Watching from above as fire burns the mountain

Native artist Duane Koyawena commemorates Museum Fire fighting efforts in painting

Iitah kwatsiim övah taayugnwaa, tutskwai nit kii ow tunaatyowugnwaa. — Watching from above, helping to protect the lands and their home. Kwak kwaa iitaamuy pahawgnaatötah — Thank for all the help. (Painting by Duane Koyawena)

Iitah kwatsiim övah taayugnwaa, tutskwai nit kii ow tunaatyowugnwaa. — Watching from above, helping to protect the lands and their home. Kwak kwaa iitaamuy pahawgnaatötah — Thank for all the help. (Painting by Duane Koyawena)

Editor's note: Duane Allen Humeyestewa shares his gratitude and thoughts on the Museum Fire and firefighting efforts on the fire.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Museum Fire in Flagstaff evolved into a rapidly growing fire that crossed up and over the back of Mt. Elden. Close to 2,000 acres have burned so far, and the containment is a continuous work in progress.

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The Museum Fire as seen from Marshall Lake July 21, burns brightly in the night sky. (Kevin Moriarty/NHO)

From all the images and videos it’s eerily beautiful yet striking when you consider how powerful and sacred the fire feels.

It’s restorative in nature — and there will no doubt be a long, graceful healing and growth process — but we have to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship between the protectors of the peaks and human helpers of the lands. It will take a unified spirit and many prayers to recover from the scorched earth on the mountains.

This is to commemorate all those first responders, fire fighters and hot shots who continue to serve and protect on the ground.

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