Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fire near Kitt Peak

A fire was started last weekend most likely by lightning and has burned more than 5,000 acres south of Kitt Peak. It's been called the Alambre fire and has threatened the observatory. Luckily, and through the hard work of firefighters, the fire has not spread north to the observatory. Check out these excellent pictures by my friend Dave Harvey from last Sunday evening. Hopefully the wind will stay low and not blow the fire northward. It is in rugged terrain at the moment and if it got to the southern flank of Kitt Peak, it could easily overrun the observatory. I downloaded this image from Saturday afternoon off the Kitt Peak webcam website (see the view from the 4-meter telescope catwalk towards the south to see the latest images of the distant fire and smoke). This image looks absolutely frightening, but the fire is burning many miles south of the southern ridge of Kitt Peak where the telescopes you can see in this image are located. BTW, our Spacewatch Telescope domes are the two domes just above the 90 inch Bok telescope dome that looks like a spraypaint can in the lower right foreground.

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