Let me start with a couple of impressive pictures I have 'borrowed' from a friend of a friend:
I wish I could give proper photo credits for these amazing shots but I have not been able to learn the name of the photographer. This is as bad as it gets, folks; but look closer. Those dark shapes rising above the fire are the summits of the San Francisco Peaks; the fire is on the foothills in the foreground. (The picture was shot from somewhere in the Doney Park area several days ago.) In fact the Peaks have survived nearly intact!
The latest report is that 15,000 acres (about 23.5 square miles) have burned - the same number they have been reporting for a couple of days now - and the fire is 75% contained with full containment expected in about 3 days. The effort has involved nearly 1000 firefighters working under a Type One Incident Team and a pair of Sikorsky Skycranes (huge helicopters) have been shuttling water to the Peaks for over a week. Total cost is now said to be $8,000,000. Some credit also goes to the more moderate than expected winds.
Let me take this opportunity to post two of my pictures from June 24:
This is the massive smoke plume from an intentional back fire, which they started then to avoid the higher winds expected the following day. It is good that they shared that with the media or we might have concluded that it was all over!
Back fire June 24
This is the same slope I photographed on the previous evening and sent in my last update. As you can see things got a lot hotter here!
Barring unforeseen happenings it is all over but the search for the person who started it. I'm not worried; a friend who drove past the site when they were still there reports that there were several cars and trucks at that campsite. That is too many people to keep a secret. The Forest Service is offering a modest reward ($2500, I think) and a local brewery has offered free beer for life to sweeten the deal.
Our grateful thanks to all the firefighters who worked so hard to save the Peaks!