Murphy Fire Near TubacI live in the picturesque community of Aliso Springs that is situated in the foothills of the Tumacacori Mountains.  Not many people have heard about this enclave of about 35 custom homes each situated on 4+ acres that boast knockout views of pristine desert and ruggedly beautiful mountains.  However, all that changed this past week when the aggressive Murphy Fire, unstoppable in its quest for fuel sources, roared down our mountain range and into our lives.

Suddenly Aliso Spring became front page news as flames licked perilously closeMurphy Fire Near Tubac and threatened homes in our area.  The quiet and serenity of this out of the way community was shattered with air tankers dropping loads of fire retardant around the homes closest to the mountains and the sound of multiple helicopters flying back and forth from a water source to drop buckets of water on the rapidly advancing flames.  Rarely traveled dirt and gravel roads were packed with firetrucks and forestry vehicles, and everywhere you looked were the determined faces of firefighters willing to put their lives on the line for our safety. 

Today the smoke, kicked up by stronger winds, continues to waft over the blackened mountain sides to the west and south of our homes.  At times it turns dark reminding us of the fire still burning uncontrolled just on the other side of our beloved mountain range.  There is evidence of small hot spots on the charred mountain sides visible from our homes that kick up with the stronger gusts.   Both are reminders, as is the Tubac fire truck parked in front of my home as it has been for the past 3 days, that we may not yet be out of danger.

Murphy Fire Near TubacAs of the last report posted on June 6, 2011, this human caused fire has devoured 37,500 acres.  The financial cost is at a staggering 1.7 million and since the fire is only 15% contained will certainly climb much higher before it is under control. 

Sleepless night and anxiety filled days have been a relatively small price to pay when compared to the hundreds of fire fighters who have given their all to keep us safe.  I've watched as they have donned heavy gear in temperatures nearing 100 degrees and done hand to hand combat with a power capable of destroying everything and everyone in its way. 

I'd love to be able to thank each one of them personally but since that isn't possible must settle with this tribute to their selflessness.  They truly are the unsung heroes in this fight against one of the biggest wildfires that Santa Cruz County has ever experienced.  My home, as well as all of the homes of my neighbors, are standing today because of them. 

My heart is filled with gratitude for every man and woman who is out there on the front line fighting this fire to keep us safe.  Please join me in thanking them and in saying a prayer for their safety.  Most of all, let us all ask whatever higher power we believe in for an end to this devastating fire. 

       JUDI MONDAY, CRS         


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