After being at work for about 6 hours, I began to have significant problems with congestion. I'm assuming it was the smoke in the air, although I couldn't smell it, that was aggravating my allergies. I got to the point of being able to breathe through my nose at all. I'm glad I'm as far as I am from it here at home.
The fire is now 20% contained. (Note: On the 10:00 news, they just said it is now 35% contained. That's good! Let's hope the high winds forecast for tomorrow don't reverse that.) It has burned over 10,000 acres. That's not huge compared to some others, but in these photos, you're seeing just a smidgen of the damage, and yet it is breathtaking. I can't fathom the fires that take hundreds times over this much!
You can and should click on them to enlarge them to see the details.
In all these photos, I'm standing on the shoulder of various spots along US Highway 70. I had driven out to a feed store east of town to get some dog food, and I was amazed at the sight. The realization of just how close it was to the highway and the narrow area that holds some homes along the highway was sobering. You will notice the ridges closest to the camera are, fortunately, unscathed. The scorched ground is literally an easy couple minutes walk from the highway.
|Obviously there are still little pockets that are bursting out even though it appears there is nothing else to burn. In all these photos, you can and should click on them to enlarge them to see the details.|
|Look at this. I left the fence in the frame so you could see the perspective of distance.|
|I just suck in my breath every time I look at this.|
|Lonely barren skeletons of trees along the ridge. So sad.|
|Again, a look at the close ridge that had little/no damage and the destroyed ridges behind.|
|Another of those pop-up fires.|
|Closer view. I can't imagine what is left there to burn, but it burns on.|
|This is the race track and casino. It would probably have burned if not for the huge parking lot between it and the fire. You can see that much of the ridge directly behind it burned.|
|I'm standing in the Walmart parking lot. People standing here on Sunday had astounding pictures of flames shooting up 30-40 feet into the air.|
|Again fro the WallyWorld parking lot|
|One last little rebel fire that refuses to turn loose.|
Most of the burned and burning areas are out of sight now, but it is still burning. I can't tell you the feeling one gets looking at this. I keep reminding myself that this in nature's way of restoring health to the forest. This actually thins the old wood and allows new growth. Sadly, it takes decades to come back. I visited another fire site near here a couple years ago. It burned about ten years ago, and it is just now showing regrowth. In another 20 years, it will begin to look like a forest again. I will be long gone from this world when this newest damage will be forgotten.
One of the places where I stopped was a news van from one of the Albuquerque Stations. They were shooting this video while I was taking a couple shots: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2051813.shtml?cat=504.
What else can one say? I know I have nothing more I can conjure up. Later, all.