May 27 Update and Latest Map
Now Level With Anima Sanctuary and Only 10 Miles East of Us
The Whitewater-Baldy continued it’s mad race yesterday, the 50mph winds pushing the flames hard and fast. If the winds had continued being south winds blowing straight north, our Anima Sanctuary would already be burning by today (Sunday). In a single night the fire gobbled up another 20 plus thousands acres of forest ecosystem, to over 130,000 acres by this morning, a long thin spur of the fire has made it as far north as the Anima property, and only about 10 miles to the east of us!
Because the winds have shifted for now, the leading spur is continuing towards the northeast, while only slowly backing down to the west in our direction.
The winds are unlikely to shift towards the West or Northwest, but if they do we could be overrun in less than a day. If fortune holds out and winds continue blowing in a Northeasterly direction, it should take the fire as much as week to slowly spread west to us. Wind speed in another factor, with the winds blessedly having slowed a little today so far.
It turns out that there were no slurry planes available with this fire first started spreading. While the USFS press releases only talked about it being a “natural process” doing good things, some in the agency were stressing that the aircraft needed were stationed for use in Arizona and that nothing was available for use on The Whitewater/Baldy! And the reason we have had to go to Google satellite images for map updates, is that there have been no new USFS Inciweb maps in 48 hours due to there being only one available plane with Infrared mapping abilities in the region… and with it broken and waiting for repairs!
Once again we are impressed with the women and men sent out to manage these fires, and absolutely amazed at the ineptness and lack of preparedness on the part of the decision makers. To what degree this is a result of inadequate federal funding I do not know, but if we can fly constant surveillance planes and fighter jets over Afghanistan we damns sure should be able to keep Forest Service observation and slurry planes in the air over endangered communities and forests.
Trail Boss showed up to work more on the fire fighting sprinkler system being set up around our cabins. He hopes to be back in time to get it serviceable, and hopefully with a way to add a larger fuel tank to the water pump for longer run time. A bad time to have no other helpers, we will be looking in the village for workers to assist with evacuating our belongings if required.
The loss of our hand built homes, as little and hillbilly rustic as they are, would be awful, as we would struggle to remain residents and care-takers of this land. Losing the belongings that could not be removed in time, is sadder still, given their often rarity or sentimental associations. But these trees I saw sprout and grow over the course of these 33 years, the incredible botanical diversity we have assisted, the creatures and their homes, the nests of the birds and hideouts of the javalina, the squealing just-born elk babies, the ringtails smoked out of burrows, bobcats trying to move their young, the wild grape vines and woodbine that trellis over the trails… this thought, this possibility, we are most unable to bear.
We’ll be close in touch. Thank you for you concern and love.
Contributions are being accepted for further fire protection needs, or to rebuild if we burn. To contribute to the Anima Fire Fund, either send a postal money order in any amount to:
PO Box 688, Reserve, NM 87830
or make a PayPal instant payment by going to:
Enter the amount as a personal “gift” and send to:
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