Into The Belly Of The Beast
by Crystal Coons
Jul 7, 2004
Wildfire season is upon us once again, and once again, there's media frenzy
on every channel, everywhere you look. It seems that we've all becoming
immune to these tales of burning forests and the vast amounts of acres
burnt don't even faze us anymore.
At least, that's where I stood
until last night. Last night, I witnessed what I thought I saw, but had
really been blind to all along.
It started with a routine out
of town business trip to Northern Arizona
with Mr. Arizona Paths
The State of Arizona comprises the extreme south-western portion of the United States. It is bounded on the north by Utah, on the east by New Mexico, on the south by Mexico, and on the west by California and Nevada.
. After a delicious dinner at
The Hideaway, we decided to take our route back to Phoenix via Payson,
currently playing host to the Willow fire. Within a few hours we had left
the New Age serenity that is Sedona to something that I can only describe
as horrific. We saw the red and orange flame from quite a distance actually,
and it didn't really look like anything exciting. As we exited the town
of Payson, on the Beeline Highway, it became clear to us, this was more
than just an awesome sight. It was the seemingly unstoppable destruction
of the state we both had grown to love.
|Arizona Paths||(air-i'-ZON-u' paths)|
The Most Complete All-About-Arizona website.
To the eyes of someone
who has never witnessed a wildfire in her life, the only way I can describe
it would be to go back to my youth, and the teachings I had of the religious
hell. A raging inferno, blazing in destruction, striking fear into the
heart of all who rested their eyes upon it.
And that it did.
Immediately my heart began to race, and my tension level mounted. All
of the land, all of the trees just burnt to a crisp right before my eyes,
and there was nothing I could do about it. It must have been one of the
most frustrating moments of my life. I felt angry, helpless, vengeful
and overwhelmed all at once.
The part that is perhaps the most
frustrating thing of all is that I know once this one is gone; there will
another to take its place. And there's nothing we can do to stop it.
There was something to be learned from this experience however -- Having
seen the damage first hand, I can certainly appreciate the media reports
and the severity of the situations. Most importantly, I have discovered
a newfound respect for the wild fire forest rangers and firefighters who
dive into the belly of the beast each and every fire season, and to them,
we owe our deepest gratitude.