Where there is smoke...
About a month ago, the beginning of April, a "controlled" burn got out of control and started burning in the Hermit's Peak area just outside of Las Vegas, NM. The conditions here are perfect for a wildfire--high winds that are shifty, dry fuels (trees, bushes, grasses) and warmer than usual temperatures.
The photo above was taken on April 21 and whereas is looked awful it looked like there was still a chance to get it under control. Compare that with the panoramic photo below taken on April 29th, just a week later, from a similar location.
To say the fire is out of control is an understatement--170,000+ acres on fire and only 20% contained as of today.
But that isn't from a lack of human effort. The US Forest Service is doing an astounding job of fighting the fire and keeping the public informed. In fact, the amount of hard work by an impressive number of agencies from our state, region, and nation all doing their absolute best to keep local people safe is staggering. So far there have been ZERO human casualties which is a testament to the amount of resources and round-the-clock efforts.
Here is the fire map from the USFS today (I live in Las Vegas, bottom right).
I am deeply grateful that protecting Las Vegas was a priority. Whereas our air quality is abysmal we don't feel like our house is in immediate danger of burning down. Still, we are packed and prepared to evacuate at a moment's notice and have been for a week. No idea when we will feel confident enough to unpack.
That includes my studio. I wept as I packed up all my paintings, pastels, paper, easels and supplies. I had just started a new set up/composition and decided to leave it in place to welcome me back--assuming the studio doesn't burn down.
Keep Calm and Carry On indeed.