The southern Arizona high desert yields no quarter to those who choose to make this home. The payment for life in this arid paradise is the steadfast knowledge that you are surrounded by visually stunning flora and fauna whose intent is to impale and inject you in their defense. In summer, this furious anvil of scorched earth brings forth still yet another terrifying danger - fire!
This danger is heightened as the monsoon season introduces lightning, the most potent catalyst for the devastation that exists. That is what sparked the Bighorn Fire on June 5th in the Catalina mountains on the outskirts of Tucson. In took less than a second for a swollen cumulus cloud to release its electric discharge towards Pusch Ridge - and the landscapes' fate was sealed. Today roughly 51,628 acres have been consumed. At this point, containment swings on a pendulum, with almost 1,000 valiant heroes battling the blaze 24 hours a day, gaining strongholds one day only to lose them the next. As of today, the fire is only 19 percent contained. Miraculously, there has been no loss of life.
It is hard to comprehend the magnitude of this destruction while standing in a peaceful valley at days end, watching another of the magnificent Arizona sunsets. But the acrid smoke and smoldering flames infringing on the tranquil scene is an ever-present reminder that this desert can sting with more than thorns and stingers. I pray for its quick end.
Keywords: Arizona, Bighorn Fire, Fire, High Desert, landscapes, Nature, Southern Arizona, Sunset, Tucson, Wildfire
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