Two weeks ago this column bemoaned the tardy arrival of northern Arizona’s summer rains. I’m happy to report that near-daily rains since that post have defused the risk of catastrophic wildfires. Many fire restrictions have been lifted, and many local wildland firefighters and Hotshot crews have been sent to other western states where fires continue to rage.
At the risk of sounding like Chicken Little, the real danger now for outdoor enthusiasts is flash flooding and lightning. In general, try to complete your hiking before the afternoon hours when thunderstorms tend to erupt. Stay out of narrow drainages at ALL times even if the sky above is cloud free.
On a positive note, this is the best time of year to spot rainbows and witness spectacular cloudplay in the Arizona skies. Here’s a shot of a Grand Canyon rainbow taken from Yavapai Point when the first big thunderstorm soaked a very thirsty canyon. Enjoy.