Don't move west any time soon. This weekend, Arizona experienced both a wildfire and an earthquake – an earthquake that also affected New Mexico. One could blame a combination of climate change and being in Arizona for these tandem forces of nature, but we think it might be just a very contained apocalypse.
The earthquake originated about three miles below the ground near the state line between Arizona and New Mexico Saturday night, and it could be felt from Tucson, Arizona (150 miles to the west of the epicenter) to Roswell, New (300 miles to the east) and even in El Paso, Texas, and south of the border in Mexico. It was followed by two aftershocks. At 5.2-magnitude (which is classified as moderate), the quake was felt by pretty much everyone, causing telephone poles to shake and knocking pictures off the walls. Luckily, no deaths have been reported. "It just kept shaking and shaking, and I grabbed the arm of the girl next to me," one woman told Phoenix, Arizona's KPHO-TV. "We went out to the patio and looked up and our radio tower was shaking."
Investigation is ongoing about what caused the earthquake, but officials think they know the reason behind Arizona's other recent natural disaster. A wildfire, which broke out near the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on Thursday and has been dubbed the San Juan Fire, is thought to have been human-caused. The fire had burned about 5,000 acres in eastern Arizona before it was contained by firefighters on Friday, just before the first anniversary of the Yarnell wildfire, which killed 19 rescue workers. Still, despite apparently successful efforts to contain the San Juan Fire, evacuation warnings for two towns near the blaze are staying in place until further notice.
On Saturday, fire officials announced that crews would fight fire with fire – literally. They planned to start a controlled burn aimed at 700 acres on Sunday. The new human-caused fire is intended not to add to the old human-caused fire, but to burn off any fuel it might otherwise use, keep firefighters from having to go deep into the San Juan Fire, and strengthen the containment line. But even with all that hard work, the fire still isn't expected to be completely eradicated for another couple of weeks.
Yes, the apocalypse has definitely struck Arizona.