Flagstaff Fire Could Burn All Summer
Needless to say, when I read this in the paper this morning it kind of got me off to a bad start:
The [Flagstaff fire], about 300 acres in size, is 40 percent contained, officials said Thursday night.
A California-based federal team of “hot shot” firefighters took over the efforts early Thursday and established a goal of 100 percent containment by Saturday.
“All we’ve done really is come in and helped (local fire crews) back off this one fire and continue to support the emergency needs of the city and the county,” said Sean Collins, liaison for the federal team, at a briefing Thursday night. “It’s looking very good at this time, but we’ll stay here until we’re deployed elsewhere.”
So, if another fire crops up they’ll drop everything and leave?
Collins said 330 firefighters are part of the team assigned the fire, and 50 of those were on call overnight in case the fire flared.
After shoring up containment lines on the fire’s western edge Thursday — which allowed officials to lift all evacuation orders — the crews will focus Friday on containing the fire on its challenging eastern edge, which is in steep, rugged terrain, Collins said. They’ll be assisted by helicopter drops of food, water and fuel.
But even if full containment is reached by Saturday, area residents may see smoke rising from the burn zone until the fall.
“It’s quite possible that we are going to be seeing smoke in the area for pretty much the rest of the summer,” Collins said. “Residents need to be mindful that we are not going to be able to put it out completely. The goal is to secure the perimeter, and it will continue burning deep inside the middle.”
Collins said the federal team will ensure the perimeter of the fire is secure and will dig trenches to keep material from rolling downhill and sparking another blaze…
I trust the local firefighters a lot more than I do the fed team just because I think they inherently do a more thorough job because they’re protecting their own community. For the feds, it’s just “a job.” So ugh. We get so much wind around here. I. Do. Not. Like. This. At. All.
And since when do we let fires burn for months on end? Seems to me that’s a new “theory,” a new norm in fighting fires that we’re supposed to accept because the truth is, we don’t have the resources to actually put them out.
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