with evacuation orders being reissued..

The past two days heavy lift helicopters have been scooping thousands of gallons at a time out of Black Canyon Lake and a couple of other water reservoirs in the area and dropping load after load on the fire as it burns dangerously close to the community itself. A couple of large prop driven fixed wing water tankers have been working the fire as well, refilling in Show Low, 35 miles to the east. There's also a couple of converted 747 jet water tankers that fly out of the Valley fully loaded to dump liquid fire suppressant on the fire as well, making that round trip a number of times each day.

Right now, with everything that's being thrown at the fire so far, it looks as if Heber/Overgaard itself will largely be spared, thanks in large part to Navajo County's board of supervisors declaring a state of emergency to bring in money and resources to fight the fire that otherwise wouldn't have materialized in such a timely manner.

Burning Heber/Overgaard to the ground and losing out on the taxes and income this wealthy "summer home" community brings to Navajo County simply isn't an option, not in this area at least - or so it appears.


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151787 06/22/21 05:27 PM
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George - I hope all goes well and there is minimal damage/injuries. We're in stage I fire restrictions right now. No campfires and no fireworks. Our area is tinder dry. We are getting some haze from AZ and UT fires now. Our fire fighters here do an amazing job when they are called in. June, July and half of August are my least favorite months. Heat, crowds and fires being the most unpleasant. Take care, stay safe and be well.


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Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151788 06/23/21 03:52 AM
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George sorry to hear you have fires in the neighborhood. They are very destructive, even if fire doesn't do damage smoke still will. And then it's months before the smell goes away.

I am sure that the local authorities are encouraging folks to clean out any collected or dense foliage. They do this in Florida before hurricane season. Branches and leaves are missiles in a hurricane and I am sure they are torches in a fire. Very destructive, and somewhat preventable.

I think I have seen more fires in the last few years than I have ever seen before. I know there is a lot to that, one thing is I think the media deems them more newsworthy, so we see more about them. Global warming vs natural cycle... I am not smart enough to know, but I think this summer will see some record fires.

One of the things I have observed is fire restrictions at campgrounds. I talked with some rangers about this a time or two. I couldn't understand why there where fire restrictions shortly after a rainy spell when everything had high moisture and the risk of fire was low. The ranger told me that often times it has to do with the communities ability to fight a forest fire. Resource and budget cuts leave them with reduced capacity. So in order mitigate the effect of a fire they attempt to prevent them. You don't have to pay a fire fighter to fight a fire that never happens.

Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151789 06/23/21 01:47 PM
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There's something to be said for the days of the fire brigade, when a fire was everyone's problem. Everything stopped and everyone jumped in to help, knowing that it might be their house next time. We're too risk averse, too afraid to get our hands dirty, "best left to the professionals" and all that. I'd wager a couple thousand people out working could make a fine fire break in pretty short order. We'll continue to hope for the best.


This shall pass, be still and know.
2006 XT225, UNI filter, ProTaper bars, MSR handguards, SS front brake line, Shinko 241's.
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151790 06/23/21 03:00 PM
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Fires are expensive. We had our 416 Fire here set off by a steam engine running tourists out of Silverton, CO. Irresponsible since the RR had a diesel locomotive they could have used. We knew by early Spring conditions would be tinder dry. Yet the RR decided to operate their more lucrative train. The fire gobbled up $40M before getting under control. The fire fighters did an excellent job and no structures were burned or lost. How they pulled this off is beyond comprehension.

We're pretty tight in our neighborhood with fire prevention, awareness and cooperative efforts. Prevention is the best means of avoiding fires. Most are human caused but we get them started by lightening strikes. In remote areas, helicopters are required for access. It is a job for professionals. Here we're seeing unprecedented levels of dispersed camping, illegal camping and those trying to find truth in the woods. Per usual, this includes an increased number of stupid people that burn fires when they shouldn't and don't extinguish campfires properly. Cigarettes, joints and OHV traffic are other sources of fires.

Educational and awareness materials are out there. But the people that should be absorbing them don't. We thus see our land, property and freedoms go up in smoke. What's frustrating is I see no end in sight.


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Be There or Be Nowhere! A Few Adventures & Video
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: peejman] #151791 06/23/21 03:46 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by peejman
.....I'd wager a couple thousand people out working could make a fine fire break in pretty short order...

FEMA, it now appears, has contractors rolling into Heber setting up what they call an "Incident Command Post" at Capps Middle School, 1/4 mile north of us on Buckskin drive. Heavy equipment, parking lot full of trucks and vehicles of all kinds, semi trailers with food service facilities, toilets and showers, room to pitch tents on the vacant school grounds, everything you'd need to wage a major wildland fire fight -- except for actual fire fighters.

So far less than 100 fire fighters are on scene, and they're still involved in prep work as well, not actually on the fire line. Most of the battle is still being waged from the air with water and fire suppressant drops as they attempt to stem the fire's advance on H/O from the north. Apparently, as additional fire fighters become available, more will show up here. But at the moment it's a lot of 'getting ready to fight this fire' but no where near enough boots on the ground to make any real difference.

The world in which people weren't 'afraid' to pitch in and help with things that affected the entire community, the world our parents, grand parents and long departed ancestors grew up and raised their families in, has largely disappeared. In a small rural community like this, people who've been here forever marvel at how little is actually being done other than water bombing the leading edge of the flames and putting out burned over hot spots. They recall 19 years ago during the Rodeo/Chedeski fire how hundreds of fire fighters and volunteers worked side by side to save a great deal of the community from destruction, and they marvel that such an effort isn't being called upon today.

Talked with Marty, our local shade tree mechanic and life time resident of Heber. He said, "It's sad to see government funded prep work going on while no one's out on the fire line actually fighting the fire. It's like there's money to be made in prepping to do the job, while actually doing it would mean the prep money would dry up and go elsewhere.."

This is so completely different from the response to the Rodeo/Chedeski fire 19 years ago when hundreds of fire fighters and volunteers worked towards achieving a common goal - saving as much of the area and community as possible without standing around waiting for government to tell them what to do..


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
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