While I was at my daughter’s home in Arizona, she arranged for friends, Vanly and Sandy, to take Bernie and I up into the White Mountains for a little road trip. Vanly is a mechanic and part of his job is to service the equipment and vehicles used to fight mountain fires. As he drove us about, he pointed out the areas that had burned in past years. We learned about backburning, control by burning underbrush, ladder fuels, and slurry bombs.
Probably the most interesting piece of equipment is the sheer machine. This machine has these huge grabbers that wrap around a tree trunk. As it holds the tree, there are blades at the bottom that act like garden clippers and cut through the trunk. When a tree (or two or three if they are small) is held in the grabbers, the machine will turn and lay the trees down in a pile to be picked up later. The cab is self-leveling so that it can climb up steep hillsides and the cab still remains level. The base has tractor treads.
Yesterday, we got the news from my son that a fire south of them in Colorado was moving north to their subdivision near Monument. He evacuated his family last night. We have not heard yet about the status of the house, but he and his family are safe with friends in Denver.
I read in an article this morning that fires have increased considerably in the southwest and the season for fires has extended into the spring and fall by a month on each end.
So we continue to pray for families, like our son’s, and for those working so hard to save lives, fight the fires. and repair that machinery. The monsoons are coming. Wouldn’t a nice heavy rain be sweet about now?