Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fire in the Canyon: Smoky Skies for Skywatch

There's been a fire up in Soledad Canyon in the mountains above Las Cruces for the last week and a half. It was intentionally started as a live fire training exercise on Fort Bliss (Army) land, got out of control, and the last I heard it had consumed 5000 acres and was 60% under control. Now a second fire has now started and has covered another 1500 acres.

On the first day I could see the smoke from the house and took these photos. The first was taken with my "big" Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT, and shows you how far away the fire was.


The second picture was taken with my new little point and shoot Canon PowerShot SD 1300 IS Digital ELPH (how could such a tiny camera have such a big name?) zoomed in to give you a better idea of the spreading smoke:

I had trouble sleeping that night, thinking about the fire and all the tiny animals that might not be able to get away from it. I talked with a ranger from one of the state parks over the weekend and he reminded me that fire is "nature's housekeeper" and is a crucial part of any ecosystem (even though these were clearly started by people). He told me how, after the big Yellowstone fires of 1988, rangers took people into areas that appeared devastated by the fires, yet they scooped up handfuls of burned-over soil and showed that it was filled with seeds that wouldn't have otherwise been dispersed without the fire. Scientists are learning more all the time about the beneficial role of fire in the wild.

To look at skies all over the world, be sure to visit Skywatch Friday.

There are just a few more days to vote in the New Mexico Days of Enchantment Photo Contest. You can vote as many times as you want, but only once per photo per day. See my photos here. Your votes are really helping! The response to this contest has been amazing, and the views of New Mexico you will see there are really incredible.

16 comments:

Susan said...

I found your blog from searching the
Guidepost sweater project. I am amazed at all the sweaters you have knit!

Sylvia K said...

Terrific capture as always, Clariz! And it's good to have a reminder that like many "bad" things fires can and do have benefits. I'm headed for the photo contest page now! Have a great weekend!

Sylvia

Regina said...

Great sky watch Clairz. I didn't know that fire can also be beneficial to the soil.
Happy SWF.

" Regina "

Diane AZ said...

Sorry about the fires and smokey skies. I still feel bad for the animals even though fire sometimes has natural causes. Have a nice weekend. :)

jabblog said...

Great shots! Fire is so powerful and can get out of control so easily. I'm glad you spoke to the ranger.

ewok1993 said...

so sorry that the fire got out of hand.

BraCom (Bram) said...

Beautiful SkyWatch photo

Have a nice weekend

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great shot. Nature's housekeeper or not big fires are scary.

I voted for you!

eden said...

Great shots.
That is also what I learn here in Oz that fire is necessary or beneficial for regeneration.

Have a wonderful weekend

JOE TODD said...

Both great photos from two different cameras.The fires make for an interesting and different skywatch as nature "cleans House"

Manang Kim said...

Those are great capture. Like how the mountain shows beautifully. Happy weekend!


SWF~Tell me~

Sandy ~~~ said...

I have a love/hate relationship with fire. It fascinates me to the point that I had better not ever say that too loud near a recent arson! Even though set by "man" (yeah, we'll blame him) Mother Nature takes over with the rest of the scheme. I do worry about the animals though, as not all of them can run ahead of the flames. Thanks for the "shots".

uberrhund said...

Just a beautiful photo of the power of a wildfire. We have a lot of them here in So Cal and I too feel for the animals but know that this is a way of renewal for the landscape. Thanks for sharing with us this week!

eileeninmd said...

Great photos, it nice to hear something good can come out of these fires. Just as long as no one is hurt.

Linda said...

The power of the fires really comes across, even from a distance.
I was interested to read about the regeneration of the Mount St Helens area in a recent National Geographic.

Quiet Paths said...

I really enjoyed this post. Hope it gets put out soon. Since we live in a fire zone I am totally familiar with all the emotional smoke that goes along with watching a forest fire burn. But it is natural - absolutely. It's just hard to watch.