Tag Archives: Flagstaff

Throwback Thursday: Arizona Highways, September 1949

1949_09

Photograph by Fred Bond. From the issue: “Of this beautiful autumn study, Mr. Bond says: ‘This shot shows one of the forest roads along the northwest side of San Francisco Peaks, at Flagstaff. It was an interesting experiment in using both direct and transmitted light.”

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History on Display at Riordan Mansion on Monday

Courtesy of Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Courtesy of Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Flagstaff’s Riordan Mansion turns 110 this year, and the historic building is celebrating that anniversary Monday, August 11, with a “Brown Bag Lecture” about the property’s history.

If you’re in the area then, bring your lunch and head to Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, 409 W. Riordan Road, at noon. Dessert will be provided.

Riordan Mansion includes two nearly identical homes built by brothers Michael and Timothy Riordan, members of a prominent Flagstaff family that was involved in lumber, railroads, ranching and politics. The homes are connected by a “rendezvous room,” and altogether, they contain 13,000 square feet of space. The mansion opened as a state park in 1983.

If you can’t make it this time, don’t worry! The park holds lectures on the second Monday of each month.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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#SlideFire Still at Zero Containment; Woods Canyon Lake Fire 40 Percent Contained

Photo by Wib Middleton

Photo by Wib Middleton

We’re seeing reports that the Slide Fire is still at zero containment, though there are more than 800 firefighters and personnel working to contain the blaze, which has already consumed West Fork.

Below is the latest from the Incident Information System:

Crews are continuing to hold the fire west of Highway 89A and south of Fry Canyon. Burnout operations have been conducted south of FSR 535 to create a larger fire break north east of the fire. Hotshot crews are also working to create fire line across the Pump House Wash near the 89A ‘switchbacks’ to control the east flank and prevent further spread east. Winds have become lighter today, with temperatures in the low 70s. As the day continues to warm, firefighters expect increased fire behavior, with the most active portion of the fire toward the northwest to Harding Point.

Heavy smoke is likely again in the greater Flagstaff area, Williams as well as Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. Residents and motorists are asked to use caution as visibility may be limited at times.

In other fire news, the Woods Canyon Lake Fire, which was first reported yesterday, has burned 88 acres and is 40 percent contained. According to the U.S. Forest Service, crews are battling spot fires on the north side, while bulldozers and hand lines have been created on the east and west sides of the fire. At this time, no injuries have been reported, and no structures or power lines are threatened. This fire was human-caused.

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#SlideFire Burns 4,830 Acres; Other Wildfires Burning Across Arizona

Jackie Klieger‎ | Slide Fire

Jackie Klieger‎ | Slide Fire

The Slide Fire near Sedona continues to burn and has so far decimated 4,830 acres of forest, according to the latest report from the Incident Information System. As of this morning, the fire remained at zero containment. Some 3,200 residents are preparing to evacuate, and we’re seeing reports that smoke from the fire is impacting air quality. There are 840 personnel working to contain the fire. Let’s keep those brave folks in our thoughts as they fight this devastating blaze.

There are several other fires actively burning in the state, including the Barlow Fire (1,163 acres), the Badger Fire (487 acres), the Skunk Fire (31,167 acres) and the Research Fire (816 acres). And according to news reports, crews also are working to contain the Woods Canyon Fire, which broke out near Payson on Wednesday.

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Forest Service Fighting Two Wildfires in Flagstaff Area

The Secret Fire burns near Flagstaff on Saturday. | Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

The Secret Fire burns near Flagstaff on Saturday. | Courtesy of U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service is fighting two forest fires that broke out over the weekend in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff.

The 6-acre Secret Fire, in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, was 70 percent contained as of this morning, according to the Arizona Emergency Information Network. The 1.5-acre Boulder Fire, on Mount Elden, remains zero percent contained, the network said.

While we don’t know what caused either fire, it’s a fact that improperly extinguished campfires have led to many devastating wildfires in Arizona — including the Wallow Fire, which burned more than 530,000 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in 2011. With that in mind, let’s revisit the Forest Service’s guidelines for putting a campfire “dead out”:

  • Allow wood to burn completely to ash.
  • Pour water over the fire, dousing all embers.
  • Stir campfire ashes and embers with a shovel.
  • Scrape sticks and logs to remove any embers.
  • Stir the ash pile to ensure that it is wet and cold to the touch.
  • If you don’t have water, use dirt, and mix it with embers until the pile is cool. Don’t simply bury the fire; it might smolder and catch roots ablaze.

Proper campfire management is a central tenet of the Leave No Trace philosophy. You can learn more about Leave No Trace in our upcoming June issue.

Recent drought has left most of Arizona a tinderbox and more prone to wildfires than usual. As we get more information on these or other wildfires, we’ll pass it along.

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Weekend Getaway: Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater. The structure at the center is an old mine shaft. | Noah Austin

Meteor Crater | Noah Austin

“They really should call it ‘Meteorite Crater,'” I told my wife as we drove toward Meteor Crater. As she’s learned during our three years of marriage, I tend to fixate on minor verbal distinctions. In this case, though, the distinction isn’t minor: If you’re describing a flying rock from outer space, it’s an asteroid before it enters Earth’s atmosphere, a meteor when it’s in the atmosphere and a meteorite if and when it hits the ground. The latter is what happened about 50,000 years ago, when a 300,000-ton rock made mostly of iron slammed into this middle-of-nowhere spot. I’d been wanting to visit the crater since I’d moved to Arizona in 2000, but this past weekend, when we went on an overnight trip to Flagstaff, was the first time I’d had the chance.

Clearly, our guide on the one-hour walking tour around the rim of the crater had heard other comments about the name. According to him, “Meteor Crater” is the name the U.S. Postal Service gave the site, but the crater’s official name is “Barringer Meteorite Crater.” It’s named after Daniel Moreau Barringer, who came to the site in 1903 and spent the next 26 years trying to prove that the nearly mile-wide crater was formed by a meteorite impact. Definitive proof of that came in the 1960s, long after Barringer’s death.

Scientists think 80 percent of the 150-foot-wide meteorite was vaporized when it hit the ground, but the remaining 20 percent was scattered around the area. Pieces of it have been found several miles from the crater, and the largest one is on display at the visitors center.

The crater itself is considered the best-preserved impact crater in the world, owing to the area’s relative lack of precipitation. The price of admission includes the optional tour, which stops at three points along the rim for discussions of the crater’s formation, geology and human history. It’s about a mile round-trip, and there are some ups and downs, but it’s mostly paved, and my wife, our 4-year-old son and I didn’t have any trouble. The surrounding land is a cattle ranch, so don’t be surprised to see cows grazing on the outer rim.

There’s plenty more to see at the visitors center, including a museum, a 3-D film showing how the crater was formed, and a gift shop. And pictures don’t do Meteor(ite) Crater justice. Whatever you want to call it, it’s an impressive sight.

— Noah Austin, Associate Editor

Meteor Crater is located south of Interstate 40 between Flagstaff and Winslow. From Flagstaff, go east on I-40 for 35 miles to Meteor Crater Road (Exit 233). Turn right (south) onto Meteor Crater Road and continue 6 miles to the visitors center. Admission is $16 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 17 and free for children ages 5 and younger. For more information, call 800-289-5898 or visit www.meteorcrater.com.

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