The company is named "Ironwood Hotshots." That's one of their crew trucks to the left, coming out of Brown Canyon with a crew of tired, hungry firefighters.
As of 7:00 this evening (Tuesday) the Elkhorn Fire has grown to 17,000 acres, and is 35% contained.
Approximately 215 firefighters have been deployed from around the state, according to a report by Judy Wood, spokesperson for the Arizona State Forestry Division.
The Baboquivari (bab-oh-kee-VAR'-ee) Peak Wilderness area is rugged mountainous terrain. Helicopters have been used today to start grass fires on the ridges, which then burn slowly downhill through the grass and underbrush.
What started as a human-caused wildfire has been tamed, (as much as you can tame fire,) and will be allowed to burn out as a slow moving, low intensity fire.
This strategy, coordinated between the BLM and the Arizona State Forestry Division, provides protection to the wilderness area, preventing future canyon wildfires like those seen in suburban southern California in the past few years.
I had the opportunity this evening to visit the base camp, 15 miles south of Three Points, just as the Ironwood Hotshots were coming off the mountain for food and rest.
Parking at the edge of base camp, I asked one of the men where I could find the Information Officer.
"That's her, over there," said the young man, pointing to a woman with long blond hair. "She's helping serve dinner right now."
Kristen Lenhardt, Public Affairs Specialist for the Bureau of Land Management, is a newcomer to Tucson. Her BLM business card still reads "Cheyenne, WY."
Not all of the firefighters I saw tonight are of the younger generation, but most of them are, as is BLM SCEP Lenhardt. I drove home thinking that with young people like these, the future of our Country is going to be in good hands!
In light of the present economy, and especially with respect to the real estate situation we're all dealing with, it's been awhile since I was this optimistic at the end of the day.
But I am!
Photos copyright Mike in Tucson