Needles, CA: Around 7:00pm PT on Monday, August 13th, 2012, dry lightning strike an area of mostly large trees, brush, and thick vegetation southeast of Jack Smith Park in Needles, California burning 60 acres on the California side then later jumping over the Colorado River into Arizona burning 300 areas of more large trees, brush, and thick vegetation until days later being fully contained by hard working fire crews.
More than a week after the wildfire, ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez walked through the areas of burned large trees, brush, and thick vegetation near a dirt road that runs off of Santa Fe Road just southeast of Jack Smith Park and what was covered up by those large trees, brush, and thick vegetation, is now uncovered and some of the stuff found was surprising and concerning.
Near what may have been an old camp ground or mobile home park off of a dirt road between Santa Fe Road and the Colorado River, about 9 barrels were found in an area which was covered by very large trees and heavy thick brush and vegetation. Most of the barrels can be seen but there was some still in the ground as well as some of the barrels burned by the wildfire.
Many in Needles, California who watched the wildfire that Monday afternoon heard explosions and seen bright flames rolling up into the sky like as if something erupted such as a gas line.
No gas lines erupted during that wildfire according to fire officials, but were those explosions cause by what was inside these barrels? Was there anything inside these barrels before the wildfire? What was inside these barrels? What were these barrels put here?
As ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez continued to walk through the areas of burned large trees, brush, and thick vegetation, areas in which people may have camp out and called home were uncovered.
Being homeless in temperatures over 105*F during the Mojave Desert summers or temperatures under 45*F during the Mojave Desert Winters isn’t something many would wish to live in or even survive in.
For those who have become homeless by no fault of their own, services out in this part of the Mojave Desert area in California like Needles, California may have trouble finding a way out of being homeless and so they try to find a safe place to rest and to call home.
Those areas in which were call home for some just southeast of Jack Smith Park near Santa Fe Road which was covered in large trees, brush, and thick vegetation are now gone and burned to the ground.
The issue of homelessness in the Colorado River Tri-State area needs to be address and services for those who do not want to be homeless need to be place here in this area to help those people.
As the temperatures continue to be over 105*F and move closer into Mojave Desert Winter with temperatures under 45*F at night, where will those who don’t want to be homeless anymore go?
ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez continued walking through the areas of burned large trees, brush, and thick vegetation and got along the Colorado River and where the possible spot where the wildfire jumped across into Arizona.
As evening started to arrived near Jack Smith Park, ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez made his way to Santa Fe Road and found areas in which people dump junk and trash such as broken glass bottles, automobile parts, tires, bicycles, fixtures, tables, chairs, cabinets, beds, televisions, and even household cleaning products such as bottles of bleach and glass cleaner.
Many in the community hope that the burned and dead areas of large trees, brush, and thick vegetation can be clean and new tress can be replanted to make this area beautiful for all to enjoy. In time, nature will rebeautified the areas near Jack Smith Park and wildlife will return.
Before leaving the burned and dead areas of large trees, brush, and thick vegetation, birds flew by, jackrabbits hopped by, and even a coyote walked along a dirt trail very near ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez shows that life is slowing returning along the Colorado River.