Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 6, 2011

Moab afire

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:49 pm
Tags: , ,

Part of Moab is on fire

Radio voices usually sound calm. These don’t:

“You got water?” “No.” “NEED WATER!”

“BE CAREFUL! It’s a death trap in there, boys — ”

“It’s under the power lines! Please call the power company!”

“Is there a water tender anywhere? Need water.”

“601, get out of there! Evacuate the houses and tell ’em to get the hell out NOW.”

“Flames 30 yards from the Walker residence.”

(1 min later) “Flames at back door of Walker residence.”

“Remember, crews: BACK YOUR TRUCK IN. Give yourselves an immediate escape. Do not hook up to any hydrants!”

“The power lines are crackling.”

I stood up on the deck of a restaurant above the dear little town of Moab and watched as 75-mph gusts, 93-degree temps, and no humidity conspired to burn down entire neighborhoods. Fire trucks from communities an hour away are still arriving. The smoke tells the story as it is whipped by some invisible vortex, first in one direction, then abruptly shifting to the back side. Black plumes add to the already-choked sky above town. Wildfires in Arizona are already sending so much smoke that an advisory was in place before our fire began. At one point the flames were shifting toward the brand-new hospital; I hope they have shifted again.

My radio battery died before I could hear all the details, but it is a sorrowful day in this area.

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