Fire! Fire! Fire! hehehehehehhe....
Yeah. Not funny.
Waldo Canyon Fire came to visit my beautiful city yesterday afternoon. It was bad enough knowing it was in the mountains I loved, but the conditions were juuuuust right for it to jump all containment on our side and get down into the Canyon, getting itself settled into some of the most beautiful neighborhoods we have. Peregrine, Mountain Shadows, Rockrimmon... Rockrimmon is about 5 minutes from my house across I-25.They evacuated all three neighborhoods, thank God, and it sounds like everyone got out safe, but so many may not have anything to go home to.
I'm watching aerial footage from one of our local stations, and they're zooming in on all the homes that destroyed..and all those still standing, seemingly untouched. They are trying to figure out where the helicopter is...but I don't know that I want to really know. It still seems like it is somewhere else altogether. There's still fire burning, but it seems not quite as angry at the moment and it's not eating through neighborhoods right now.
Last night was frightening. As they are calling for mandatory evacuations all over the place in neighborhoods near me, some embers lit some brush just next to I25 last night, and had they not gotten to it in time, it very well could have crossed under and gotten here. I have probably 10 of my families who lost a house, two I know of for sure--one happened to have the TV on and watched their house burn down... Many more were evacuated, but may still have a home..but won't know for a while.
One of our most famous attractions completely burned to the ground yesterday afternoon when all of this started...Flying W Ranch. I know I'd been, but I really don't remember it...and now it's gone. The family that owned it, I went to HS with one of the grandsons...and I had no idea that it was theirs. All this time I thought that it was this corporately owned entity...but it wasn't. It was owned and run by a family...and it was everything to them. And now it is gone. July they would have celebrated 60 years.
Here's a link to kind of explain what went on last night..and what we face today.
I am just overwhelmed...emotionally and mentally... One of the weather guys last night, when they evacuated his neighborhood, got very emotional and had to leave to check on his family. They got out safe, but his panic was so evident. And I'm sure, had he not been on TV at that moment, it would have been a thousand times worse. The on-air people have apologized so many times for losing their "professionalism"...please. Why apologize? They're human...had they remained stoic, I would have worried more.
Last night, Brad said, "I'm probably being silly, but I want you to put a few things together in case we have to leave." His plan was to go south to Pueblo where we have a friend with a very large house--she could handle having him and his mom, his two dogs, my two cats, my mom and I, and the widow lady across the street from him that he'd arranged to take with him. The news kept saying, if you evacuate, take just the most important stuff...papers, photos, and your family and pets. I packed two bags, my house paperwork, a few pictures of my dad and family, my school mac and iPad, cat food and extra bowls, and pulled out the cat carriers. I'll leave it packed for now. After last night..you never know.
I'm still scared. My heart is still in my throat. The smoke is so overpowering and it's permeated everything...can't keep the doors shut because of the heat... You didn't need AC in Colorado a few years ago...we might have two days of 80, but then it was comfortable. Now we've had two weeks (in some places more) of high 90s-100.
When the smoke over the foothills lifts, I don't know if I want to look.
To look out there tonight, it's as though the carnage from yesterday never happened. There are still small plumes of smoke throughout the foothills, but you can't see any flames, and the sun and sky are the right colors...not orange and red.
Here is a story written by one of our local writers to illustrate what lsat night was like for so many of those who had to evacuate fast:
Our neighborhood is out of danger right now, though given our weather conditions, that could change. That's the thing about Colorado...wait five minutes and the weather will change. You never dress for now, you dress for what might be later.
I went out and had drinks with friends tonight...I felt really guilty...as though I was doing something wrong...that staying inside, worrying myself silly was somehow honoring or empathizing with those who have lost homes or are still displaced. I've heard that we lost anywhere between 200-300 homes last night altogether, but they aren't positive. The pictures and footage from everything last night is overwhelming. My heart aches just watching it...
But for now...things are quiet. To look outside my house you can't even tell there is anything going on. If you look west, toward the foothills...there's some smoke on top of the peaks and in the valleys, but nothing like it has been. Now we wait...to see what happens next. But in the meantime, life goes on. Brad's neighbor is mowing his lawn, after all.