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  • Jeff Raible

Raphael Fire

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

During the course of June, 2021, Arizona experienced many significant wildfires. Among the largest was the Raphael Fire, which started near Sycamore Canyon, west of Sedona. While never a substantial threat to the Verde Valley, it (and, depending on the wind direction, other fires) did impact the skies around us.

In the distance is a plume of smoke, blowing left-to-right across the sky.  In the foreground is the back yard of Origins B&B.
Early stage of the Raphael Fire, near Sycamore Canyon (mid-June 2021).

It was both sad and awesome to see. Sparked by lightning, the fire demonstrated its power over the course of a few weeks, gobbling up over 78,000 acres (120+ square miles) of parched land.

A huge plume of smoke, originating 10 miles distant but flowing toward the viewer, nearly covers the whole sky. In the foreground is a fountain and field of grass.
Later stage of the Raphael Fire, near Sycamore Canyon (late-June 2021).

Most days, the wind took the smoke away from us. Two days, however, the smoke hung low across the Verde Valley, casting an eerie pall.

The back of our southwest-styled house, looking toward the late afternoon sun, which is partially screened by the thick smoke from the Raphael Fire.
Raphael's smoke nearly drowns out the sun.


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