During the summer months Flagstaff, Arizona, draws a great many people seeking to escape the blazing heat of the low desert. Some stay in hotels, others have cabins. For the homeless, there's also a lure, as they're able to camp comfortably in the woods outside town, enjoying mild weather in a friendly, progressive college town.
The migration doesn't come without complications, however.
This week's New Times cover story looks at the relationship between the hordes of backpacking homeless and the picturesque city that is trying to deal with them.
While Flagstaff provides a nice break from the harsh weather of Phoenix, residents of the small mountain city live in fear of the havoc these long-term visitors can cause -- like wildfires.
Last year's Hardy fire was started by a homeless Californian transient who set up camp in the woods on the outskirts of Flagstaff.
But despite the dangers the mountains continue to provide a sort of welcoming camp ground for homeless, creating the type of "hobo culture" most Arizona residents associate with the blue-skied college town.
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