Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wallow Forest Fire in AZ & NM

Smoke from the Wallow Fire is seen near Reserve, New Mexico, on Thursday, June 9, 2011. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Wallace)


In my previous post, I gave information about the status of the huge Wallow wildfire that is menacing  Jesse Wolf Hardin, Loba and Kiva and the Anima Nature Sanctuary in western N.M., near Reserve. I'm not able to find out the current status of the fire today.  Information about donating to an emergency fund for them, or volunteering is in my  post.  I pray it will be contained before it reaches Anima.

"Spider Woman" (petroglyph, New Mexico)
I know I'm stating the obvious, but an eco-system, an environment, the real "diety of place" ( Anima Mundi),  is a long, long conversation that has evolved as life adapts to a particular land.  Each being, plant and animal, is finely tuned  to that Web of interdependent life,  a balance that shows an underlying, magnificent intelligence at work.  My diety, my Grandmother Spider Woman, works from the roots, weaving a language between all beings as they evolve and survive.  We're the ones who need, very soon, to re-join the Conversation. 

I'm deeply saddened to see the beautiful forests of Arizona and New Mexico aflame, and I'm praying that the Anima Sanctuary  will be spared.

One of the reasons I don't eat meat has to do with the long term impact of the cattle industry - the delicate ecosystem of the Southwest has huge, and permanent,  environmental degredation as a result, and it's for cattle that much of the rainforests in Brazil are currently being destroyed.  I take the liberty of copying a little article below that addresses the increasing incidence of  "monster fires" in the drought prone Southwest, and some of the reasons why they are increasingly occurring.

"As the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona grows to nearly half a million blackened acres, experts say the Southwest has entered an era of monster fires, sprawling infernos that, if they continue to erupt, could wipe out half of the state's pine forests in another decade.  In the past nine years, five over sized fires - two this year alone - have scorched more than 1.3 million acres of Arizona's wildlands. The Wallow Fire, still out of control in the forests and meadows of the White Mountains, grew in less than two weeks into the second-largest fire in the state's history.

With so much at risk every time a monster fire takes hold, experts say state and federal officials must be more aggressive about managing forests to prevent a fire from exploding out of control. The key, they say, is thinning and restoring health to overgrown forests at a rate faster than they are burning.

Crippling drought and warmer temperatures over the past decade have heightened the potential for big forest fires. Insects killed millions of trees weakened by a lack of rain and snow, leaving behind brittle husks with less moisture than kiln-dried lumber.  But what feeds the monster fires are the trees themselves. There are simply too many crowded too close together, a situation that scientists say was created in large part by a series of land-management decisions dating to the 1880s.  Livestock grazing stripped the forest floors of native grasses that helped maintain natural fire and slowed the proliferation of too many young trees. Loggers removed older trees critical for forest health, and scientists say the holes filled in too fast with young trees when lawsuits shut down the timber industry.
In the old forests, fires burned low to the ground and swept the landscape of tall grasses, tree saplings and other forest debris, rejuvenating the landscape. In the dense, overgrown forests, fires explode into the crowns of tall pines, spreading quickly and killing the trees.

"We've crossed the threshold," Covington said. "We're going to be seeing these fires every other year of 100,000 acres plus. And we can only do that for so long."

1 comment:

T said...

In the early 90s, we were crossing Arizona and listening to Diet for a New America ( I think that was the title). I had eaten a hamburger the day before and it turned out to be my last. I had my last hamburger then. Can't even stand the smell of beef now.

These fires are heartbreaking.