JUNE 06, 2011 UPDATE:
I live in Albuquerque NM, and the city is completely covered with the thick smoke from these AZ fires. See my posting and footage taken tonight of the smoky skies overhead. When watching, remember, today was a completely clear, sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky.
Arizona’s Wallow Fire began on May 29th, and is believed to have been sparked by an unattended campfire. The fire is named after Bear Wallow Wilderness in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest which is near where the fire originated. It is now one of the largest fires in Arizona history.
• Cost currently up to $5.3 million as of 6/5/2011
• 144,000 acres as of 6/4/2011
• Building destroyed: Four summer rental cabins
• Currently the third largest active fire in the US, following at 188,807 acres, the lightning-sparked Toklat
• Two Fire in Alaska is the largest active blaze in the country, followed by the Honey Prairie Complex Fire, which was also sparked by lightning and has charred 166,297 acres in Georgia.
• In addition to the Wallow, southern Arizona’s Horseshoe Two Fire is the nation’s fourth-largest at 100,200 acres.
• As of Sunday, 6/5/2011, 2,140 fire personnel were on the ground, utilizing 12 bulldozers, 138 fire engines, 31 water tenders and 20 helicopters.
• No injuries as of to date.
• 1,900 people have been evacuated.
Albuquerque NM being choked by the thick smoke from Arizona fires
Currently, the enormous amounts of smoke are traveling in a northeasterly pattern, and Albuquerque, New Mexico is in the direct path – which is where I live. The air has been hazy since last week as the thick smoke blankets the city. The smell is so strong, I initially thought a neighbor was illegally burning leaves and/or brush, until I saw on the news that this is the smoke all the way from Arizona. The Sandia Mountains are barely visible. The city, and parts of the state are currently under a public health air alert. Ash is covering everything inside and out within the already dry and dusty city from lack of rain. Figures are showing that the particles in the air are 20 times higher than normal and causing some severe problems for those with asthma and other breathing problems. Hospitals have seen an increase in both children and adult patients coming in due to respiratory issues.
This weekend was the best chance of rain we have seen predicted for many months. There is a 20% chance tomorrow, but it looks very grim. No more chance of precipitation in sight after Monday.
Currently, Albuquerque is at 6% where we should normally be in precipitation.
While the rest of the country is drowning under floods and torrential downpours, New Mexico and Arizona are drying up and burning away.