Yes, it was true, the words out of the mouth of my youngest son. Fire on the mountain! Cindy, myself and our son John with his friend Jeremiah had just left the Colorado Renaissance Festival near Castle Rock, Colorado. We were headed back to Colorado Springs and had just passed a bend near Palmer Park when we viewed a sickening plume of white smoke. We all knew immediately there was a wildfire.
Soon the interstate 25 was blocked with traffic near the Air Force Academy. We took a shortcut and turned on the radio learning of the fire that was only 3 hours old on Saturday. We arrived near Garden of the Gods road and I got out the camera in a parking lot. On the left is Pikes Peak and black smoke from pine trees burning, this is approximately 7 hours after announced.
Everyone was in a surreal mood, non believing I suppose. The day had been extremely hot in the 100's with winds soon to follow that night. On this day is was regulated to 120 acres. It was so early in the fire, plans were still being devised. That evening before sunset, Pikes Peak to left in photo below.
A little before sunset Saturday night.
Sunday brought more winds, forever changing directions. Containment was at 0%. Firefighters were fighting high temperatures and changing winds. Winds on Sunday were blowing from the north, somewhat holding the fire in place. Smoke was appearing in town.
Monday was our day to go north to Wyoming. Firefighters were appearing in the hotel and this was the first morning I could smell pine wood burning. It was going to be a night people of Colorado Springs will not ever forget as 35,000 people were evacuated in the middle of the night. The winds caused the fire to jump two canyons to the foothills and come down on the subdivisions west of the city. I had previously lived a 1/2 mile from these homes. Soon the winds had moved the fire swiftly through the Shadow Mountain subdivision. Before that a popular tourist and local attraction, Flying W Ranch had been mostly destroyed. Having lived here and having friends in this area cause a sense of bewilderment in my soul.
Please keep the people of the springs and the firefighters around the west who are fighting many fires in your prayers! Cindy and I are now in Wyoming and getting updates from my son. Unfortunately I am allergic to smoke. However I have been able to take medicine to overcome minor discomfort. Hope things are more cheery in you neck of the woods.
Photo courtesy of The Denver Post. Shadow Mountain Subdivision after the fire.
Link to other Photos.