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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.


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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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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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Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: peejman] #151791 06/23/21 03:46 PM
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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..
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: peejman] #151792 06/23/21 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by peejman
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.


Depending on where you live, the "fire brigade" may now be against the law.

I live in northern Nevada. Vast expanses of open space, with only a few towns and widely scattered ranches. Used to be if a fire started the ranchers, being closest to the fire, would bring out their big tractors with discs, dozers, etc. and work on cutting a fire line around the fire. After all, it was their ranches in jeopardy. In 2007 a huge wildfire swept through the area where I live and the local fire department asked me to help cut fire line - which I did for two days with my own tractor and equipment, on the public land (BLM controlled) surrounding our area.

That is now illegal. Anyone not "approved" to fight fires by the BLM will be arrested and fined. Any equipment used to fight a fire must have been inspected and approved by a government inspector and a sticker put on the machine to prove inspection. This has caused a huge storm of protest here in Nevada, with several meetings between the local people and BLM/Forest Service agencies trying to resolve this. The Federal agencies are adamant that no one not part of an official organized fire department will be allowed to fight fire on public land. And the policy has caused a big problem. Used to be the locals, as soon as a fire was spotted, would immediately get out there and contain it. Now, by the time the Feds get around to "analyzing" what resources are needed, and then getting those resources out there to the fire, it has gotten too big to control. The Holloway fire on the Nevada-Oregon border burned 700 square miles a few years ago before it was brought under control! The Martin Fire, just north of my place, burned 435,000 acres before containment.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Worshipper of sun and wild country.
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151793 06/23/21 06:00 PM
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UPDATE: As of 10:30 AM 06/23/2021..

Last night, starting just before midnight, soft intermittent rain began falling. Now, closing in on 11 hours later, rain continues to fall off and on. Not heavy, just that after this length of time, as damp as things have become, comparing the infrared map of yesterday's blaze to the remaining tamped down fire we have today, the difference is startling.

Nevertheless, men and equipment continue rolling in, additional tents going up on the school grounds, semi trailers unloading enough food and water to feed an army - the costly 'gearing up' process shifting into high gear while showing no signs of abating.

Supposed to have additional rain as the day goes on. The fire, at just over 7000 acres, is tamped down enough that there's virtually no smoke rising. As cool and damp as it is if they'd put everyone they have available out on the fire line right now, within a day or two they'd have this thing completely knocked down.

It appears however that they may be content with letting the light rain and occasional water bomber continue the actual fire fight, while staging for a massive effort that looks increasingly less likely to be needed moves full steam ahead. Hey, money talks..

Turning things on, then back off again when massive efforts are no longer needed isn't what government does best, regardless of the situation as it was initially perceived to be - something we've all witnessed locally and around the world as the decades have gone by.


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151794 06/23/21 11:44 PM
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4:30 in the afternoon and rain is intermittently pouring down. It's been threatening since about 1:00 PM, sputtering on and off. Now it's coming down hard, at times in torrents, just what we've needed since the fire started. ..Funny though, contractors setting up the staging area at Capps School haven't missed a lick, hauling in load after load of stuff even though rain had begun moving in for real. It'll be interesting to see what happens tomorrow, whether this over the top build up continues or they begin hauling stuff away for use wherever it's really needed..


..FAILURE is not the opposite of SUCCESS, it's part of what makes SUCCESS..
Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Deserteagle56] #151795 06/24/21 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Deserteagle56
Originally Posted by peejman
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.


Depending on where you live, the "fire brigade" may now be against the law.

I live in northern Nevada. Vast expanses of open space, with only a few towns and widely scattered ranches. Used to be if a fire started the ranchers, being closest to the fire, would bring out their big tractors with discs, dozers, etc. and work on cutting a fire line around the fire. After all, it was their ranches in jeopardy. In 2007 a huge wildfire swept through the area where I live and the local fire department asked me to help cut fire line - which I did for two days with my own tractor and equipment, on the public land (BLM controlled) surrounding our area.

That is now illegal. Anyone not "approved" to fight fires by the BLM will be arrested and fined. Any equipment used to fight a fire must have been inspected and approved by a government inspector and a sticker put on the machine to prove inspection. This has caused a huge storm of protest here in Nevada, with several meetings between the local people and BLM/Forest Service agencies trying to resolve this. The Federal agencies are adamant that no one not part of an official organized fire department will be allowed to fight fire on public land. And the policy has caused a big problem. Used to be the locals, as soon as a fire was spotted, would immediately get out there and contain it. Now, by the time the Feds get around to "analyzing" what resources are needed, and then getting those resources out there to the fire, it has gotten too big to control. The Holloway fire on the Nevada-Oregon border burned 700 square miles a few years ago before it was brought under control! The Martin Fire, just north of my place, burned 435,000 acres before containment.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]



Lawyers will be the end of us all. It's illegal for Americans to help other Americans? Only in America.



And, horray for rain!


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] #151796 06/24/21 12:47 AM
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A buddy of mine at Roosevelt is a retired forest ranger and he says they don't fight fires any more, they manage them. It was a policy shift about 15 years ago to allow burnouts and just try to save "values at risk" and let it burn as far as it can. They bring in the Type 1-3 Incident Management Teams when the fire has the potential to threaten multiple "values at risk". As I understand, they want it to burn as much as possible without taking out peoples property. Easier said than done, I say....

Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Deserteagle56] #151797 06/24/21 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Deserteagle56

Depending on where you live, the "fire brigade" may now be against the law.


I think it's better to have well trained, well equipped firefighters fighting fires than me and my neighbors fighting fires. A whole lot safer for everybody and a whole lot more effective. But they must be available. And there are some really good forest fire fighting folks around. But to make it illegal? (rhetorical question)

Values at risk... Having been around the forest agencies these last few years I have learned that fire is not all bad. It cleans out the underbrush and cleanses the land adding nutrients back into the soil. Mother Natures scrub brush. So I can see them targeting man made structures to protect.

Government waste, that's like talking about the number of water molecules in the Mississippi River, a never ending supply for conversation.

Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151798 06/24/21 04:58 PM
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Glad it rained. Every day without smoke is a blessing for us.


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Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: apenland01] #151799 06/24/21 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by apenland01
..A buddy of mine at Roosevelt is a retired forest ranger and he says they don't fight fires any more, they manage them. It was a policy shift about 15 years ago to allow burnouts and just try to save "values at risk" and let it burn as far as it can. They bring in the Type 1-3 Incident Management Teams when the fire has the potential to threaten multiple "values at risk". As I understand, they want it to burn as much as possible without taking out peoples property....

That's exactly what's happening here. If we hadn't had yesterdays rain, which in large measure did the job the Fire Management people weren't doing, they'd still be trying to push the fire away from Heber/Overgaard while letting it burn through areas they'd like to see burned over.

Today there's still a lot of men and equipment in the staging area at Capps School. A few crews from other states pulled out early this morning. Small crews are working left over hot spots, but for the most part this particular fire seems, from what we can see and what's being reported, to pretty much have called it quits. Interesting though, it's listed as of today on InciWeb as just 15 percent contained. But there's no obvious smoke from the fire and the 'Evacuate (GO!)' order for Heber/Overgaard residents north of the 260 and east of 277 was lifted early this morning.

One good thing to report today. As of this morning all state and federal forests and wildlands in Arizona have been made 'off limits' to anyone for any reason. No smoking. No entering these areas for any reason. No camping. No fires, No shooting. No power equipment used outdoors. No activities of any sort that might spark a blaze.

The massive influx of weekend visitors and campers we normally see this time of year has trimmed down to a trickle. Most of those making the trip have places of their own on the mountain. Others are visiting with relatives and friends who own places in the area.

With forests and wildlands closed state wide there's nothing to do up here except walk the dog, sit on the porch, talk, watch movies or play cards. Typical summer time outdoor activities in the high country are off limits until further notice on account of the unprecedented heat, drought, and extreme fire danger we're faced with.

For those who think they'll sneak off to some secluded corner of the woods and no one will know they're there -- the fines and jail time that await them are so steep that the risk isn't worth any possible reward they might have imagined. ..Just sayin..

Last edited by Az4x4; 06/24/21 10:50 PM.

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Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: d2reid] #151800 06/25/21 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by d2reid
Originally Posted by Deserteagle56

Depending on where you live, the "fire brigade" may now be against the law.

I think it's better to have well trained, well equipped firefighters fighting fires than me and my neighbors fighting fires. A whole lot safer for everybody and a whole lot more effective. But they must be available. And there are some really good forest fire fighting folks around. But to make it illegal? (rhetorical question)


Couldn't agree more.

But when the professional firefighters are an hour or more away from the fire, to arrest people who are trying to put the fire out, to contain it before it gets to be a big conflagration while waiting for the pros to come and take over, is ridiculous.


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Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Deserteagle56] #151808 06/26/21 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Deserteagle56
.....when the professional firefighters are an hour or more away from the fire, to arrest people who are trying to put the fire out, to contain it before it gets to be a big conflagration while waiting for the pros to come and take over, is ridiculous...

I agree. But I've never heard of that happening, at least not here.

About a year ago a couple of local residents were out on the rough, untended, rocky forest service 300 'Rim Road', back when the forests were still open to anyone, keeping an eye on possible dangers to the wild horse herds. We've had a number of horses shot and killed in the area, and locals often scout the area on the lookout for anything that poses a possible danger to the horses or forests along the Rim.

These two residents came across a recently abandoned camp spot just off the rough and rocky road itself with the embers of a fire still burning, having been left as is when the overnight campers pulled out. When they rolled up on it the remains of the camp fire had ignited near by grass and brush, and the fire was rapidly growing.

They grabbed shovels and rakes out of the bed of their truck and tackled the blaze with what they had at hand, shoveled dirt and a couple of 5 gallon water containers they had with them. Fortunately they soon had the fire isolated and put out before it did real damage.

Except for their swift action in killing the fire before it took off we'd have had fire on the edge of the Rim that would have spread into heavy timber and headed north towards Heber/Overgaard, blown that way by prevailing winds. Had they simply phoned it in and let 'professional firefighters' worry about it, the small blaze they rolled up on would have been completely out of control before "authorities" of any sort arrived on scene.

No one threatened to have these two 'arrested' for doing what they did in the timely manner they did it. They were praised for their swift action by fire service personnel and law enforcement alike, and rightly so. Unfortunately those who drove away and left their camp fire still burning with hot embers were never located - with is typical of so many who make their way into the woods and pay no attention to the possible impact their actions can have on huge swatches of forest lands and those in the path of the destruction they cause.


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Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151825 06/29/21 06:38 PM
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Looks like our 'summer monsoon' season is gearing up to seriously dump on us, which is welcome news for the dry and sun baked southwest. Arizona has endured a lot of wild fires already this year, with many of them still uncontained. So any relief we may get in the way of monsoon rains will be a blessing, 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] #151827 06/29/21 11:39 PM
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We haven't gotten any rain yet in Tucson, so glad you guys are getting it up North!!

Re: Getting too close for comfort.. [Re: Az4x4] #151836 07/01/21 03:10 AM
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JerryH Offline
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J
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,048
Temperatures have come way down here in the Phoenix valley. But we don't get any rain from the monsoon season. Just a lot of dust storms and a few sprinkles. And while the temperature drops (from 120 degrees in June) the humidity goes WAY up, making it even more uncomfortable. I have trouble breathing in high humidity. It's like trying to breath water. Fortunately, inside the house anyway, the air conditioner deals with that. Aside from cooling things down, it functions as a dehumidifier. There will be a steady stream of water coming out of the condensate drain. And since the actual temperature will be a lot lower, I can turn my thermostat down without burning up my air conditioner. I ran it at 82 through most of June, and it rarely shut off. Once monsoon season starts I can turn it down to 75 and it will be fine, and I will be a lot more comfortable (in the house anyway)

Tucson always gets a LOT more rain than the Phoenix valley. This has to be one of the driest places in the country. It will rain maybe 3-4 days a year here. Most of that during the winter months.


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



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