Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colorado is burning

I live on the plains east of Colorado Springs; it takes me about 20 minutes on residential roads to drive into the city.  Right now Colorado Springs, as you might have seen on the news, is experiencing a firestorm of epic proportions.  It started on Saturday, far outside of town in Waldo Canyon, and has spread quickly.
Yesterday, I was in Colorado Springs for an appointment and took this photo from Academy Blvd., north.  I was in the parking lot of a thrift store, and the air was smoky and stinky.  This was about 9:15 am.  I was very surprised to see it so close.
Photo by Danielle Mortensen via Facebook
Here's that same fire, from a similar vantage point at a mall down the street from that thrift store, around 5 pm.  In the late afternoon, we had unexpected wind gusts of up to 65 mph and the fire jumped all its boundaries and came into town.  Many homes have been lost.
Yesterday afternoon, we knew without even turning on the TV that the fire had taken a turn for the worse when we saw the sky.  Even where we are, 15 miles east of the flames, this was the view from my front yard.
It just got worse and worse, and we just sat around with friends watching the images from town on TV and murmured prayers and admiration for the firefighters and emergency personnel battling the blaze.  We have had no rain for weeks, record-breaking high temperatures, and those winds.   Today we have more hot weather and winds in the forecast.  It doesn't look good.
Here's this morning's evacuation map; the fire more than doubled in size as we slept -- now 16k acres; 32,000 residents have been evacuated from Colorado Springs neighborhoods alone.  We don't know a lot of people from those areas personally -- just a couple -- but our hearts go out to them.
In the coming hours and days, as emergency management improves, we will have opportunities to help out the evacuees, and help those who have already lost homes to rebuild.  For now, though, we are all instructed to stay indoors, out of the smoke, and away from the affected areas so that the crews can do their work. 
Please don't worry about me or my family!  Ben is home this week, and Dennis' job is in a still-safe area.  We're in wait-and-see mode, not at all expecting to be evacuated but readying ourselves should the fire continue heading east.  As we've already seen with this fire, it is crazy strong and unpredictable!

13 comments :

Claudia said...

I am so glad that you and your family are safe. My prayers go out to everyone touched by this fire.

Jann said...

I saw all the latest about this on the news this morning--my heart and prayers go out to all the people who are affected by this horrific fire. Glad you and your family are safe, and I pray that the
firefighters,police, and residents of Colorado Springs are, too.

Marion said...

You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers since this fire began. Be safe, Laurie. Love & Hugs. xo

Kathy said...

My heart aches for everyone there! I have a work friend there and he said the evacuation came within 1/2 mile of his house last night. Stay safe!!

pam said...

Every time I see something going on in Colorado I think about you. Definitely stay out of the smoke in the air. Seems like every summer lately we get fires south of here in The Great Dismal Swamp and after a few hours of the smell depending on the wind I start getting headaches. On a lighter note...of course you took that picture in a THRIFT store parking lot ;) Stay safe!

Michele's Treasures, Teacups, and Tumbling Rose Cottage said...

Oh, DO stay safe!
~Michele

Michaele said...

Glad you're safe- wife and children of a friend have cancelled their trip home from visiting grandparents, and are staying in Alaska while husband (Air Force) helps evacuate their friends and their own home.

Good thoughts, and hoping for LOTS of rain.

Linda Sue said...

Heard that srson is suspected...just so sad- the flying W gone! We went there with Erik when he was three but he was too tired for cowboys so he and I spent most of the time in the car...me telling him stories. Just WOW fire does not mess around- traveling at over 60 mph! Just know that if you want a reprieve you can come up here where the rain never stops and we have a couple of charity shops- Loads of camping places for Ben...

khess136 said...

Prayers are with all of Colorado. These fires are devastating as we are very vulnerable in AZ. So glad you and your loved ones are safe, dear Laurie.
xoxo
Karen

Lisa said...

Praying for the people of Colorado. How scary. :(

Tamatha said...

Glad you are currently safe. I had a dream about the fires a couple days ago. It's so scary! Lots of prayers!

autena said...

I've been wondering if you were near that area. Stay safe and know our thoughts are with you. Maybe a rain dance would help?...

Linda said...

Am I glad to know you are all well and doing Ok. I lived out west and the fires are something you can't believe until you live thru it. Wicked scary. prayers and blessings.