As I listened to NPR’s program “Here & Now” yesterday morning, I heard a fascinating story about a power company worker / rancher from Springerville, Arizona. As I saw the link to the story in my Facebook newsfeed this morning, I clicked to read more. Wesley McBride has been maintaining a blog in the middle of the action to let everyone in his town know what is going on with the Wallow Fire. He manages to give his readers updates on the fire containment (or rather lack of containment so far), where to find food and shelter, and how to support the community with donations.
During his on-air interview, Wesley McBride told Here & Now’s host Robin Young how he had to leave his ranch that very morning, abandoning his whole cattle to fend for itself after flooding the fields. In a broken voice he related his painful decision to leave a one-day old calf with its mother as the fires raged on all around his ranch. Here’s the appropriately named Wallow, with his mother.
I remember when the larger-than-life Cedar Fire destroyed over a quarter of San Diego County in Fall 2003. Many people living in the countryside and the mountains didn’t have the time nor the opportunity to take their large animals with them and had to abandon them the same way. What a heart wrenching decision to have to make, not knowing what and who will still be there when you come back.
I hope for the people of Arizona that their wildfires will be put out soon. Because I live in a wildfire prone area myself and I have experienced two major fires in the past 10 years, I can only empathize with all evacuees.