The Aspen Fire burned from June 17, 2003 for about a month on Mount Lemmon, part of the Santa Catalina Mountains located in the Coronado National Forest north of Tucson, Arizona, and in the surrounding area. It burned 84,750 acres (132.4 sq mi) of land, and destroyed 340 homes and businesses of the town of Summerhaven.
Damages to electric lines, phone lines, water facilities, streets and sewers totaled $4.1 million. Firefighting cost was about $17 million, and the Forest Service has spent $2.7 million to prevent soil loss.
Wildfires can cause extensive damage, both to property and human life, but they also have various beneficial effects on wilderness areas. Some plant species depend on the effects of fire for growth and reproduction.
This terrible wildfire occurred before I moved to Tucson, so I had only heard of the disaster from neighbors who were living here at the time. Eleven years later, evidence of the fire is still visible on the trails. Also evident is Mother Nature’s persistence in reforestation.
Mount Lemmon is not far from my home; in fact it is where I have been hiking since the weather has turned beastly hot.
The top of the mountain is situated at 9,100 feet and my home at the base of the mountain is at 2,700 feet. Today the temperature on top was 73* F and it was 103* F at my home. Quite a difference!
I especially love hiking up on the mountain, the air is so much cooler, the loamy smell of the earth and the smell of the forest itself is glorious; the familiarity I have with the oaks and pine trees is undeniable. The terrain and forest are very similar to the area I come from. Hiking on the mountain is like going home for me. I thoroughly enjoy being able to hike up there.
It is not unusual to come across a patch of forest that has been burned, the charred trees remain, some are still standing.
Beautiful post Arlene. Good to hear from you!
Yes it has been a while, I’ve been busy preparing for my Camino Inglés.
Wonderful post, and gorgeous photos, Arlene. Good luck on your Camino prep! Julie
I’m excited but I always get excited when I can once again walk the Camino. Remember what I always say ‘Once Bitten’ and I’ve been infected with a bad case.
Very nice post Arlène 😉 I’m sure that you must be excited to prepare your camino inglès.
Je suis très excité pour le Camino Inglés. L’année prochaine sera Le Chemin Le Puy. J’ai hâte de vous voir mon cousin.
There is beauty in the starkness following a fire. I have a picture framed and on my wall of Yellowstone in winter following the big fire 15 or 20 years ago with the black tree trunks in contrast with the white snow.
Not too long till your next Camino. Know you are looking forward to it.
Yes, me too, It wil be a great moment next year: it will be our first meeting and the possibility to walk together
Bisous, kisses 😉
Nice post, Arlene
Thank you drsmiln
Good to see another post from you, Arlene. Of course, wild fires is something we’re unfortunately all too familiar with here in Australia, but it’s interesting to see the photos and hear your descriptions and feelings around them in your environment. The first time I was confronted with a fire out of control, not far from my home right in the ‘burbs’ in the middle of Sydney was truly awesome. How you can not only see the smoke, but actually ‘taste’ it was something I’d not envisaged. Interesting also to see how the tree regenerate by putting out leaves straight from the trunks of the trees. They’re almost cute and fuzzy!! Good luck with the training, although, surely by now, you must be able to just ‘glide’ from one Camino to another?? Tee-he 🙂
Hi Britta, it’s nice to hear from you as well. I wasn’t living here for that wildfire but the southwest part of the US is subject to wildfires during the summer. It is not uncommon to hear of fires around the area reported on the nightly news. With that particular wildfire, one neighbor told me of ash covering our backyards and another neighbor said they were wetting down their house. It must have been truly frightening.
Hi Arlene, you live in such a beautiful part of the world! How wonderful that you have that mountain close by for you to do your walks.
Jennifer and I have just returned to Australia and we’re starting to get back into a routine. Of course it’s winter here, and Mudgee gets very cold in the winter. Soon I’ll be lighting a fire in the afternoon to heat the house!
It’s great to see photos of where you live – thank you!