Photo by Kelly Kramer
On Monday morning, a handful of Arizona Highways staffers drove up the road to Escudilla Mountain, the third highest peak in Arizona. There, not long ago, the mountainside was covered in aspens. They glowed a green-gold come autumn, and countless hikers, mountain bikers and photographers journeyed to the mountain to breathe it in.
Catching just a glimpse of the peak — even from a distance — reminded two of us of Aldo Leopold: “Life in Arizona was bounded under foot by grama grass, overhead by sky, and on the horizon by Escudilla.”
Then, last summer, the Wallow Fire burned. Escudilla was destroyed. In time, the trees will return. It will take decades, generations, a hundred or more years for the Earth to replenish what the fire took away. But for now, the mountain is a reminder to everyone who enjoys the outdoors: Leave no trace. Extinguish your campfires. Protect the trees for future generations.
Image courtesy of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, near Beaver Creek
Summer hasn’t officially arrived, but, boy, it certainly feels like it…….. So, if you’re planning on skipping town soon and heading to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests for some much cooler weather, we thought we’d pass along a friendly reminder from our friends there…..
And FYI, to learn more about forest fires, fire policy and the Wallow Fire, pick up the June issue of Arizona Highways — let’s just say, it’s eye-opening and heart-breaking.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National forests are busy preparing for the upcoming summer recreation season. Trails, roads, recreations areas and campsites have been assessed and work has been ongoing in preparation for the arrival of campers and outdoor enthusiasts. The stocking of fish to forest streams and lakes will begin in a few weeks. Some roads and highways are due to open as soon as next week.
The areas affected by the Wallow Fire last summer are already recovering and the Forest Service has cleared hazard trees from 289 miles of roads and aerial mulched and seeded 90,000 acres. Most of the most popular areas in the Wallow Fire perimeter were not damaged by the fire. The Apache-Sitgreaves Forests would like to welcome everyone back to the forest and has a few tips to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Look up, look down, look all around.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not camp near weakened trees that have dead limbs or have been burned and could fall into your campsite.
- Do not camp in low lying areas that may be prone to flooding during a rainstorm.
- Do keep your food stored away from your immediate camping area such as a car trunk so as not to encourage bears.
- When hiking stay on established trails and let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
Be especially cautious with fire and be aware of fire conditions and restrictions. Fire restrictions vary but most mean that no open fires are allowed except in established campgrounds with fire grills or pits. Some areas have prohibited all fires except gas or propane campstoves, some restrict all types of flame. You can check the current fire restrictions by calling 1-877-864-6985. Or you can check the restrictions by forest district by going to our website or calling (928) 333-4301.
Fire restrictions are often imposed in the dry months of May through early July on the forest. Because of winds, drought and high temperatures Arizona’s forests are particularly dry this year so please, be especially cautious with fire this year. NEVER LEAVE YOUR FIRE UNATTENDED AND STAY WITH IT UNTIL IT IS OUT COLD. For more campfire prevention tips go to http://www.smokeybear.com
Arizona Highways, June 2012
Last year, I watched the Wallow Fire burn firsthand, and I interviewed firefighters, foresters and fire-policy experts as part of my research for an article, A Burning Issue, which appears in this month’s edition of Arizona Highways. Arizona’s wildfire season has already begun, as you’ve seen from news coverage of the multiple fires that firefighters are battling as I write this. We’ll continue to monitor Arizona’s fire season, and I encourage you to do the same. The following excerpt from A Burning Issue reveals a bit of the debate over prescribed burns and other methods of fire management.
What’s your take on Arizona’s fire policy? Share your thoughts in the comment section below this post, or write us a note via Facebook or Twitter.
Timber sales. Owls. Road density. Prescribed burns. Public lands versus wild lands. Risk to firefighters. All of these and more are cogs in the fire-policy wheel, a slowly turning circle that won’t stop spinning anytime soon.
Prescribed burns became part and parcel of forest-health policies decades ago. Nevertheless, they’re a major sticking point in the debate.
“The American fire community accepted the need to reinstate fire a long time ago,” says Dr. Stephen Pyne, a Regents’ professor at Arizona State University and author of several books on national fire policy. “Prescribed burns, slashing and burning — those aren’t new controversies. The problem is making things happen on the ground. The whole point of national fire policy on federal lands over the past 40 years has been to increase the amount of burning. We’re getting it, so what’s the problem? People aren’t getting it the way they want.”
And that’s where identity politics come into play. Pyne contends that the issue has really been between certain categories of the business community and the politicians who represent them — those who want purely wild landscapes and those who want landscapes where people can work and live.
— Kelly Kramer, Managing Editor
To read the complete story, pick up a copy of the June issue of Arizona Highways, on newsstands now, or subscribe at www.arizonahighways.com.
Managing Editor Kelly Kramer; Creative Director Barbara Glynn Denney; Editor/Boss Man Robert Stieve looking over Keith’s shoulder…
We just wrapped up the July issue of Arizona Highways and we’re already hard at work on our August issue.
Yes, we’re in the thick of things, but we thought it would be fun to share a day in our life. Yesterday, the gang crammed into Art Director Keith Whitney’s office to take a look at a layout he’s been working on for the last few days. Everything we do at Arizona Highways is a collaborative effort… and that’s a very good thing, because each month we create a top notch product.
As for how we work together, well, let’s just say comedy writer Robert Orben was absolutely right: “If you can laugh together, you can work together.”
Editor Robert Stieve and Managing Editor Kelly Kramer
Every month, the gang on the editorial side of the magazine gathers to make final changes to an issue before it goes to the printer — we call it collating. The process can take several hours and often involves some debate…. Should we add this? Should we cut that? This doesn’t makes sense…. that does make sense…
Here, we’re editing the July issue and we think you’re going to go bananas when you see what we’ve packed in these pages… keep an eye out — it’ll be here before you know it.
So, I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes photos of one of the Weekend Adventures & Road Trips featured in this month’s issue of Arizona Highways (on newsstands now). The location was Sonoita — about 45 minutes south of Tucson — and myself, Managing Editor Kelly Kramer, Photo Editor Jeff Kida and Editor Robert Stieve went along for one heckuva ride… a horseback ride with Ron Izzo, owner of Arizona Horseback Experience (the full experience is on page 20 — hint, hint).
FYI, Jeff was behind the camera shooting away…
All I can say is that we had a fabulous time… And as Robert noted in his Editor’s Letter, “the terrain down there is unlike anywhere else in the state, and it’s as beautiful as anywhere else in the world.”
As for that pooch in the slideshow, well, she sure took a liking to our own Jeff Kida… talk about puppy love!
Kat, Associate Editor