Brownout

After the fire, which has now been estimated at 71,000 acres, there is nothing to stabilize the sand.  Sustained winds in the 30+ mile per hour range with gusts around 60 have created a dustbowl of the entire region.  Fine dust gets into the house, vehicles, and fills the fibers of clothing.  This photo doesn’t do it justice but gives a general impression of the air quality.  Too much of this will certainly shorten one’s life.  Time to listen to the “Dust Pneumonia Blues”.

Its a tough place to make a living…

April 17 Range Fire

A range fire that developed near Melrose, New Mexico Sunday morning narrowly missed the Clovis site in the afternoon.  The Mitchell Dairy appeared to be hit pretty hard but its large crews of machine operators working with the fire department kept the flames mostly moving east-northeast through the afternoon.  Oasis State Park and the Blackwater Draw National Landmark were evacuated by police order.  News reports have now estimated the size of the burn at 17,000 acres so far.  It has been a long time coming under these extremely dry conditions and lack of recent burns.  Fuel levels are high in the area and we have been warned that more fires are likely under the current conditions.

The above photo is looking west from the site immediately after visitors were evacuated.

As winds changed, outlier fires seemed to spring up in new places.

Looking north after the fire jumped the highway.

As the winds held out of the west-southwest, our biggest concern were the smaller fires coming from that direction.   There was another flareup further south but I didn’t get a photo of it.

A photo from the northwest corner of the site over the Mitchell Dairy operations.  Several fire departments and the ranch hands worked long hours into the evening to keep this part of the fire at bay.

Some more images here on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7cNoOUWAKM&feature=player_embedded