Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fire danger LOW today!

This is something I’ve never observed here before

Along the road leading into Laguna Vista is a local landmark, the Smokey Bear sign. It was created by a local artist who is also a member of the volunteer fire department, and it features a portrait of the great bear himself, plus a few of our local birds and other critters. “FIRE DANGER ____ TODAY!” is what the sign reads, where the blank is filled by interchangeable placards that the fire department can swap out according to conditions. (The choices available are LOW, MODERATE, HIGH, VERY HIGH, and EXTREME.)

A couple of weeks ago, I figured that the lowest the alert status would ever get would be MODERATE, since the fire department really wants people to remain careful with fire. However, today, for the first time ever, I saw the placard in the blank that read LOW. Yes, that’s right, we’ve had so much rain lately that even the Laguna Vista Volunteer Fire Department (probably with the assistance of Rio Arriba County and National Forest Service expertise) has decided the fire danger is low.

So how much rain have we been having lately? The answer is LOTS. Just in the past 24 hours, we’ve had far more rain than clear skies. Last night, accompanied by a spectacular light show, we had pounding rains that even washed out parts of the main road into Laguna Vista. Today, when I went out to go to the store, I had to wend my way around some damaged parts of the road and other places where emergency road repairs were taking place (there are times when having a truck-type four-wheel-drive SUV actually makes sense), and when I tried to come back, the road was totally cut off for a culvert replacement, so I went elsewhere for an hour or so, primarily to the lot above the boat ramp where Black Magic is currently parked, so I could check on the boat. I pumped about 30 gallons of rainwater out of the bilge, and then just as I was finishing that, the rain was beginning again.

I returned to Laguna Vista, where the culvert replacement had been completed, although I still had to weave around construction equipment, and I got to the cabin just as the skies let loose with a downpour. For the last seven hours, it’s been mostly rainy, varying between total downpour and sprinkling. Now it’s beginning to dry out a bit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friends in Colorado Springs reports they've had the most rain in the last 8 years. He said it was raining again yesterday. Looks like the NM lakes might be safe for another year.

Thu Aug 10, 10:42:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Well, we're not out of the drought yet, with Heron Lake at 48 percent of capacity and Elephant Butte at 13 percent of capacity, but at least we've gotten a bit of sailing room and the lakes aren't as bad off as they could have been The Butte had been predicted to go down to 4 percent but it seems we've avoided that catastrophe.

Fri Aug 11, 11:58:00 AM MDT  

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