Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bad, Bad Ju Ju In AZ

Gladiator Fire doubles in size, expected to grow even more

"CROWN KING, Ariz. -- The Gladiator Fire raging near Crown King more than doubled in size to just under 5,500 acres in the past 24 hours, and it's expected to keep growing in the coming days. "This is a really fast-moving fire," Karen Takai of the Southwest Area Incident Management Team said Thursday morning. "Yesterday afternoon was explosive as it came across the road." The thick cloud of smoke hovering over the Bradshaw Mountains is visible for miles. "The air just feels thicker and smokier,"

This burn is south of Prescott in the Prescott National Forest and it couldn't have started at a worse time. Weather has been calm and mild for weeks minus the intense winds usually this time of year. But Sunday someone's home blew up with an electrical fire in a remote community and guess which day the 30 and 40 mph winds kicked in?
We're watching this unfold. It's about 25 miles away which means we're in no danger, but as an old firefighter from Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, I can see some very troubling signs. I went up in this area to cut firewod and it's about the most up and down stuff you can imagine. For one thing the supervisors brought in over 500 personnel which means they're really worried this will be horrific. I was on fires many times this size that never had this numbers of people.
As I watch through binoculars the smoke plume, even with strong winds, is rising so high in the sky that it's forming a cloud. That signifies the heat is so insanely intense it overrides the wind.
Another really bad indication is the occasional black smoke cloud which means a house or another structure just went up. Wood smoke from a forest fire is white.
We're supposed to have the highest winds yet tomorrow.
This is not going to end well.

added 5/18 - There are now 700 firefighters on scene with 7 more crews on their way. It was warm and breezy overnight. Today could determine whether two towns called Crown King and Pine Flat continue to exist. At daybreak there was a pall of smoke over the mountains.


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