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!