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Spring Flowers and Wildfires: March – June 2005

My recent photo journal of the 2005 spring flowers around Wickenburg concentrated on the Blue Tank Wash area, north of Constellation Road. The beauty of nature was not limited to this area, of course, and I include in this journal two photos in the vicinity of Vulture Peak as good examples.

Residents and frequent visitors will recognize this location on the east side of Vulture Mine Road, just a mile or two south of Rancho De Los Caballeros. This photo, taken March 1st, shows a cluster of very plump Saguaro with a broad field of Golden Poppies. We continued to receive rain in March and April, which contributed to the dense growth of spring ground cover.

Saguaro and Flowers

The second photo shows a field of Golden Poppies and Owl’s Clover that I found on the opposite (east) side of Vulture Peak, also on March 1st. Notice again the density of the foliage.

Poppies and Owl's Clover

The blessings of winter and spring rains soon yielded to the harsher realities of life in the desert, however. There was no precipitation in May or June and the seasonal increase in temperature left the area (and state) a virtual powder keg of combustible grasses and brush. The fires started in May and by mid-June, the Wickenburg Sun reported more than 19 area wild fires that were responded to by the Volunteer Fire Department.

One of these fires occurred June 7-9 about eighteen miles south of town. This man-caused fire consumed about 2,000 acres and threatened the electrical transmission lines to Phoenix. The next photo shows a heavy air tanker (T21) as it was preparing to drop a load of retardant in the distance. The second photo (DSC392) shows a continuation of the tanker’s approach, but also displays some of the foreground damage done by this fast moving fire.

Air Tanker 21
Air Tanker 21

In addition to at least two heavy air tankers, I counted two, and possibly three single engine AT802’s and two helicopters that worked to control this fire. Identification of individual aircraft was difficult due to the smoke. The AT aircraft (Air Tractors) flew from the Wickenburg airport, where they had been stationed since April. If you did not have an opportunity to see these amazing little planes up close, here is a photo of two of them, taken on June 11th.

Air Tankers at Wickenburg Airport

Last 5 posts by Allan Hall

1 comment to Spring Flowers and Wildfires: March – June 2005

  • Pat Vigil

    Enjoy your writing about the area and the pix. We were just there and love the town…