Distant Fire & Quality of Light

Arizona’s huge wildfires have burned into New Mexico now, but the smoke from the fires has been here since the first flames. Some days we get the full blast of smoke, some days it goes more towards Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Ocotillo Silhouette

On the smokiest days, it smells as if someone in the neighborhood is burning leaves and branches. It brings back memories of the 2003 Cedar Fire that was too close to home in San Diego. But more than the smell, it’s the quality of light that brings the fear back to me. The orange cast to everything, the diminished light, and pall of smoke in a cloudless sky – the scene is recreated and is very convincing.

Smoky Sunset over Mud Mountains

My sympathy is with people and animals in Arizona; wildfires are terrifying for all beings.

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7 Responses to Distant Fire & Quality of Light

  1. These fires are indeed incredible. We have seen their smoke here in Nebraska – 1,400 miles away.

    • I was out of state when all this started, and it was your photo that prompted me to take some smoke pictures when I returned.
      Thinking about the smoke getting all the way to Nebraska makes me think of Ashfall – Nebraska is just in the path of these things!

  2. Thanks for sharing what it’s like to smell those fires – it is an eerie and sad thing! I hope they end soon, we want to travel to Arizona this summer and I’d hate for it to be all charred. I was in Yellowstone the year after the big fires of 1988 and it was a sobering sight. On the other hand, it was reassuring to see, when we visited again a few years ago, that those forests had almost grown back.

    • It is wonderful to see how the vegetation returns. And amazingly many of the animals survive, but I hate to think of the suffering of those who don’t make it. I think in many cases, an area is better off after a fire, but preferably not such a huge one. Thanks for checking out my blog. I am really enjoying yours.

  3. Aspen says:

    I had a planned trip to AZ (Showlow) back in 2005 or 06 when they had a bad fire going. I was to meet a camping group and I couldn’t get ahold of anyone to verify that the ceremonial event was still on. I drove the 5 hours anyway and when I arrived in Showlow they were preparing to evacuate the town. The flames were on the ridge of the mountains nearby. I found myself in a Sepia tinted photo. I remember feeling out of sync / disconnected to all the emergency preparedness. I was given poor directions but I wasn’t given up on my friends yet. I backtracked and headed north toward Snowflake until the smoke got so bad it burned my throat. I pulled over and again, just watched as flames danced on the ridgetops. I had mixed emotions watching this devestatingly beautiful image.
    I drove the 5 hours back home and spent my 7 days off in Chloride. Turned out my group was not close enough to be affected by the fire. This experience was apparently for me and my personal ceremony.

    Beautiful photo, Donna!

    • If you were here now, I think you would be reliving that whole experience. And fire is an entrancing phenomenon. There are more now down near Tucson. And it doesn’t feel as if we will ever get rain.

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