I arrived Saturday afternoon to this sight. A couple of friends had already warned me so it wasn't a surprise. Friday night, a bolt of lightning struck the ground somewhere in the above image, igniting the fire.
Saturday afternoon, the fire appeared to have been contained and then, boom, it exploded. Tankers came in and dropped fire retardant on the bottom of the slopes to prevent the spread into our community.
Saturday evening, the helicopters and planes had retired but still the fire burned. If it reached the ridge and spread over the top, nothing over there but acres of grass.
Sunday morning, the smell of creosote was heavy as smoke lingered but the fire appeared to have died down overnight. I attended a group hike so going south on Oracle Road and rounding the mountain on Ina Road....
….nooooo, the fire had gone over the ridge and was now burning into Pima Canyon.
Sunday afternoon, after the hike, I was curious so climbed a nearby trail and caught this image of the tanker releasing the retardant.
Meantime, on this side of Pusch Ridge, helicopters were dumping water on hot spots and trying to prevent the fire's spread into Catalina State Park, just north of me. That is a Chinook doing water carrying duty.
Many people express sadness over this but it has been many years since there was a fire in the area and it was overdue for nature's cleansing. I talked to a ranger who voiced this opinion. The fire will remove hiding places for predators of the Bighorn sheep although the predators have to eat too so not sure that is a good thing.
As I descended the trail, I saw a family feeding brush into a wood chipper, probably clearing as much as they can in case the fire moved west, toward them. At the time, strong southwest winds moved the fire away from this and my area. The Pusch Peak area at the far south side of this side of the mountain range was spared.
Monday morning now. Catalina State Park is closed as it has become a staging ground for the fire fighting efforts. I rode in and had a nice talk with the sheriff deputy sitting in the SUV seen above.
The fire is now reduced to a smolder on this side of the mountains. Tomorrow, I plan to hike up there and check it out, assuming I don't get in the way of any efforts. While the Park is closed, there are a few use trails that one can access to go way up there.