Castle Valley Comments
September 7, 2017
by Ron Drake
Sep 07, 2017 | 269 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We didn’t need Bob Russell, our official Castle Valley weather observer, to tell us that August was another dry month. He said the valley struggled trying to get to a half-inch of rain with only 0.46 for the month.

Speaking about the disastrous flooding in Houston, Russell said that our recorded average rainfall is 10.73 inches of rain while “Houston had more than that between lunch and dinner several days.” An acquaintance from Austin, Texas stated the other day that his city gets an annual average of 30 inches of rain “but you don’t want to be there the day that that happens,” he said. He lives on the outer edge of the storm and although it rained for two solid days, they didn’t have the flooding that was experienced in Houston.

Russell also said that our temperature only “relaxed” a little in August with the maximum average from July falling only four degrees to 93. He said we could look for a change of about ten degrees for September if history repeats. If our September average is going to repeat the historic average of 82.3 degrees it is going to have to happen soon because our first few days of September have been way above average of around 100 degrees at my house with not much let up for next week.

***

It was heartbreaking and interesting Tuesday morning as I watched the incredibly fast-moving fire that started at the mouth of Weber Canyon just south of Ogden. Dramatic pictures of the fire as it raced across the area were transmitted from KSL Television’s Chopper 5 and showed that some houses didn’t stand a chance as the fire was being pushed by strong 30- to 40-mile-per-hour winds.

From the air it appeared that some of the homes stood right in the middle of dense brush and trees and were without any defensible space between the two. With so many active fires in the western United States, many local resources were out of the area fighting other fires.

Last Aug. 23, the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands issued an order to rescind the fire order that was issued in June because of the high fire danger. The reversal stated that because of the “reduction of the fire danger indices and improved weather conditions have resulted in reduced wildfire hazard.”

As a result, all fire restrictions set in place on June 30 were rescinded, which included all unincorporated private and State land within Carbon, Emery, Grand, and San Juan counties. Other fire agencies also rescinded their orders as well, which in retrospect, might have been a little premature.

With the unseasonably hot and dry weather of recent weeks, the fire danger has been upgraded from “high” to “very high” and there doesn’t seem to be a significant change for the foreseeable future. The fire season is still active in Castle Valley and elsewhere — and we can’t let up in our vigilance to be careful with activities that could spark a fire.

***

Twenty-five years ago this week, this column reported on Andrew Williams of Castle Valley who was serving an LDS mission in southern Florida. He reported to his parents that he survived Hurricane Andrew as it smashed through the southern tip of Florida. This week, 25 years later, Florida is bracing for Hurricane Irma as it is predicted to hit Florida’s southern tip this weekend. Elder Williams was living in Hialeah, just south of Miami, when they received word to be at a local church building for evacuation — and they were told to bring their belongings and a 72-hour food supply.

Elder Williams and his companions were transported to Plantation, near Ft. Lauderdale, and began securing the church building, where they were to stay, with plywood. They weathered the storm and lived on canned food, chips and cookies and were sleeping on the gym floor but had electricity and hot water. When they returned to Hialeah, the scope of the mission changed to helping rebuild what Hurricane Andrew demolished.

That same week, Ray Radley was still looking for his stallion that he bought from a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adoption program two weeks prior. When he brought the horse home and unloaded him in his new enclosure, he ran through the fence and escaped to the mountains. The black stallion with a red halter and red lead rope was spotted in the La Sals near the Loop Road and Radley offered a reward for its return but it never happened.


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