Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rain is a good thing... Dean Peak Fire Updates

Day one, approx 4pm.
Well it is official, we are in a monsoon flow. The dew point has been over 30 degrees, and we have already had two small thunderstorms. Not a lot of rain yet, but thankfully a little moisture. With some luck our roads will have enough moisture, that when we get a big storm they won't just wash away.
On another note, with the lightning, one of our local mountains had a forest fire start yesterday. Today I haven't seen any news on the fire, other than it is still burning. While searching four news on the fire, I did come across an old article about our mountain being declared a state disaster in 1950, after a forest fire, around that time we set a record high of 109. Yesterday we set a new record at an official high of 111! Unofficially we were at 113 at the ranch!

Fire update...
From the Hualapai Mountain Park Facebook page.
"Dean Peak Fire-update from BLM. Approximately 25 to 30 acres have burned. No containment. Caused by lightening. Air tankers, Hot Shot crew plus other personnel are doing their best."
Fire update...
For up to date info, go here www.inciweb.org/incident/3463
Current as of 4pm Sunday 6/30/13
Total Personnel: 40
Size: 120 acres
Fuels Involved: brush, pinion, juniper, pines
Fire Behavior : active
Significant Events:
There was little to no precipitation resulting from the thunder cell that came across the fire this afternoon. Old Highway 93 and DW Ranch Road are closed to the public.
The downdraft from downslope winds is pushing smoke into the Pinion Pines community. Smoke will continue throughout the night.
There are no threats to any communities at this time.

Update 8:45pm Saturday...
The fire is currently burning down slope on the east side of Dean's Peak. The air tankers that were assigned to the fire earlier today have been reassigned and the Type II helicopter has been grounded due to winds. The Hot Shot crew has also been pulled off the mountain for safety reasons.
Update 3am Monday Fire is now 200 acres, with 60 firefighters. The outlook today is high for growth, in rough terrain. My understanding from Facebook friends is that the community of Pinion Pine has been evacuated. A lot of false info has been spread across the social media outlets, trying to sift through it all. It was also released yesterday that Arizona lost 19 firefighters to the Prescott fire, which charred 2000 acres. My heart goes out to their families for their sacrifices. 4am First time outside today, high winds and it looks a if it has crested. Little bit of drizzle in town, forecast calls for thunderstorms, and a triple digit high.
Update Monday 4pm... 908 acres with 100 personnel. Focus today is protecting structures in Pine Lake, tankers dropping retardant on front line. There is a mandatory evacuation for the Pine Lake community. The reception center is at the Kingman High School located at 4182 N. Banks Street in Kingman, AZ. The Pinion Pine community and communication sites on Getz Peak continue to be threatened at this time. CLOSURES: Old Highway 93 is closed and Hualapai Mountain Road is closed to Pine Lake. DW Ranch Road and Blake Ranch Road are also closed except for local residents. Wild Cow Campground will be closed until further notice. Extreme weather conditions will continue today with potentially erratic winds due to thunderstorms forecasted throughout Mohave County. 

Update Tuesday 3 am 
No official update, other than 1500 acres burned, 175 personnel. I am reading updates from Facebook that the fire has jumped Blake ranch road and burning toward the Cedar Hills area. Several friends and coworkers live in that direction, they are preparing to evacuate. As for the Pine Lake, and Pinion Pine areas, I haven't seen any updates on structures. From or vantage point it looks close, but I don't want to speculate.

8am Tuesday update. 
No official update, I am getting reports that no structures have been damaged as of yet. The fire came close to some Pine Lake residence last night, then the winds changed direction. There were some pretty bad flare-ups but firefighters were able to keep them at bay. Reading now, 2350 acres with no containment till July 12! Info from Facebook... The fire is being managed in a full suppression strategy and is burning in steep, rugged terrain with few natural barriers to stop fire spread. Additional resources have been ordered to assist with containment of the fire. Incident Commander Matt Reidy said, “This fire is different from past fires, it is highly visible from the town of Kingman, this is not a typical desert fire and should be visible for some time.” A mandatory evacuation order was successfully implemented for the residents of Pine Lake as the fire crossed over Dean Peak and is backing toward Pine Lake. An evacuation reception center is located at the Kingman High School at 4182 N. Banks Street in Kingman. Old Highway 93 and Hualapai Mountain Road are closed to Pine Lake. DW Ranch Road and Blake Ranch Road are also closed except to local residents. Additionally, Wild Cow Campground will be closed until further notice. A declaration of fire emergency was issued by Gary Watson, Chairman of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors. Two strike teams of state sponsored engines have been ordered to provide protection around the Pinion Pine and Pine Lake subdivisions. Dean Peak Fire information is posted at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3463/. Additional information can be found at http://www.facebook.com/DeanPeakFire and on Twitter by following @DeanPeakFire No official update other than 3200 acres burned!


Great photo from a friend who lives on Blake Ranch Rd.







Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last Thursday...

Before our current heat wave, we took a trip to Southern California to pick up our daughter who spent some time this summer with family. We traveled as far west as we could go. While there we spent a few hours down in Oceanside walking along the beach and soaking up the ocean breeze. Glad we did now we get to deal with triple digit heat!







I forgot to share this...

Watch "Wake up number 2" on YouTube

While cleaning up the storage on my phone, I came across this video I took last year. It is of the high pressure gas pipeline that runs behind our place. I took the video around five miles from were they were purging the pipe after they had done some work and needed to pressure test it. They opened the release around 7am, and the vapor shot around 75 to 100 feet in the air, and was the loudest thing I've ever heard! Coolest thing ever, I just wish I had a little warning, but am thankful I wasn't at one of the dozen houses that are within a stones throw from the valve!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Is the drought almost over?

Last time I posted our dew point was around 28 degrees, today we are at 37 degrees. Not nearly where we need to be, but getting closer. We are having a really hard time controlling the rabbits and mice right now, there isn't a whole lot of green vegetation for them, so they see our fruit trees as a twenty four hour buffet. I hope the trees make it, long enough for the rest of the desert to tempt the pests away.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How dry we are...

When we first moved to Arizona, Mohave county have the monsoon season it's official start when we had three days of consecutive 40 degree dew point. Historically we would reach that point the last week of June. Today after three months without rain we sit at 28 degrees dew point and 7% humidity! Yep it's dry! Our first monsoon storm usually hits our area on the 3rd of July. I'm getting a real bad feeling this year, with conditions this dry, if we get the electrical part without the rain we'll be in a world of hurt. Then again if we get hit by a big soaker we'll see devastating flash floods, taking or roads for sure.
Time will tell, and I'm hoping for the best...


Friday, June 7, 2013

What a day...

Spent all day in a Phoenix hospital visiting family, while awaiting word on the wife's grandfathers condition. He suffered a stroke last week, and has been in the hospital ever since. It doesn't look promising, but he seems to be comfortable. So after 330 miles, 13hrs we make it back to the ranch in time to find two rattle snakes in the yard. One Mojave green, and a Western diamondback. Shovel took the first, nasty punk tried to strike at me. The second lost his head to a well placed 9mm. They were small ones, estimating 12-16 inches. Sorry no photo, it was getting too dark...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Where the deer and antelope play....

Believe it or not, there is an antelope in this picture, little one and I sat there on the road for a few minutes watching this guy, lovely animals. As for the deer, they were just too quick to get a pic!

Life in the sticks, makes commuting an adventure and sometimes a safari!


Summer shade...

Love our shade trees, this summer they are really big enough to make a difference. And a difference they make. I bet the temperature on the boardwalk is a good 15 degrees less right now! Time to plant more!


Visiting with the neighbors...

And visiting the last power pole, here's were the power grid ends. We're being hit with a bit of a hear spell, currently 96, but with the wind very manageable, and I dare say, comfortable. We are also dealing with a very serious drought, we haven't had any significant rain in recent memory.
Life at the ranch continues on, maybe at a slower pace than in town, but it does continue...


Saturday, June 1, 2013

After the first year...

Been planning this post for a while, it has been over a year since we bought our first (yes I said first, since we now own two!) Kia Soul. My biggest concern when looking at these little cars, was their ability to handle the rough terrain, goat trail we call a road. I have to say, this little car does an awesome job. The white one that I drive, the one pictured below, is a 2010 with the cast iron engine block. This little guy is part billy goat! It handles everything I've thrown at it. From soft 10-12" deep dry sand, to snow, and mud. I also use it to haul 80lb at a time feed. I'm currently outfitting it with a roof rack and cage to make a little more room inside the cabin for family camping trips. Originally I posted the question about front wheel drive cars and the off grid lifestyle, I can honestly say they can coexist. -Now if I could get a Soul in all-wheel drive.....
So far a great tire for this little go cart.