Pop Culture Gadabout
Thursday, May 22, 2008
      ( 5/22/2008 09:38:00 AM ) Bill S.  

NO TIME TO WALLOW IN THE MIRE: We live way past the outskirts of town in an area most townies call "the Foot of Mount Graham," even though we're still a couple miles from where the mountain road begins. I love getting up in the evening with acup of java to water the backyard plants and just spend a few minutes staring at the mountain, though two days back I got to view an event on the mountain that was new to this transplanted Midwesterner: a fire on the mountain.

Hadn't read or heard that one way planned, so it was initially a bit disconcerting to notice the thing when I came home for lunch. At that point, the fire was still pretty small; all I saw was a whiff of smoking floating from small part of the trees. But when I left to return to work, the smoke had turned from white/gray to a dirty yellow and had grown considerably. "Should we be worried?" spouse Becky asked. I replied that I didn't have a clue, but I'd quickly found out. I soon learned that it was a "controlled burn," something the Forestry Department does on occasion to prevent bigger ones. Back in 2004, Mt. Graham saw an unplanned wildfire that took two weeks to get under control, so I guess I could understand the reasoning behind the act.

"It's a controlled burn, alright," more than one local told me, "only it don't look like they've got it much controlled." Me, I had to wonder about the wisdom of even attempting a controlled fire on a windy day when temp climbed into the triple digits, but what do I know? It made for a cool sight when the sun went down: slivers of flame dotted here there along the dwindling treetops. Back in town, I'm told that folks drove out to Discovery Park Road, a good high visibility spot, to watch the night fire.

When I woke the following a.m., all I could see was a lone puff of smoke again, but the nightglow reappeared by evening again. I'm told that by the end of summer I'll grow accustomed to this sight, but I'm not sure I really want to be. Fire's not something you should ever take for granted . . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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