When we were traveling home from Lake Powell last week, Steve noticed what appeared to be a fire burning in the far distance in the direction we were headed. As we drove closer, just outside of Flagstaff, we saw emergency response vehicles evacuating neighborhoods along the highway and then our phones started notifying us all the evacuations in the area. Emergency vehicles were starting to line the streets with cones and message boards, and we quickly realized they were shutting down the highway.
The thought of turning around and heading back to Lake Powell was discouraging and we got nervous the more cones and emergency vehicles we came across. By some miracle we made it through just in the nick of time. Just after we passed through the area, we stopped at a gas station and after we gassed up we got a notification that the highway had been shutdown.
My heart ached for those we saw driving out of town with their cars full of the items they owned – so many homes were asked to evacuate. It brought back memories of when I watched a documentary on the large California fire a few years back that consumed so many homes and I found myself in tears mourning their loss. As we drove by the billowing clouds last week, I found myself once again choked up.
We tracked the fire every day after we returned and soon learned that the highway closure we avoided became a much larger closure when the fire jumped the freeway. Fortunately, people have returned to their homes with little loss and the highway is once again open. Unfortunately, our stormy monsoon season is looming and fire season is just around the corner.