Not long after I moved Minnie from the desert near Yuma to the forest above Payson, some deranged person started the forest on fire. I had set up my camp in the Coconino National forest, only three miles from Richard and Dianna where they live and volunteer for the forest service during the summer months. All was fine for a few days as we made plans to welcome Daryl and Gisele and their new car for a visit and lunch. We even hoped Donna would detour up to our get together.
The fire started when we were on a shopping trip to Winslow. On our way home we could see smoke as we drew closer to the Blue Ridge Ranger station where Richard and Dianna volunteer. We eventually realized that the fire was only a few miles from where we were staying and close enough to give us great concern for safety.
When we eventually arrived at the ranger station we learned that the road I was camping on was closed. I was informed that I could not even go down the road to get my camper out. Richard knew of a back road out of the compound that took me safely to my rig where I packed up quickly and moved up to the ranger station.
Even though we were within a few miles of the fire, there was no danger where we were. The wind over the next few days took the fire away from us to the north. With the dry condition of the area and the strong wind, the fire has grown to over 12,000 acres. Several homes have been destroyed and the fire is headed for more houses ahead of the flames. There is zero containment.
The fire has brought together several units of hotshot crews, fire teams, air support, and personal from all over the west. They have all fought the fire bravely and undoubtedly saved many residences. Tonight there is snow and rain in the forecast so we are all hoping the fire will be controlled with the help of the weather.
For several reasons, including but not limited to, snow, rain, freezing temperatures, high wind, fire traffic and road closures, I decided to travel down to a lower altitude for a few days. I’m now at the same camp I found last year, only five miles from Payson. I will go back up on the Rim after summer returns.