Sunday, June 30, 2013

Arizona wildfire tragedy claims 19 firefighters

In what may be the largest loss in Hotshot history, tragedy struck Sunday night as officials confirmed that 19 Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters were killed while battling the Yarnell Hill wildfire that has consumed over 1,000 acres.

The news brings to light the heartbreaking reality of fighting dangerous western wildfires.

The local Fox affiliate reported more about the fire:
The wildfire was likely caused by a lightning strike Saturday night.

The Yarnell Hill fire, about 35 miles southwest of Prescott, has burned about 1,300 acres and forced the evacuation of 50 homes.

The fire started Friday and has not yet burned down any structures, but Sunday night firefighters pushed the blaze back away from communities, hoping to keep the blaze from overtaking any homes.
Reports are that a flashover killed all 19 even though they deployed their fire shelters.

It is reminiscent of the July 2, 1994, wildfire on Storm King Mountain near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, also known as the South Canyon fire, when 14 Hotshots were killed. It, too, was started by a lightning strike. Firefighters were trapped when winds shifted in the extremely rugged terrain.

More details about the breaking Arizona fire from USA Today. Prayers for the families and friends of those who were lost.

Storm clouds over the Blue Ridge Mountains

 Storm clouds gather over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Photos were taken from Weyers Cave.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 28, 2013

Sunday sunset

Sunday sunset over the Appalachian Mountains.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 30, 2013


 While driving to Churchville recently for a meeting at the library, I took photos of the "neighborhood," that area west of Staunton that I call home. This is a neighbor's driveway.

 Looking west toward Elliott's Knob and Buffalo Gap.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 27, 2013

Hay season

It's hay season. I enjoy sitting on my porch and watching as they bale.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 28, 2013

The storm at the end of the day

 On Saturday, storms had been rolling all around the area but had not hit us directly. As I drove home from the Shenandoah Wine & Jazz Festival at the Frontier Culture Museum, this was what the sky looked like west of Staunton.

The road home ... the cow standing in the field on the right, the silhouetted power lines, and dark clouds overhead. The storms later hit us with steady downpours until late into the night. Looking east toward Staunton/ Fishersville / Waynesboro, there were continuous lightning flashes about 11:00 Saturday night. You can tell it's summer ... random thunderstorms popping up around the area.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 29, 2013

Frontier Culture Museum wedding

Saturday not only saw the Wine & Jazz Festival at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton but also a wedding that was directed by a close friend.  Since I was there for the wine festival, it presented the opportunity to visit with my friend before the nuptials.

Fonda was getting the sides in place to keep the sun and brisk breeze off the cake.

Chairs were set up for the ceremony on the lawn outside the Pavilion followed by dinner and music under roof. Congratulations, Danielle and Mark!

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 29, 2013

Shenandoah Valley wine and jazz

Wine was the star of the day at Saturday's Shenandoah Wine & Jazz Festival at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton. Sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, it featured tastings from local wineries, vendors offering food items and an array of other offerings, and live jazz. Held under the trees at the stage tucked away behind the Irish farm, it offered a cool setting with picnic tables and benches for those who had not brought lawn chairs.

Vineyards represented were Barren Ridge, Bluestone, Cave Ridge, Cross Keys, Lexington Valley, North Mountain, Ox-Eye, Rockbridge, Valerie Hill, Wisteria, Wolf Gap and Valerie Hill.

The Ox-Eye Vineyard tent was busy as festival goers waited for tastings of a variety of wine choices.

"Shenandoah at War" Battlefields Foundation was represented by Rob Aitcheson who had a variety of items on display with proceeds benefiting the foundation. I had an interesting conversation with him about the war and Confederate mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss who had close ties to the Staunton-Augusta County area. Cave Ridge Vineyards bottles the "Shenandoah at War"-label wine with a percentage of the proceeds going to the foundation.

Vendors were selling a variety of items including this creative shirt from Cave Ridge Vineyards.

Staunton's Betsy Bell or Mary Gray Mountain (not sure which one) can be seen behind vendors that included Dragonfly Arts and Pottery, Bath Fitter, Art Tiles by James, Vibe Bryant, Cabin Creek Roasters, Hot Wired Art, SVBF, Burton Galleries, Scentsy, D-Vine Creations, Passage Creek Farm, Woven Wood Farm, Nuts R Us, The Green Shed, and Thirty-One Gifts.

Upcoming event from Crosskeys Vineyards.

Loved the name ... Wisteria Farm & Vineyard out of Stanley, just south of Luray. As I took pictures of her selection of wines, we chatted and she said they have wisteria growing all around the farm.

Tastings ...

Barren Ridge's owner John Higgs was enjoying the crowds and had lines at his booth.

More tastings.

This young couple was sitting by the pond as the activities went on behind them. It was a peaceful setting and I couldn't resist taking a picture....

Non-alcoholic beverages were available as well as a variety of food from AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar, Derby Dogs, and Daniel Bones BBQ.
The Irish farm was alive with the sound of jazz from the adjoining field.

The covered patio area at the museum adjacent to the gift shop. Some were picnicking at the tables before returning to the stage area.

The parking area adjacent to the dairy barn was full ...

... as was the main parking area ...
... and overflow parking. Great event, great vendors, and a sweet Virginia day.

 The souvenir glass handed out to tasters at the festival. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year's event to enjoy a day relaxing in the Shenandoah Valley.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
Shenandoah Wine & Jazz Festival
Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia
June 29, 2013