Monday night we drove home to Phoenix skirting the edge of the active Willow wildfire and was awed/dismayed at how the smoke completely obscured the Mazatzal range– the front in the photos below was only 1/2 mile from the Beeline Highway (AZ87) and the radio was reporting that the Beeline was to close the next day so fire fighters could build defense lines to keep it from crossing over. Check out this image of a plane dumping retardant on the fire.

This is a big deal, not like in a metro area where a detour would be perhaps a detour to a surface street 1.2 mile away- closing the highway means for people traveling between Phoenix and Payson, a route that would add maybe another 80-120 miles to a trip (this was cancelled, but sounds like it could happen any day this week).

Anyhow, I snapped a few pics from the truck window as there was no stopping allowed….


East edge of Willow fire near Barnhardt Trailhead. This is likely the controlled burn meant to build a defense line by clearing out all potential fuel. The 6000+ peaks are completely obscured. This ranch in the foreground was up for sale a few months back, wonder if someone is worrying about their purchase.


Edge of the fire and smoke column, the sun is hazed behind the brown curtain.

Again remember that the folks on the lines are being dropped into a roadless wilderness area, in full gear, in 95 degree heat to stand in front of a fire and try and steer it away from harm. If you are bent out of shape and complaining about your computer crashing, or how your parents deprived you of use of their car, or your upset about the neighbors’ weeds. or if your teacher gave you a bad grade… well it just does not seem very important, does it?

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I’m in Wyoming now but this area was my playground since 1959 and it breaks my heart to see this…I have family in Payson and they have to smell, see and taste it…just wait til the rains come…the Verde River and surrounding area will take decades to recover…it’s only a matter of time before this happens in the Bradshaws…what a mess…my thoughts go out to you all who are trying to live with it…

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