Covering wild fires for me is about way more than the nuts & bolts of acres burned, crews assigned and all the usual suspects. It's a chance to learn intimate details about the physical terrain and geographical context of an area. Covering fires allows me to "see" the landscape with "fresh eyes" in ways I might never imagine otherwise.
And so it is with The Lost Lake Fire flaming ferociously today SW of Parker, Arizona. The Lost Lake has burned open my brain to allow my eyes to see that entire region with entirely new geospatial and macro historic fluvial perspectives.
It's invigorating, challenging, enlightening and exciting to see such new stuff as a result of covering The Lost Lake Fire! If I was a rootin' tootin' cowboy, I'd stand up in my stirrups and twirl my ten gallon hat overhead while giving the cowboy yell, whatever that may be.
Back in December 2020 when we decided on a spur (pun intended) of the moment trip to The Parker Strip (not to be confused with the Arizona Strip), I had almost zero time to get an agenda.
And you know how we are about agendas, right? RIGHT!
Our agenda on that trip was all about Parker Dam, The Arizona Navy, the infamous Poston Internment Camp, Ehrenberg and the Blythe intaglios We covered our agenda adequately. Along the way we found other tantalizing tidbits like CRIT's Ahakhav Preserve, the old railroad, Salome and so much more.
After the trip, we decided we didn't want to go back to The Parker Strip. We'd been there, done that.
Well, along came The Lost Lake Fire yesterday and now we want to go back to The Parker Strip! GO FIGURE!
But it's ALL about The Colorado River and it's abandoned meanders. Heck, The Lost Lake is part of such an abandoned meander.
We were studying one of the NASA satellite maps of the Lost Lake Fire and we saw this HUGE abandoned meander and we said, "WHOW!"
That's what covering a wild fire can do for us. Make us see stuff we couldn't see beforehand.
Once we saw that meander, we started studying the fluvial geomorphology of The Parker Valley and suddenly our brain and eyes were opened. It was like we never really LOOKED at what was going on there on the CRIT Reservation in Parker Valley. No wonder they have such rich farmlands!
Of course, the very name "Lost Lake" kinda says it all, too. The ancestral "lost lake" was a remnant of an abandoned meander. Basically, the what we now call The Colorado River whip lashed itself all over the place after it got cut loose from the strangle-hold of what's now the constriction of Parker Dam. That river sure did have Some FUN roaming at will across the flat alluvial silts of the valley below.
We get so caught up in this kinda stuff, it's hard to pull away to actually cover today's happening wild fire.