Natural Fire: Helpful or Destructive?

Fire can be a wonderful or terrify thing. In many ecosystems, fires are important for keeping them healthy. These are low intensity fires that clear the ground of brush and scrub. However, invasive plant species like buffelgrass cause fires to burn hotter destroying the ecosystem, instead of nurturing it.

May and June in the Sonoran Desert are high fire periods. This is the dry season between the winter rains and summer monsoons. Plants dry, grass turns brown. It is very easy to accidentally start a fire, so open fires are restricted. Sudden, heat-generated storms are produced, containing a lot of lightning, and nature uses the lightning to ignite fires during this time.

One such storm ignited the dry vegetation on Pusch Ridge, near my home, on June 5. Pusch Ridge is in the Santa Catalina Mountains, north of Tucson, AZ. The three peaks are between 5,000 to 6,000 feet high. At the lower elevations are the iconic saguaro cactus, while juniper and pines are found higher.

Picture by Elaine A. Powers early on in the Bighorn Fire

Natural low-intensity fires clear out the ground debris allowing for new growth that support animals, such as bighorn sheep. Unfortunately, the introduction of invasive plants, like buffel grass, have changed the nature of the fires. The dried invasive plants fuel much larger, higher intensity fires, resulting in the destruction of the ecosystem instead of enhancing it.

Sadly, the Bighorn Fire on Pusch Ridge is one of the destructive fires. This destruction is the results of man’s altering of the environment. Buffel grass was introduced for erosion control and cattle forage. The buffel grass thrived and forced out the natural plants. Buffel grass-fueled fires also destroy buildings.

Image courtesy of www.wildfiretoday.com; Photographer not credited; photo undated

The fire is still raging today. According to The Arizona Daily Star, “Firefighters spent most of Sunday strengthening fire lines in the Summerhaven area and burning down the ridge line north of the town as they continued to fight the 58,500-acre Bighorn Fire,” officials said. 950 people are fighting the fire that is about 16% contained.

It is hoped that some of the areas will be able to rejuvenate with native species, but the loss may be irreparable or last for many years. Unfortunately, humankind has never been able to quickly stop its destructive behaviors.

NOTE: Staying indoors with children? Check out my science-based, fun and educational books; and the science workbooks and activity sheets at Lyric Power Publishing, LLC.

image of MY Books Page

Comfortable in Her Own Skin

There’s a saying about being comfortable in one’s own on skin.  Recently, this saying took on a new meaning for me.  Last year, I became the delighted owner of a Missouri Fox Trotter named Button.  She was born in Missouri, so every winter she grows a coat worthy of the cold cruel Midwest winter winds; she is quite cozy here in Tucson’s cool winter weather.

Button, before her stylist arrived

Come spring, Button would shed the massive amount of hair down to her more comfortable summer thin coat.  This spring, however, she didn’t shed sufficiently. Temperatures were in the 80s with 90s being forecast. Our workouts left her “sopping” wet with sweat.  Action needed to be taken.

I noticed that one of the other horses had been shaved by a local groomer.  She’d done a lovely job, leaving the horse’s coat smooth. No razor ridges like I would create. I gave her a call, scheduled Button’s hair appointment and off the thick winter coat came. It was like watching a sheep being sheared! I expected her to be a bright shiny copper penny color underneath but she looks more bronze to me. She is now much more comfortable temperature-wise, but I wondered if she would miss her hair.

After a day of multiple rolls in the dirt, I think Button is now truly comfortable in her own skin.

And now, being comfortable in my own skin, it’s back to to stories I go! To see my science-based and fun adventure tales and rhyming stories, please go to the My Books page.

A collage of book covers indicating the categories of books at elaineapowers.com
My Books By Category

Using Children’s Books for Science Education–at a Bar!

Last February, I had the honor of giving a science talk at a local bar.  Yes, a bar! But it’s a very different bar–it specializes in astronomy and holds weekly science trivia contests with March for Science Southern Arizona.

My talk was about using entertaining children’s books in science education.  It was kind of fun that I had multi-colored spotlights instead of plain white. I spoke from a platform and looking down and around the room, I wondered if my talk was appropriate for such an audience. I couldn’t gesticulate as I usually do, because I had to hold the microphone to my mouth (eat the mic) and the slide clicker in the other hand. I felt constrained, but carried on with my assignment.

This is me with my Blue-iguana hybrid, named Blue, of course!

Even though I watched people drinking and talking through my entire talk and the background noise level was high – it was a bar, after all – some of the audience actually listened. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by that response and there were even a few questions afterward about book publishing and children’s science books. All in all, it was a great experience. 

My thanks to the March for Science organization for letting me present during Brains and Brews at Sky Bar in Tucson, Az.

Balloon Curtis created by artist Jeremy Twister.

And to the wonderful artist, Jeremy Twister, for creating the balloon version of the perfect curly-tail lizard of Warderick Wells in The Bahamas: Curtis Curly-tail.

Come and Say Hello at The Tucson Festival of Books!

EVENT CANCELED

On March 14-15, 2020, Tucson will host the third largest book festival in the US, the Tucson Festival of Books. Over 130,000 people come to enjoy this world-of-books every year.

All aspects of the book business are included, with several hundred authors in attendance, many who are involved in panels open to the public. Special programs for children and teens and about science are presented. This event is known for its cultural diversity and promoting literacy among children and adults in Southern Arizona. Millions of dollars have been donated to literacy programs because of this focus.

I participate in this event by having a booth from which I sell my books. It’s wonderful how much people like buying books directly from authors and I love meeting them, as well, and personalizing and signing the books. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of being an author.

We will be at Booth 324 in the Children’s Section

I share the booth with my friend and author/illustrator, Anderson Atlas. Between the two of us, we have books that cover all the children’s book age groups, and some for adult readers, too.

Stop by and say hello on the weekend of March 14-15, Booth 324. I’ve included a TFOB map of the location of the Children’s Area at U of A below.

Tucson Festival of Books
March 14-15, 2020   9:30 – 5:30
University of Arizona
Children’s Section
Booth 324
Grab an Adventure by the Tail
Elaine A. Powers, Author
Anderson Atlas, Author/Illustrator
BOOKS FOR ALL AGES OF CHILDREN

Scripts or Books?

I’m often asked how long I’ve been writing books. I have been writing mostly children’s science books–which I like to make fun to read with fantastic illustrations or by writing in rhyme. I’ve been creating mystery stories, as well, for a total of about five years.

A collage of book covers indicating the categories of books at elaineapowers.com

Before that, I wrote scripts. I was involved in several community theaters that often needed original scripts. I wrote a variety of them, many of which were performed locally. Performance rights are included when you purchase the scripts.

Then my employer transferred me to Tucson, Arizona, and my mother came to live with me. I no longer had time for theater, but the need to write had awakened in me. I met little Curtis Curly-tail lizard on a beach in the Bahamas and my book writing adventure began.

I am very happy in my unexpected, post-retirement second career.

Thanks for stopping by my website. This is the cover of one of my audio/theater book of scripts. You can see them all on the Theater Scripts page.

a gray book cover with an illustration of an iguana and a water monitor standing at a microphone