I was thinking this summer about how our Catalina Mountains are likely relatively safe from wildfire, only because so much of the forests there have burned already, the past few years. Safe is the wrong word–there’s always a high risk–but safer, at any rate.
So this summer’s newsmaking wildfire isn’t in Southern Arizona–it’s in Northern Arizona. Specifically, in the Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona area.
I remember vividly drives through Oak Creek Canyon, my first few years in Arizona; we’d drive up there to get a dose of decidious autumn. Lovely drive, along a lovely almost-scary winding road. The past few years we’ve gone there less–I’m more used to the Southwestern version of autumn, and crave it less; and the area has grown so crowded, that the drive isn’t quite as idyllic as it used to be.
This isn’t as personal as watching the mountains one can see from one’s back porch burning. And I know from the fires in my local mountains that fire isn’t just about what’s lost; the vivid regreening and regrowth of our mountains has been profound and heartening to watch. Oak Creek Canyon will change, but it will survive.
And yet, I think of those winding drives through yellow and green, and I mourn a little, too.