Arizona’s landscape is greatly affected by weather patterns. The Winter of 2018/2019 was exceptional. The entire Southwest and the Sierras experienced one of the wettest and coolest seasons ever recorded. As a result vast areas of the usually dry Sonoran Desert turned emerald green as horsetail grass filled in every available piece of earth it could sink it’s roots into. While it made for a beautiful setting for a Winter full of Arizona landscape photography; it also posed a problem.
See, the rains don’t stick around long in the desert and as Spring turned into Summer all that horsetail grass died, dried up, and became an incredible source of fuel for wildfires.
As of right now there are two major wildfires burning near the Phoenix metro area. The first is up between Horseshoe & Bartlett Lakes. The second and most recent is located 5 miles out into the rugged and bushy Superstition Wilderness near my house. We’ve watched the column of smoke dominate the eastern horizon for days, but on the evening of June 10th 2019 the winds picked up, shifted towards the west, and all that smoke and falling ash engulfed the Superstition Mountain area and it’s surrounding residential communities.
I took a quick ride to go and check the situation out and while standing atop my SUV made the below landscape photo of Superstition Mountain as thick smoke burned my throat and small flurries of ash snowed down around me. I chose to stick with a more documentary style interpretation of this scene and do no post processing or creative retouching. It is presented as it was seen with human eyes.