Saturday Art: Webber Wildfire: A Terrifying Beauty & Fire on the Mountain

Published originally on Saturday June 23, 2012 1:51

(all photos by wendydavis via

The rather small mountain is Menefee; all the photos are from just outside the house or from the window by the table my laptop sits on.  The first one is from yesterday afternoon when the fire really got rollin’.

The plane is the four-engine jet that carried in some slurry; I haven’t checked into it, but it is awesome. Blurry photo; it was pretty far away.

The red one is this morning’s sunrise against very smokey La Plata range; the others are from sometime before noon when the sheriff’s deputy came and told us we had exactly two minutes to get out.  Mandatory Evacuation.  (booo!)

We live below Flintrock, the Mesa Verde sandstone formation you can barely make out in the last two fire photos.

The giant bumble bee on the delphs I just put in cuz I felt like it,  cuz they offer hope…and remind me of moisture, as well as the joy of having some bees come back around.  ;o)

[Update]: As young Elijah is one of the stars of this diary, I thought I’d stick in a photo we’ll call: Four Jas.  ;o)


  1. Crane-Station June 23rd, 2012 at 2:15 pm 1

    Wow! If I did not know it was a fire, I might think it was a volcano!

    Beautiful sunrise, even though it is terrifying.

    How contained is the fire at this point?

    The flower and the bumble bee are spectacular. Thank you and rec’d.

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  2. Blue Onyx June 23rd, 2012 at 2:24 pm 2


    Very apt description. (Bee photo is beautiful).

    Take care, and be safe. Please keep updating (if you can).



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  3. Blue Onyx June 23rd, 2012 at 2:25 pm 3

    Recommended, also.


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  4. wendydavis June 23rd, 2012 at 2:36 pm 4

    Grabbed this from the other diary:

    Oopsie; a few hours ago a deputy sheriff (all crazed and macho-ed up jammed into the driveway, up to the house and said we had two minutes to evacuate. Shit. Said he’d be back to check; I said hell, now I gotta pee, that’ll use up my two minutes. He did not seem to appreciate my humor.


    Mr.wendydavis had just gotten home with the groceries and takeout; I got most of the cold stuff put away. We dashed around grabbing stuff, throwing it into the cloth shopping bags. To say the truth, the first think I packed after my laptop was….the Chinese food! Fuck going into some stupid gymnasium and bein’ hungry. (Almost grabbed a bottle of vokda, but I resisted it, though now I can’t think why, lol!

    We checked in at the school, gave them our address, yada yada…then headed for the park to eat our lunch at a nice recycled plastic table under a tree. A woman walking by the park reminded me of the local Free Press editor; I called her name just in case, and tada! It was she. In town to cover the fire, we swapped info, caught up personal stuff and whatnot. That was great; it had been forever since I’d seen her. (I used to write for them, and they’d use some of my bird and wildlife photos. Pretty grainy pulp, but I’d preen and say mah birrrds wuz on the cover of the Rolling Stone. ;o)

    Made a couple calls to friends who’d offered us refuge just in case, but we found no one answering. Maybe just as well, who knows?

    Anyway, we found a crappy little motel with wifi, and I’m typing at a little table in the corner, almost gagging on the pine bathroom cleaner, lol!

    C-S: if you’re reading, I…er…forgot my crutches, lol! Steve took em outta the car to make room for groceries, and we both walked right by them. Then when we got here, I checked the firebag that I put together six years or more ago.

    GODDAM! A pair o’ jeans for the Mistuh, a few pairs of socks and shorts for him, some fricking leg warmers for me…not much else. Kinda looks like I’d been pickin’ the thing to make room for the Important Stuff, like a giant notebook for of some of the best vintage baseball cards, ya know; like that.

    Maybe we’ll hit the local grocery store later for a couple tourist t-shits or somethin’.

    The fire’s nasty, and they’re expecting the winds to switch out of the east. Highway 160 is closed at the county line since the fire jumped the highway and is heading north there. I was sooo hoping they’d hit the fire early, but as far as I know not one plane before 11 or so. Now, the sky seems full of em, and a few helicopters that must be dipping outta ponds in the bottom of the canyon.

  5. Scarecrow June 23rd, 2012 at 2:36 pm 5

    Great photos, Wendy. Do you mind if the editors use one or more of them if we have other news posts on the various fires?

    also, stay safe.

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  6. wendydavis June 23rd, 2012 at 2:59 pm 6
    In response to Scarecrow @ 5

    Not a bit, Scarecrow. Just heard from our local free press editor; she wants some, too.

  7. Crane-Station June 23rd, 2012 at 3:11 pm 7
    In response to wendydavis @ 4

    Girrrl. You’re weekend’s done gone off the rails! Good Lord. Glad to know you are safe, but man, does that ever sound harrowing.Hoping and praying this does not affect your home. Be careful, without the crutches, and take it easy. Keep us posted.

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  8. wendydavis June 23rd, 2012 at 3:14 pm 8

    We’re temporarily living in the Mesa Verde Motel, and the owner had some crutches a guest had left, lol! She also said she’ll comp part of our bill; how kind is that?

    It’s starting to look as though we have to at least consider a bad scenario. So…being clothes-less, a bunch of other -lesses, I asked Mr.wendydavis to make an attempt to get back to the house and score a few items. He schmoozed the deputy about crutches, Motrin, etc., and he kindly let him through the blockade. So now we have some vodka, tonic, pale ale, couple changes of clothes.. just deleted some of what we don’t have, cuz that’s just stupid to think about.

    And it’s beginning to look like we won’t be able to have Elijah, which is staggeringly sad for us. And will be hard for the li’l Munchkin as well.

    More later if the towers don’t burn down; some folks just said they’re in jeopardy; dunno. Not having *any* communication would suck.

  9. TarheelDem June 23rd, 2012 at 3:22 pm 9

    Outstanding reporting, wendydavis.

    Best wishes to you folks.

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  10. Crane-Station June 23rd, 2012 at 3:23 pm 10
    In response to wendydavis @ 8

    Good to hear you got the crutches and a few things. This is starting to sound serious.

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  11. CTuttle June 23rd, 2012 at 3:38 pm 11
    In response to wendydavis @ 8

    My best wishes, wendy, to you and the mister, that you’re slice of paradise survives the onslaught…! Glad ya’ll are safe…! *g*

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  12. TomThumb June 23rd, 2012 at 3:38 pm 12

    I am listening in. Let us know what is happening and stay safe.

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  13. juliania June 23rd, 2012 at 3:44 pm 13
    In response to wendydavis @ 8

    Second the compliments here, Wendy. You have done an amazing job – these events are happening to so many people these days, and the news simply gives a one liner and moves on. Your reporting is hugely important.

    Don’t worry about missing Elijah – the next time you see him will be wonderful, and you will be there to see him.


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  14. hotflashcarol June 23rd, 2012 at 3:59 pm 14

    Oh blazes, wendydavis, and hellfire. I was soooo hoping for different news by now. You are in my thoughts as I pack, and your courage and grace under fire (sorry about all the puns) is quite inspirational and puts everything in perspective. I’ll still be hoping for a miracle by the next time I check in. Sending you and mr. wd and elijah so much love.

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  15. kgb999 June 23rd, 2012 at 3:59 pm 15

    Yikes chica. Things have gone somewhat downhill since I read your post this morning … and then back up again with vodka and beer, I guess. Although, I have to cop to chuckling a bit at imaging you in a tourist t-shirt and leg-warmers occupying Mancos.

    Hope su casa ends up fine when all is said and done … glad you are safe.

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  16. walkinboots June 23rd, 2012 at 4:26 pm 16

    Holy moly, WD. – I turn my back for a few days and look what you got into!!

    Glad you and Mr. WD have the vodka and brew – essentials, imho, right up there with the crutches and clothes. Keep safe, and hopefully, you will be returning soon to the comfort of your own home.

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  17. wendydavis June 23rd, 2012 at 4:39 pm 17

    Your good wishes are sooo heart-warming, I swear.

    Wish I felt a bit more energetic to respond. Whoosh. What’s important?

    Zero % containment, teevee says 3,000 acres, but that’s just goofy; it’s far larger. There’s a fire information meeting in the park at 6:30, so Stevie will go, and hopefully bring home some Mexican take-away from the new restaurant. Can’t figure out if I’m hungry, but the vodka sure helps me not care as much. ;o)

    Add more irony: the national fire websites I linked for you don’t have the Webber fire up (the doofusses spell it with only on ‘b’, too; sheesh.)

    Can’t remember what I’ve said already. I just went out for a look, and while the view is limited, the relay towers don’t look to be in any peril whatsoever; that’s welcome knowledge.

    Rumors about the cause of the fire are flying, of course, especially because since there have been no storms, not even dry ones, it was obviously human-caused, whether by accident or design…the investigators will be looking into it. Surprisingly, some investigations have actually led to discovering ‘who’ and ‘how’ in many Colorado fires in the past.

    I was just outside havin’ a toke on a cigarette, and struck up a conversation with a woman from New Mexico. She asked if we might like some of her family’s watermelon. I said, yikes, no cutlery, no dishes…she said ‘nver mind’, and just brought part of a melon on a crystal-plastic platter with a big ol’ sword in a sheath to cut it with.
    Damn, folks can knock ya out, eh? ‘Don’t worry about returning the stuff’, she said. My stars. ‘But the SWord!, I said, saying it with the W emphasized. Anyhoo, we kissed, then she wrapped me in a big bear hug, and said she’d pray for all of us. Pretty damned fine.

    Also met another smoker around the ‘L’. (In case y’all are tobacco bigots, you meet the finest people out havin’ a puff, and American Spirit filter-frees are way safer than the macadam fumes I’m breathin’ out there in the 97 degree heat, lol!) Guy and his mother are here from Arkansas; he brought her all the way to visit a sick uncle. Talked to her a bit ago, and she looks like she might go the Great Beyond any moment. He says he’ll bring her back here to be buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery. Pretty righteous son, I’d say.

    Ran into another couple we used to know way back, who live another mile or two farther down the canyon. They are on the other side of the road, but closer to the thick of things for now; she teared up at the thought of losing their place, but knew what was important was that they were alive. All ya can do sometimes is listen, pat someone, and shut up.

    Need a break; this table/chair arrangement’s givin’ me AssCramp.

  18. kgb999 June 23rd, 2012 at 5:00 pm 18
    In response to wendydavis @ 17

    Oh lord. Remember what happened *last* time you talked about having ass-cramp!

    Thanks for the updates.

    If you’re feeling it, swing by home when you get a free minute.

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  19. wendydavis June 23rd, 2012 at 5:00 pm 19

    Oh, and kgb: you sure made laugh over my Occupy Ensemble! I just saw myownself in a full-length mirror, and if ya saw me, ya wouldn’t be faulted for thinkin’ I’m a full-fledged Bag Lady. Bit gimpy, disheveled, no moisturizer, no eye makeup, hair clipped on toppa my head, all frizzed out… LOL! No wonder the dear woman asked if we could like some watermelon!

    The SWord, by the way, is awesome. Ya pull it outta the pink watermelon sheath, and I swear to God: it’s got a green handle, the ‘blade’ is pink, and all decorated with watermelon seeds. Who’d have thought of the likes of that implement? And where do ya purchase such a thing?

    Steve;’s back from the meeting. Later. ;oP

  20. wendydavis June 23rd, 2012 at 5:33 pm 20

    Ay yi yi, do I remember what happened!

    Bootsie: I came accidentally armed with a pretty well-equipped Swiss Army knife, always figure one should be prepared…in case one runs into a beer or a bottle of wine. A nice bit of string is always handy as well.

    Incident Commander said they’ll be switching to a Type II incident team and commander (one notch under ‘most sire Type I’. Between the lines he said that the engine and hand crews are defending Millionaire Acres in East Canyon, but he also said no structures have been lost, and that the highway was never closed.

    He named the resources, and said it’s being treated as a nationally major fire, and that at last reckoning 5000 acres had burned. Usually when they get some aerial images the number increases.

    No hope of going home for the foreseeable future, and he reminded the 200+ folks listening *not to break the roadblocks because you will be arrested!* I believe it.

    Zo, I am zo glad Mr.wendydavis scored us the extra comforts from home (just discovered while he was gone that he’d stuck some brownies and oatmeal cookies from the freezer into one of the bags.)

    Hope y’ll are doin’ well, and thanks sooo much for the good vibes and thoughts.


  21. mafr June 23rd, 2012 at 5:48 pm 21

    My stars.

    last person I heard use that one was my grandmother.

    you have a lot of guts.

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  22. mafr June 23rd, 2012 at 5:49 pm 22

    sure is beautiful there.

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  23. kgb999 June 23rd, 2012 at 6:25 pm 23
    In response to wendydavis @ 19

    And where do ya purchase such a thing?

    I dunno … maybe here? It sure sounds close.

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  24. CTuttle June 23rd, 2012 at 6:42 pm 24
    In response to wendydavis @ 20

    …Between the lines he said that the engine and hand crews are defending Millionaire Acres in East Canyon…

    They know who butter their bread, eh wd…?

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  25. Crane-Station June 23rd, 2012 at 7:09 pm 25

    Mother Ship!

    Glad you were able to lay in the essentials: oatmeal cookies and brownies!

    I’m gonna go roost because the parrot said, “Go roost,” but Mason and I have you in our thoughts.

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  26. CTuttle June 23rd, 2012 at 7:09 pm 26

    Congrats, wendy-o…! Front paged…! *g*

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  27. wendydavis June 23rd, 2012 at 7:13 pm 27

    Just lost the comment; can’t do it all again. Sorry.

    Thanks for finding the knife,kgb; it’s the exact one, and expensive. I’ll sure get it back to her in the mornin’. She made out as though it were…nothing.

    Yeppers, they do know, Tuttle, and they know who screams to loudest if their McMansions burn.

    Yeppers, it’s beautiful here; Mesa Verde Park is just to the west. Same rock formation as Flintrock.

    Sleep tight if I don’t get back tonight. Town is blanketed in smoke, can’t see the high peaks or Menefee any more.

  28. tejanarusa June 23rd, 2012 at 7:39 pm 28

    Whew. Those are some photos – terrifying, indeed (except maybe for the bee on the flowers). Great photos.

    I’m kinda afraid to ask who Elijah is…hope it’s not an animal you had to leave behind!

    I can’t imagine having to leave everything and possibly lose it all. I’m way too attached to stuff, I know. No question lives are far more important. Glad you’re safe..hope it doesn’t take too long to get the fire out and you can get home.

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  29. Blue Onyx June 23rd, 2012 at 7:48 pm 29


    Elijah is her very young grandson. She’s had to “leave him behind,” in the sense that she and her daughter had to cancel “meeting half way,” so that Elijah could visit with wd and Mr. wd.

    As an animal lover, myself, I can appreciate your concern. I always think of the fiasco that was New Orleans, when I hear of another natural disaster.


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  30. shenebraskan June 23rd, 2012 at 8:17 pm 30

    I used to live in Durango, and the last time I visited Mesa Verde (2007) I was very struck by the extent of the devastation from earlier fires. Watching Channel 9 News from Denver right now, as there is no local NBC affiliate, and it sounds as if there are now fires all over Colorado.

    Western Nebraska is not in much better shape, drought/temperature/wind-wise, but we have mostly grass and not forested canyons that can burn.

    I wish you all the best.

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  31. HotFlash June 23rd, 2012 at 8:33 pm 31


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  32. tejanarusa June 23rd, 2012 at 8:33 pm 32
    In response to Blue Onyx @ 29

    Thanks, and whew.

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  33. Blue Onyx June 23rd, 2012 at 9:05 pm 33
    In response to tejanarusa @ 32

    You’re welcome.


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  34. Blue Onyx June 23rd, 2012 at 9:08 pm 34


    Will be doing serious “traveling” tomorrow, but will check for your updates here.

    I hope this nightmare ends for all of you very soon. Take care.


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  35. FeetToDaFire June 24th, 2012 at 1:58 am 35

    Thanks Wendy for the news updates and the beautiful and scary pics. Sorry you’re going through this. I am in NM for the next week or so before I go back to the Philippines. Big fires here also. So much drought NM, TX, AZ, CO, and more. Climate change? Nah… just coincidental random events. Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket… freakish random events.

    Stay safe. Might as well head to someplace that’s not so smokey. I’ll add my thoughts to the huge pile of thoughts that many others who care about you are thinking.

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  36. Marion in Savannah June 24th, 2012 at 3:01 am 36

    Wendy, our prayers are with you. Hope your place is safe, and that the fire is contained quickly. (((hugs)))

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  37. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 3:21 am 37

    Please forgive me for not trying to answer ya individually, and thanks so much for the concern. prayers, and yummy thoughts.

    Sounds as though everyone’s place is safe for now, and it may be that the wind is what will determine the future. Found some photos in the Cortez Urinal of the McMansion Protection Detail. Cool one, too, of the slurry-bombing of the communications towers at the far north end of Menefee.

    The Herald has some cool photos in this slideshow.

    I’m gonna see if I can figure out the miniature coffee maker without turning on a light. ;o)

  38. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 4:33 am 38

    No doubt every person evidences life stress in different ways, but when I woke up this mornin’ and thought about the fire bag bein’ full of baseball cards instead of any practical wendydavis clothing, I snarked to myself, ‘Well, ya never know when ya might need a clean 1959 Topps Don Drysdale.’

    And the thing is…I never even liked Drysdale; prolly put his cards in my bike spokes. Crazy woman.

  39. Kassandra June 24th, 2012 at 5:04 am 39

    The whole Southwest is burning up. Here in NM we just had a Bosque fire (somebody partying, they think) that ate up about 200 acres. That’s some pricey real estate over there and they got it out REAL fast.
    I don’t know whats going to happen this fuukin’ 4th when the morons have to play war.
    But my county and the city have banned them and put fines on anyone shooting them off.

    I WILL call the cops, but they always seem too busy to get down to my little neighborhood of shacks and po’ peoples. But we do have McMansions down the road.

    Last year was worse, the smoke was all over the state from that wildfire on the AZ/NM border.
    I blame BP for it all….well and chopping down the Amazon for cows and sawgrass. THAT didn’t help at all.

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  40. Obey June 24th, 2012 at 6:00 am 40
    In response to wendydavis @ 38

    You do realize a Don Drysdale rookie card is worth about 10 watermelons, dear?

    That’s one precious firebag you’ve got there! lol

    Glad you’re safe, and praying your lovely house doesn’t get damaged!!

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  41. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 6:10 am 41
    In response to Kassandra @ 39

    The Bosque always burns, doesn’t it? Moisture for growth, then dry, dry, dry. Like California.

    New fire in Bondad, too, near the border as I remember. And a biggie west of C. Springs, the Waldo fire. Just talked to Elijah’s mum, and she said Manitou Springs has been evacuated. Turns out, loads of places in the vicinity have been. I can see Manitou; it’s steep, tucked into a forested area…

    But Mr.wendydavis came back with coffee a bit ago, and the store owner said that the local businesses have received ‘pre-evacution notices’ for the entire town of Mancos. That’s fucking crazy nonsense. Talk about liability ass-coverin’ gone stupid.

    The High Park fire NW of Fort Collins blew up again; it’s up to 90,000 acres burned, 190+ houses. Dunno how the Gila Forest fire in NM is going, but sooo many places in the Four Corners states are bad. Texas was earlier.

  42. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 6:30 am 42
    In response to Obey @ 40

    Got me giggling with that one, darlin’ Obey. Just finished the watermelon for brekkie, washed the plastic crystal platter and the Watermelon SWord to return.

    But now ya got me wonderin’ if there’s any way to not sound like a whack job if I ask Watermelon Woman if she or her uncle (she was loading a wheelchair in the back of her SUV when we met; prolly his) have some affinity to Drysdale, lol!

    My luck, if she serendipitously said ‘Oh my god, yes’, I’d paw through the book only to realize that he’s not in this particular book. Arrrggh! Yep, count on me to bag a mean firebag. But hey; I snagged the Chinese lunch.

    I dunno; guess I’m reckoning the house will survive, but if we don’t get back today…the garden won’t. But…so it goes… ;o)

    Love to ya in Sweezerland, dear.


  43. bittersweet June 24th, 2012 at 6:41 am 43

    Wendy, I literally laughed out loud and spit my coffee when i read what important contraband Mr. wendydavis fetched from the endangered house! Vodka and pale ale!? You certainly have your priorities straight! : )
    I grew up with everything burning in southern California, so my my heart is with you. The fire crews really do a miraculous job saving homes, and the vegetation really does need the fire to propagate. I will be willing this scenario for your home, that the fire will stay where you left it, and you will be home soon!

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  44. Obey June 24th, 2012 at 7:04 am 44
    In response to bittersweet @ 43

    Vodka and pale ale!?

    LOL! Yeah, my first reaction was “whew! at least he remembered the vodka!”

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  45. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 7:05 am 45
    In response to bittersweet @ 43

    Than you, bittersweet, and again…to all of you. And hell; right now I am soooo grateful not to be livin’ in the school gym. Ish. ;o)

    Just spoke to the motel owner about his comping all us refugees, and we reached an equitable accord on what we’d pay. Mr.wendydavis said he’d gladly do some chores; the owner laughed, but declined. Here comes the first slurry plane of the day.

    Da house…and… Da Ja; welll.. four Jas. I sent him this diary (well, his mum) so he could see why he can’t come just now; he says next week will be fine, grammy.

    Oh, and bittersweet, we have (ahem) neglected to tell our son about all this, fearing that it would stir the Hotshot in him, and he’d drive down here to do…well, not much he can do, lol, without getting put in jail. Sons; sheesh. ;o)

  46. sunmusing June 24th, 2012 at 7:46 am 46

    Hey WD. I’m feeling for ya. I know what is like to be on the wrong side of a wall of flame as it headed to my home. I fought it with the volunteers from our local Fire Dept. I worked for days to get back into my house. We were lucky…The next large fire stopped at the old burn. I hope all goes well for you.

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  47. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 7:54 am 47
    In response to Obey @ 44

    Welllll…he actually called here when he got into the house; I added a few items, and had to make a bit of a case for the vodka, the main point being that we didn’t know how long we’d be refugees. Tada! That worked. (And I didn’t really wanna say I asked him to snag a bra and a nightshirt off the hooks behind the door. Ya know? ;o)

    Mr. Motel gave us a little sprayer house for the tub/shower thingie so I could wash my hair. Two feet of dishelveled hairs were drivin’ me wild; can ya believe I forgot a hairbrush??? Could use some moisturizer, but we all look a bit…prunish here. It’s been raining ash, of course, which contributes to a certain haute hairstyle look…

  48. Blue Onyx June 24th, 2012 at 8:57 am 49


    This’ll be short–traveling, using smartphone.

    Here’s a tune that is the most fabulous rendition of Mr. Bojangles, that I’ve ever heard.

    Absolutely made for “crying in your beer (or vodka).”

    “May I introduce the “High Priestess of Soul,” with the incredible alto, tenor and baritone range, none other than the legendary (in Europe), Nina Simone.”

    Enjoy wd and Mr. wd!

    Mr. Bojangles, Nina Simone

    Take care.


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  49. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 9:08 am 50
    In response to Obey @ 48

    Eggzackley like us! Especially if ya add the ash frosting…and substitute ugly shorts fer me…

    It’s prolly my imagination that after I just dried my hair, the grey seemed to have spread past the temples…. Nah; prolly silly of me, right?

    (Got email from Miguel asking whassup with da fire.)

  50. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 10:04 am 51

    Bad news on the fire front. It’s now burning downhill (rare, except with zero% humidity, insanely low moisture levels in the fuels, tra la la) below Flintrock, and at the northernmost end of Menefee. One cell tower’s out (several neighbors here at the motel use AT&T, the inoperable one). Verizon’s still up, and the motel uses a fiberoptics system, so wifi should stay up here.

    The flames coming (again) down the mountain are so high and are reflecting in the plumes so strongly that Mr.wendydavis’s shirt was striped with bands of shimmering orange and blue. On his way to the incident report public meeting, he’s asked the deputies at the roadblock if he might get back to water the garden, etc. They said maybe. He also just realized that we’d neglected to turn of the propane tanks, though I really don’t know if the place does burn, if that would make an huge difference.

    So. We discussed his trying to get back in, and since I know that I’d be a liability since I can’t move quickly, I said I’d stay, but that he’d need to make a decision based on what he saw, not anything to do with any emotional connection to the place or the contents. He agreed wholeheartedly, as all good husbands always should. ;o)

    In any event, we made a very short lists of things to snag to make life easier until we can return, and if there were time, to grab a couple of the large photo montages I’ve made with family and friends photos.

    We decided to leave the instruments, the heirlooms, whatever valuables…and get him the hell outta there fast, if they indeed let him in. I wish I were hearing more planes in the air.

  51. juliania June 24th, 2012 at 10:49 am 52
    In response to FeetToDaFire @ 35

    The one that gets me is ‘poor forest management – we should do more controlled burns.’

    Really? You don’t remember the Big Dome fire that took out four or five homes in Los Alamos and had folk evacuated for a month or more? That one was a controlled burn that got away, kept heading north the entire summer long.

    They just can’t say ‘climate change’ – it’s the “c-c” word. Nope, even now with fires all around us, not gonna, not gonna. Let’s just do a bit more ‘el nino’ and ‘la nina’ and ‘monsoon’ – innocent sounding stuff like that there.

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  52. juliania June 24th, 2012 at 10:56 am 53
    In response to shenebraskan @ 30

    Oh, grass can burn too, faster than a gullywasher. Don’t let your guard down, shenebraskan. We have both forest and grass fires and neither one’s survivable if you are in the way. (And by the way, I’m all for the kind of controlled burn firelines the brave guys tediously work on in the heat and smoke day after day – it is just the deliberate setting of a fire when there’s non out there that I just think is asking for trouble.)

    I’ve heard a wonderful suggestion about ramping up the use of goats to take out excess undergrowth, which we get from the earlier and earlier spring warmups. To my mind that would be SUCH a super government work program – men and women camping out with goats – what could be finer? I just love goat cheese.

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  53. juliania June 24th, 2012 at 11:10 am 54
    In response to wendydavis @ 51

    Yes, they can go downhill, hungry beasts. Garden woes remind me that I was working at a plant nursery when Los Alamos got evacuated. It was win-win for us that summer as we saw a lot of those folks coming in for plants once they could get back in. (We were good guys and gave them a sizeable discount and other perks I can’t remember.)

    Our CBS affiliate covered your fire, Wendy, on the late evening news, so I got to see a quick panorama of your area, could key in the photos somewhat. It looks green and lush compared to us here, so hopefully that will hold off the flames. If you have a flat roof and hubby is there late afternoon early evening he could block the canales and flood it – that’s what I did (unnecessarily as it turned out but I felt better) last year during our seige.

    Can’t think of anything else except – stay safe!

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  54. greenwarrior June 24th, 2012 at 12:02 pm 55

    wow! well, glad you’ve got the vodka. that is, if there’s any still left. sending hair conditioning vibes your way!

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  55. shenebraskan June 24th, 2012 at 12:04 pm 56
    In response to juliania @ 53

    There have been several large ones so far in the western Nebraska panhandle. The real fun should start on Monday, when the state allows fireworks to be sold and blown up until the 4th of July. Nary a suggestion heard about maybe cancelling or limiting this insanity due to the dry conditions. Fireworks dealers have to make their money, and the state and local governments want the sales tax revenue.

    I lived in SW Colorado too long, I guess. Fireworks were never legal in Durango when I lived there, although one did hear a firecracker from time to time. There was the “big show” at the Fairgrounds on the 4th, and that seemed to be plenty for most folks. By the time we get to the Jaycees’ show at the community college here, I am too shell-shocked to want to go, and all the pets are traumatized as well. There is usually a bigger show in the neighborhood, and it lasts until midnight. Good news is I don’t have to work the next day. Bad news is I probably need to be out in the yard with the hose ready to go.

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  56. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 12:09 pm 57

    Mr.wd’s back safely, snagged us some food, first today…ahhhh sweet belly relief. ;o) He said engine crews and copters are working the line above the last dead p/j forest before our place, and they were holding down the flames incredibly well. Raining black ash now; must be the difference in the fuels.

    He watered the garden as an act of faith, and fed the birds, lol. The big plume is down, there is actually some blue sky to the north and west; zounds!

    If the wind behaves, we might be home tomorrow. They haven’t let one structure burn yet; that’s amazing. I need some sleep; will check back later.

    And yes, juliania, though the snow in the mountains is gone, we did have some early river water, and are receiving portions of our lake water. But blocking the ditches can get ya shot around here, as it could in Truchas. ;o)

    love to all of you,

  57. TarheelDem June 24th, 2012 at 1:20 pm 58

    Now Waldo Canyon, near Colorado Springs. Evacuations in Teller and El Paso counties, according to a string of tweets.

    Hoping for you folks that the wind behaves.

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  58. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 2:27 pm 59

    Ah, fookit. Took a rest for an hour, and when I got up all hell had broken loose again. Mr.wd drove out to see what he could see, and they lost the forested hill second to the east of us. Skycranes (or mebbe one crane, one dipper, are doing non-stop runs to try wet down the fifty foot flames. It’s spread all the way north on the mountain, and the motel manager just stopped by to say that he went home a few miles to a higher elevation to the north. What he reported was that there are plumes all over the valley now, must be pop-up from embers smoldering, then blowing up.

    The wind is erratic as all giddy-up; weather vanes must be going berserk. The plume is again enormous: high, wide, orange and black and moving rapidly one way, then another. It is seriously frightening to see a power that can’t be tamed with the available resources and tactics.

    We lost a lot of our air support, apparently, when it was designated a Type II fire. From what I understand (caveat, caveat) that meant resources had to be shared with other dire fires.

    The PR person for the FS in Duango said they are so understaffed they haven’t been able to get the Webber fire on INCIWEB, but will try to soon. The Durango Herald reports that all of the heavy tanker air support went to Utah and other CO fires.

    We have dedicated hand and engine crews, 2 skycranes…luck and prayer.

    Thanks THD, greenwarrior, sunmusing, Blue, and all others. I’ll keep in touch. Oh: Mr.wd’s cell service is now intermittent; I hate that. Seriously.

    Love to all of you here; and God Save the Queen. Oh, no; I got confused fer a minute.

  59. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 2:28 pm 60

    Bugger; got new photos, but we forgot to bring the flash uploader or whatever that thingie’s called. ;oP

  60. kgb999 June 24th, 2012 at 2:47 pm 61
    In response to juliania @ 52

    I have friends in Los Alamos, visited soon after the big fire. The way some houses burned in parts of town while leaving next-door neighbors unscathed – seemingly at random – was creepy.

    I can tell you this, up here in the northwest a century of 100% suppression policy by the NFS created a situation we’re still trying to get under control. They were just shifting to more burns and cleaning units (they make big piles of excess consumables in the spring to kill time and get in shape before fire season starts kicking in, and then torch ‘em by helicopter after first snowfall) when I moved up here and the impact on wildfires in the area seems to have been significant. The big dangers are now the wilderness … especially the deep bits. There’s so much accumulated crap, letting it burn goes right to the tree crests and torches the forest while not letting it burn just accumulates more crap for next time. In addition there are restrictions on motorized saws and serious access issues that make cleaning damn difficult. Suppression has made a bloody mess of our forests.

    Fire is a force of nature. Even when accommodating it’s needs and properties, it is *going* to burn. Refusing to let it do so under as much control as possible and allowing consumables to accumulate only makes the inevitable infinitely worse when it does happen. Global warming doesn’t change that, if anything it makes consumables management that much more important.

    Controlled burns get a lot less dangerous after all the consumables built up from irresponsible policy are removed. I certainly hope the NFS is smart enough to capitalize on the upside of the tragic situation of that huge fire and maintain conditions in New Mexico intelligently. I’m pretty sure there aren’t enough goats on the planet to handle the job – certainly not in America – and goats don’t eat grown trees. I can see them as a useful and creative piece in a wider management strategy – but a small one. A team can swamp a whole mountainside of grass and bramble (or forest), leaving the proper amount of live brush to maintain healthy ecosystem, pile the waste and tarp it in a couple of days … and then torch in in the wet season. Where access is feasible, that seems a lot quicker than goats.

    I do know this; desperately trying to cut a line in front of a raging inferno in the dusty heat of summer seems to be the *worst* possible time and way to schedule firefighting. We aren’t getting rid of all the organic material our planet (or even the America part) produces every day without burning some of it where it lie. The only question seems to be when those burns will occur.

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  61. kgb999 June 24th, 2012 at 2:51 pm 62
    In response to wendydavis @ 60

    You should see if any of your new-neighbor smoking buddies has one (or a usb cable with the right plug) … they’re damn near ubiquitous these days.

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  62. kgb999 June 24th, 2012 at 2:52 pm 63

    The PR person for the FS in Duango said they are so understaffed they haven’t been able to get the Webber fire on INCIWEB, but will try to soon. The Durango Herald reports that all of the heavy tanker air support went to Utah and other CO fires.

    Yay Austerity! Jamie Dimon 2016!!!1!

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  63. Crane-Station June 24th, 2012 at 3:25 pm 64

    Still thinking about you, Wendy. A raging fire sure is a slow motion natural disaster. Sounds awful, and dangerous, be safe and hope you can share those pictures.

    If your new-friend neighbors have a pink and green watermelon knife, they are sure to have a doo-hickie so you can upload pictures!

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  64. mafr June 24th, 2012 at 3:30 pm 65


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  65. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 5:00 pm 66

    Sweet Jayzus; I didn’t find any hardware to upload pixs around my new community, but the Mistuh grabbed my laptop’s speakers outta window last time he sneaked home…and I HAVE MUSIC BACK! I’m embarrassed to say I’m bawlin’ like a baby in relief. How does anyone get through hard times…or even ordinary times (the ‘new ordinary’ at least) without music to bathe their souls, express their pain and longings; shout their outrage, breathe their sighs of relief and recognitions of shared humanity…how? Bring them faith hope yearnings for better allow them to dream big pierce their hearts and mend them again?

    That they’ve been in this little room for two hours, and other communication needs and info seeking took precedence…almost shames me about how far I was for ‘taking care of myself and Mr.wd’ as you all implored us. As luck (heh) would have it, the first two up were ‘I wish it would rain‘ (Nancy Griffith) and ‘This House is on Fire’, a fave, (Natalie Merchant; metaphor only).

    The past hour we got a bit of slurry support (SEATS) and I swear to gawd ya can’t (well, I can’t) cheering out loud.

    The fire’s just runnin’ outta mountain on the north end, and if they contain the line they’re workin’ so hard to defend on the west…it may all be good. Hard to say what else is happening down the canyon, but they seem to have stopped it from crossing the county road to the west; that’s a great bit o’ news. Couple families here live west of the main road (well, ‘local’ main, that is. Two lanes’ worth of tarmac. ;o)

    Mr.wd’s gone to the community meeting, hopes he gets good info from the new guy (or girl, but…prolly not).

    Losin’ it a bit; can’t remember what I’ve told whom, whom I heard what from…guy from the Herald interviewed me and at some point I did a whole double-take when something he asked made me stop and figure out (with his help)…that all this has happened in not more than 30 hours. Just mind-boggling, so dislocating. My senses are off somehow, and…a few others here have reported similar odd-bodkins off-kilter cognition…just not the normal flow. As though figuring out ya might be hungry, but what the hell do ya do about it…?

    I know. It’s a little bit like someone has died, and shifting that knowledge into your awareness takes some effort, and new ways of doing things, thinking things…then add in that you’re in a new spot, so much up in the air… Ah, shut up woman, anyway. :oP

    C-S: love the idea that watermelon knife translates to photo flash uploader, lol! Mebbe we can sneak back, or…mebbe we’ll be goin’ home tomorrow. Mr.wd told me to tell ya that I’m Tawanda-fied on this one. Hope he’s right; tryin’ my best to hold onto The Light and The Love, and let the fear pass over..and want to pick something to eat from the P&D grocery/deli menu, lol!

    (Frick; did you guys know how expensive it is to eat out? I’m blown away. Cortez Chinese take-away is sooo inexpensive comparatively.)

    Sorry to ramble; so much input, so slow at digesting it all makes for Bad Blogging. Good thing I’m cute as the dickens, isn’t it, and have the fashion sense of a Bag Lady, BUT: with a dazzling smile? Think it must be time for a vodka/tonic. And more music. ;o)

  66. juliania June 24th, 2012 at 5:26 pm 67
    In response to wendydavis @ 57

    I hasten to correct, before I get hauled off to the local jail, or mysteriously vanished in the night by the ditch brigade, that I in no way was suggesting you block ditches, dear Wendy!

    No, my canales here are not canals but the downspouts that jut out over our flat roofs. I was suggesting to put a bit of cloth there and water with a hose (I actually did this) to a maybe 2″ depth (not to collapse the roof) so it would stay damp overnight. I slept well knowing my roof at least wouldn’t be catching fire.

    But I’d better pipe down with my attempts to distract – some folk are taking me rather too seriously. I mean, my goats were just a flight of fancy – but that Big Dome fire did start from a controlled burn out here, so I’m a bit antsy about that.

    However, I freely admit, I know nothing whatsoever about the hard work fire crews do, except that it is hard, and more power to them because it has to be hellish work.

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  67. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 5:48 pm 68
    In response to juliania @ 67

    LOL! I didn’t know what ‘canales’ were; so sorry for my error. Please if you can, go to the first post on my site, leave a comment, maybe an address. I have news to share privately. Or if that doesn’t suit, I’ll leave the news for you.

    Feds said that no houses/structures burned even today; simply astounding news given that amount of raging fire. The entire mountain burned on both sides according to reports, but i will green up bit by bit. Oops; dinner sammies just walked in the door. ;o)

  68. walkinboots June 24th, 2012 at 5:54 pm 69

    I hope you can grab some sleep tonight,WD, though I am sure it would elude me, were I in your position. Unless, of course, I made liberal use of the vodka. ;0

    If there are wind gods I hope they decide to be congenial.

    Stay safe.

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  69. greenwarrior June 24th, 2012 at 6:41 pm 70

    i’ve got me fingers crossed for you overnight. g’nite wendy and mister wd.

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  70. wendydavis June 24th, 2012 at 7:41 pm 71

    We went outside to take a look, hoping that this fire had finally decided to bed down for the night. There were some clouds roaming around; hard to say if they were sort of aggregates of smoke…or what. But it had gotten still… But now, with a slight breeze, the northern end has blown up again, and in numerous locations,especially in the vertical cuts that act like wind tunnels, the mountain is lit up like a million roman candles. The flames are peaking at 100 feet easily, and while your eyes focus on one area, another comes alive.

    I’m convinced that this fire’s behavior is so extreme that folks will autopsy it at length in days to come. The feds agreed that the damned thing just doesn’t wanna lie down at night. Fire Tantrums, maybe.

    Gonna try to sleep; again, thanks everyone for the good thoughts for us and our neighbors.

    Motel neighbors Tim and Sara get to go home tomorrow. After reading this thread, Sara crept over and put a bottle of aloe vera moisturizer on our little table outside. What a dear soul and brave she is; and a good hugger, to boot. ;o)

    G’night all. Ain’t life a curious thing?

  71. wendydavis June 25th, 2012 at 4:25 am 72

    Mornin’, all.

    I slept until five, which is unusual, but I still feel that hollow, dry way that you may have felt while you were camping and didn’t sleep soundly. Maybe your eyes were dry from the campfire smoke, and ya’d felt every lump under your sleeping bag, causing ya to roll over a dozen times restlessly. Ya wake in the mornin’ wantin’ some coffee, and bloody hell, ya have to start a new fire for that to happen. Remember the kinda jittery feeling? Cold and hot together, a mite cranky even though you’d been treated to a night watching the stars, or even a meteor shower, ya ingrate? Yeah, that’s it.

    This bloody fire is still alive. No blanket of smoke lying over it, but high orange clouds made diffuse by wind. The wind’s from the west, and was apparently strong enough to blow away most of the sticky ash on the sidewalks. (The motel manager was stressing over the messiness of it yesterday, wanting to vacuum it up with some machine he has, but realized the futility, and resisted.

    I’ve learned that I can abide black crap motel coffee when I have to, lol. And I’ve re-learned that the Steppenwolfe was right: one of life’s higher callings might be to make war on vehicles. Living next to US 160 for a couple nights has reaffirmed my distaste for vehicles in general, and in particular the ones drivers make and drive to effect maximum sound-annoyance especially. Curse you, you asshats!

    Just spoke to the man next door (and his adorable blonde lab) whose house (maybe ‘second home’) was not far from the spot that wend so wild late last night. My guess is that some of those firefighters worked all night long protecting it and any others right there.

  72. hotflashcarol June 25th, 2012 at 6:05 am 73

    hi wendydavis – got your email last night and nearly cried. I had had what I thought at the time was an extra crappy moving day – some sort of cold or allergy that means I move one box, blow my nose, start to move another, blow my nose, huff and puff and bitch and moan. But I’m not sitting in a motel waiting to hear whether my house and my memories and my garden survived. So there’s that.

    Don’t know how much time I will have internet today but I will be checking in as I am able; probably by lunchtime we’ll be gone and I won’t be able to get back online until Tuesday night.

    I am keeping you in my thoughts, my dear friend. Thank you for being so amazingly entertaining even in the midst of such awful worry and anticipation. I hope you know how much we all love you, and that we’ll all be here for you no matter what happens.

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  73. mafr June 25th, 2012 at 6:58 am 74
    In response to wendydavis @ 72

    Hi wendy.

    We spent a night in a motel room that was about one hundred feet from one of the main train routes through the interior of B.C. a bit loud, but, not too bad. (lol)

    I hope things improve today.

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  74. mafr June 25th, 2012 at 6:59 am 75

    ” still feel that hollow, dry way that you may have felt while you were camping and didn’t sleep soundly”

    such as when your sleeping in a tent in grizzly country, and something large brushes up against the tent. (near glacier park)

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  75. wendydavis June 25th, 2012 at 7:01 am 76
    In response to hotflashcarol @ 73

    I’m so sad you’re sick while moving; that has to suck bigtime.

    The hardest past here may be the incredible rollercoaster of hope turning to anxiety/fear and back again. Soo many sirens and emergency vehicles this morning, some heading to the east, a whole lot of pumper trucks and engines goin’ down the canyon. Guess it blew up again 3 miles south, and still big on the north end.

    NOOA’s got us in a redflag (high wind warning) alert, forecasting dry storms: lightning, wind, clouds, little rain if any.

    We had a big confab on the sidewalk here a bit ago, and the strains are showing on all of our faces and body languages. Our next-door neighbor in real life came by, and is convinced his house is gone already, and his large garden’s dead as nails. Can’t think he’s right on the house, but when I asked, he said it’s not insured. (WTF?)

    The wind’s stronger outta west by southwest *here*, but who knows a mile away, and at a slightly higher elevation. The motel owners, Barbara and Curt are sanguine about us all having to stay longer; remarkable as all giddy-up they are. Folks offered to pitch in on chores, but they demur. Habits are hard to break. ;o)

    Mr.wd needs to go to work for a bit, and we decided this morning was smarter than this afternoon. The announced ‘Mancos pre-evacuation plan’ that seemed absurd yesterday seems almost sinister today. You can’t imagine they’d be that stupid, can you? Oh, yeah; I forgot…
    Stupid is the new ass-covering, isn’t it?

    More irony: Mr.wd asked the feds last night again about posting this fire at INCIWEB; they said they would prioritize it. IT’S UP! But, when ya click on the fire’s name to get its own webpage, it takes ya to a whole different fire, including the wrong contact numbers. Gotta love this shit.

  76. wendydavis June 25th, 2012 at 7:07 am 77
    In response to mafr @ 75

    Had that happen in Rocky Mtn. Park once, but there it’s black bears, not Brown Landlords, lol! I was pretty nervous at Yosemite, I think it was, and yeah, we hung the food in trees, youbetcha. Yikes?

    Actually, I didn’t feel what crashed into the tent, but my then boyfriend, who is the neighbor in RL who just stopped by a bit ago. ;o)

    Farque, though; trains are better than cars and trucks, imo. The Great Amurrican Highway’s got me down. (Vroom vroom) Nuff said? LOL!

  77. juliania June 25th, 2012 at 8:56 am 78
    In response to wendydavis @ 68

    Wendy, if your fire is like the big one we had last year those winds will change direction constantly and find pockets where you can’t even see there’s fuel. The actual danger will decrease over time, but what was extraordinary to me was that unlike the Dome fire this one did not march northwards over the summer but was always getting alarmingly ‘in our face’ over the course of a month.

    The good thing will be that while that scares you to your toenails, it actually is only menacing where it is, and just the smoke will be the real nastiness if and when you can move back. Sometimes you’ll only get about an hour of clear where you can dash out and water, feeling like Scott of the Antarctic or somesuch. I don’t really know the quality of your mountains and the forage that’s up there, just going from recent past experience here.

    If you’re getting the heat we’re experiencing, gardens might well be failing just from that, let alone any fires. But a garden is easier to rebuild than a house (or as easy anyway.)

    Wish I was still in the nursery business – along with motels I guess that would be good stock to own. (Not that I believe in owning stock, so take that with a grain of salt.)

    I shall be muy carefullo with any Spanish language references in the future!

    But just saying, you may be in it for the long haul, so pace yourself.

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  78. juliania June 25th, 2012 at 9:26 am 79

    Want to let you know, Wendy, that I have your site in my computer, just not ready to register until we do our upgrade – you wouldn’t believe the weird gobbledegooks I get, but soon things will be different, even with nifty checks and balances and phone calls when we don’t want ‘em. I did get your message, thanks very much, and I will just repeat, pace yourself. We are all only human and we have lives!

    On traffic: when I started riding bus and train I was amazed the new perspective it gave me as more of a pedestrian/street person. It’s a different climate and culture, like another world. Very, very good for everyone to experience that, though not at the risk of having one’s house burn down. (Feeds right into the mortgage crisis, doesn’t it?)

    Said it once before, and I’ll repeat it: we have seen the enemy, and it is not us.

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  79. wendydavis June 25th, 2012 at 10:14 am 80
    In response to juliania @ 79

    I’d seen your message about not registering; I left you a message on the first post. News I wanted you to see. All good points about fires seeking fuel, it just seems that sooner or later it’ll run outta mountain to burn. But…as you say, fire finds more to eat than we knew existed, I guess.

    Motel neighbor just came back from the recent briefing; no new news, but hell, no; they ain’t gonna say we can go back…didn’t even offer caveats to predictions. Not hard to imagine that we might have to consider making our own choice at some point. Gettin’ pretty frazzled now, not to mention we’re spending money we can’t afford to spend. Love to you, and thanks for all your good analogies and wisdom, dear juliania. ;o)

  80. wendydavis June 25th, 2012 at 3:08 pm 81
    In response to wendydavis @ 80

    So sorry I read wrong and didn’t see you’d gotten the message. Off-kilter, boy howdy.
    I also had meant that neighbor R’s garden would die from lack of water. Mr.wd tried to get into the canyon: no dice. ‘Gardens aren’t considered agricultural exceptions’. Oh.

    We just took a drive down the river road to see what we could see. Of the ten miles of Menefee we could see, every bit is black. We could make out the poplar trees below our house, still green, and the place that they battled the blaze east of house. One official said that was the heaviest battle they fought during the fire. It looked hard-won from where we are.

    It’s just an odd sort of limbo to be living in, though according to the ‘information officer’, our little squib of road will be under mandatory evacuation tomorrow, too. Can’t understand the reasoning. Ah, well, lol!

    Hope you’re surviving the NM heat, dear one.

  81. juliania June 25th, 2012 at 3:23 pm 82
    In response to wendydavis @ 80

    Yes, wendy, I saw. Should have said ‘did get your news’ instead of ‘did get your message. That was why I repeated that I have your site. You may take my words above as weighted accordingly.

    Much to ponder. Some of it very seriously sad. But I promise, I will be in touch.

    They did some anniversary stuff about our fire on local radio today, brought it all back how they concentrated on Los Alamos – which was good and bad. There were folk opted to refuse to evacuate, even in Los Alamos, which is just over the mountain from me. Good view of Pajarito Plateau out my kitchen window, with the occasional thump of some sort of test most mornings. Yech.

    Could you consider camping out somewhere safe? I know that would be difficult for you, but it might be more relaxing and definitely cheaper.

    Here’s a Plato quotation I just rediscovered:

    “One thing I am ready to fight for as long as I can, in word and act – that is that we shall be better, braver, and more active men [and ladies] if we believe it right to look for what we don’t know than if we believe there is no point in looking because what we don’t know we can never discover.” (Socrates to Meno in the dialogue of the same name)


  82. mafr June 25th, 2012 at 4:59 pm 83

    any good news?


  83. wendydavis June 25th, 2012 at 7:28 pm 84
    In response to juliania @ 82

    You have me once again curious about where you are; won’t pry, but we’ll look at maps. I’ll have to google the name of one of my favorite movies ever; I’ll wager that if you’ve seen it, it will have knocked yer socks off. Joan Allen and the most talented young female actress…full of art, metaphors, vibrant life, New Mexico vistas…can’t dig it up now, but I will one day.

    So glad you got the news; so sorry I’m too dim now to communicate well.

    The quote is a dilly, and certainly apropos to life here for us right now.
    Believing that one holds the keys to knowledge, heaven, damnation, moral certainty, karma, nirvana, successful relationships…and brooking no knowledge that might interfere is probably one of the things that limits human consciousness and societal evolution most, don’t you think? That, and maybe the failure to allow ourselves to feel our true feelings and trust our intuitions, and grow.

    Camping: no gear, no can do with my bummer knees (part of why being here is hard; can’t even use the tiny bathtub, lol!). So complicated and a li’l bit embarrassing to admit to all of my…limited abilities on the boards. Suffice it to say: when the deputy said we had to check in at the school gym, which was where the Red Cross would offer us ‘shelter’…I fucking freaked out. It was almost the same as going to jail for me, seriously, as absurd as it prolly sounds.

    love and hugs,

  84. wendydavis June 25th, 2012 at 7:48 pm 85
    In response to mafr @ 83

    Loads of good news, mafr.

    I haven’t shot the sheriff, not that he doesn’t have it comin’.

    Our house is still standing, as are (miraculously) all the rest. The high winds didn’t materialize, nor have the dry storms so far.

    There has been a boatload of love shared here, values reassessed, trust earned established early and hard….lots of good news, mafr.

    And last but not least, I haven’t taken my rocket launcher to the misbehaving ve-HIC-les on the highway.

    Lots of good news, dear.

    love, and sleep well tonight: your National Guard is awake,

  85. FeetToDaFire June 26th, 2012 at 10:24 am 86
    In response to juliania @ 52

    I remember the “one that got away.” As I recall the burn should never have been attempted at that moment. I’m not sure what is the right thing to do. Left to nature, there would be plenty of fires but often in inconvenient places and with unmanageable conditions (like what’s happening now). I don’t feel qualified to have an opinion regarding how to work with nature to make the forests “manageable,” or if it’s even possible. People often feel (egotistically & with no justification) that they can simply “manage” nature. I fear that this mindset is partly to blame for the lack of commitment to the climate crisis.

    BTW, Elijah es muy guapo. I suspect that more than just a star in your journal that he is a star in your heart.

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  86. FeetToDaFire June 26th, 2012 at 10:50 am 87
    In response to FeetToDaFire @ 86

    Oops. I actually intended my comment to be to @wendydavis.

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  87. FeetToDaFire June 26th, 2012 at 10:54 am 88

    Wendy- I also remember the “one that got away.” As I recall the burn should never have been attempted at that moment. I’m not sure what is the right thing to do. Left to nature, there would be plenty of fires but often in inconvenient places and with unmanageable conditions (like what’s happening now). I don’t feel qualified to have an opinion regarding how to work with nature to make the forests “manageable,” or if it’s even possible. People often feel (egotistically & with no justification) that they can simply “manage” nature. I fear that this mindset is partly to blame for the lack of commitment to the climate crisis.

    BTW, Elijah es muy guapo. I suspect that more than just a star in your journal that he is a star in your heart.

    Fire on the Mountain: A Menefee Photo Essay  By: wendydavis Tuesday July 24, 2012 8:20 am

At four in the afternoon of June 22, 2012 an unknown arsonist or arsonists started a fire six miles south in Webber Canyon in Southwestern Colorado. No arrest has been made; apparently the fire is still ‘under investigation’. The only information as to ‘persons of interest’ was that by the 23rd, local law enforcement had been on the lookout for a small yellow car with black stripes that was seen speeding northward out of the canyon.

In another of those ironic moments in life, at the time I became aware of it, via a call from a neighbor, I was pasting together this diary to let readers know about federal fire information websites, yada, yada, and ended up live-blogging some of it. By late afternoon the fire was exhibiting extreme behavior, and heading northward toward ranches and small homesteads, being driven by moderate winds out of the south/southwest.

Precipitation since the last winter snowfall had been almost nonexistent, and the sere and strong winds from New Mexico had already caused any unirrigated fields to parch brown too early. Coupled with the many standing dead ponderosa and pinyon pines killed by beetles, the billowing clouds of smoke tinged with orange from tall flames were enough to make local residents’ hearts contract in fear. During the past decade, we have experienced far too many fires on Menefee Mountain on the east side of the canyon. Lightning seems overly attracted to it, possibly to some metal in the rocks.

The firefighting efforts here were hampered by a dearth of air support, as much of the sparse fleet had been diverted to other area fires in much more densely populated areas of Colorado. Incredibly, the dedication and endurance of both federal and local firefighters eventually put it out, and save every residence and barn. According to Inciweb, by the end, ten thousand and change acres burned, including most of the small, but dear to us, mountain.

In the scheme of wildfires in the center of such a nationwide drought, it was a small one. As there will likely be far more fires into October, or even longer, I thought readers might be interested in photographic evidence of this one, before, during and after. But I also wanted to describe the nature of this fire, its characteristics outside normal, more conventional fire behaviors.

Many firefighters apparently come to believe that fire is almost a live being, which isn’t hard to believe, given that they are brave warriors fighting powerful opponents, almost living foes. That it may be fanciful seems obvious, but watching this fire made me almost believe that individual fires have personalities. I’d find myself speaking to it, asking it questions, imprecating it: ‘Lie down, you bastard! Why won’t you sleep through the might like a normal fire would? WTF are you burning downhill???’

Yes, of course conditions led to the fire’s extreme and odd behaviors, but when you’re a little bit bonkers with anxiety, it’s easier to imagine the fire almost exhibits agency as it devours all the fuels in its path that it’s permitted to consume.

These first two shots are Before the fire; I wanted to show you what the vegetation looked like: Gambel oak, juniper, piñón pine, Ponderosa, chapparal, typical southwestern growth near mountainous regions, in our case, the La Plata range.; the second one is my favorite Flintrock, composed of Mesa Verde formation sandstone.



On June 23, the wind switched to east, and drove the fire to the eastern side of the mountain; we were relieved that it wouldn’t be coming straight toward us, and that there were far fewer homesteads on the other side on which it wreak its fury. But then the son of a bitch started coming down the mountain, and that just ain’t what a fire’s supposed to do. The queerness of it even started freaking out some seasoned firefighters.

Not many hours after I took this shot, acting on changing weather conditions predicted by NOAA, the county sheriff hit the panic button, and canyon residents were forced to evacuate (diary here) for the next four days.


Once we were holed up at the wee motel in Mancos, it was hard to get any good shots, partially due to the heavy smoke and particulate matter in the air. At some point the finer white ash turned to larger flakes of black; it literally rained the sticky, nasty stuff; ish.

But that Bastard just wouldn’t quit; wouldn’t even lie down until maybe four in the morning. This shot showed the fire that threatened our place; it was mean as hell, and was the point that we were forced to realize our neighborhood might be lost. And still, by midnight the flames were at least eighty feet in the air, Ponderosa pines torching and screaming like banshees, popping their hand drums, sizzling so loud you could hear it from the motel parking lot. This night photo of Sam Green’s from the Cortez Journal is good; mine’s bad, but I never learned how to take night shots.




Of course they eventually put out the fire (100% containment was announced on July 6). This past Sunday we drove east on our dead end county road to take a few shots of the mountain in its new state; there are pockets of green trees, probably extant because of the slurry dumped on them. Some large trunks are still standing. It’s hard to tell if the rivulets are new or old; some I imagine were from long ago, and carried some large rocks downhill that carved them deeper.






It still retains a stark beauty, especially when the light conditions are in high contrast. In this shot from our front porch, the strong winds that had blown for an hour or two had just quit. It makes Ms. Meneffe look ghostly, shimmering chimerically, as though she could disappear at will, perhaps waiting for another day when it rains, and her small seeds will sprout…and grow…in who knows which new configurations? It’ll be interesting to see her Restoration and Renewal; and I’m hoping for the same for myself and Mr.wd. (We’re tryin’ not to be wackjobs, really we aren’t.) ;o)


3 responses to “Saturday Art: Webber Wildfire: A Terrifying Beauty & Fire on the Mountain

  1. I love your categories list, wendye – and an excuse to return to this great diary – with the following related link:

    There’s so much to explore in this story about wildfires and atomic waste, especially as Los Alamos is situated on my ‘near’ horizon twixt me and thee. The one item that strikes me is the cat litter debacle – so now it really isn’t wild fires that are the potential problem but what, pray, (and believe me I do) will happen as ol Sol starts fermenting those organic mixes? Since even tucked away in presumably cool salt mines they caused havoc, (last heard WIPP ‘might’ open again three years hence) what is happening above ground as May melts into June? ‘Melt’ being the operative word.

    Ironic, isn’t it, to be so worried about Ukraine as I am, when the true apocalypse looms beyond the blue horizon…cue rainman music.

  2. it might be ironic, dear heart, but it’s because you hate what is happening to the people in ukraine, as they are pawns in some geopolitical proxy contest, and so many ask for so little, although i am loth to name the list of wants and needs. i’ll read soon as i can.

    meanwhile, this was the first day that we could see a gauze of green on meneffee mountain, just after the sun rose through the clouds. the ash and coal bits are still coming down the mountain, clogging the irrigation headgates, and the topography is so changed that it’s virtually unrecognizable, with all the new gullies and crevices from tumbled-down boulders and more.

  3. Long story short – Los Alamos has to hang onto about 50 drums of radioactive waste out of 500 packed in organic kitty litter. (Great idea not.) The rest went to WIPP and then to Texas, until it was discovered one at WIPP was the problem for their leak. WIPP now closed to shipments; Texas refusing any more of the questionable casks.

    I posted here as the article was hyping forest fire danger – well, there aren’t the mountain forests there were, and fire crews zone in on Los Alamos in any case, so I’d say the danger is more the casks themselves. They’re keeping them cool (they say) but just another fine mess they’ve gotten us into, eh?

    Yes to green – oh yes to green!

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