Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fire on the Mountain!

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.

27 comments:

  1. That last photo brings me to tears. I am such a home focused individual, it's not just a house but an extension of me...to lose it, I can't imagine. Those poor people...

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  2. I so agree with danger garden--Home is EVERYTHING. How devastating.
    Those firefighters are so brave. If only Ma Nature would play nice............

    Best of luck to you.

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  3. Shocking how many houses were lost in this fire. I've a fire just to the south of me, mostly range land, but there has been many homes lost and a life. This is a terrifying fire season. More horrifying especially for those with kids and the elderly.

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    1. I heard utah was afire also...stay safe.

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  4. Wildfire is such a terrifying thing.
    The ones around here last summer made us all aware of just how fast and far they can travel.
    When your house burns, it not only takes your home, but in most cases, all evidence of your past. We still have things...family photos and mementos...packed up, in case we might have to evacuate. That works if you're home and/or have time.
    Hope you're feeling better and that your son is safe.
    We'll keep all of these people in our prayers.

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    1. thanks Linda. I couldn't even imagine.

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  5. The whole situation is just heart breaking in so many ways. We were so fortunate on Labor Day and I know a huge part of that was the tireless work of the brave firefighters who saved our neighborhood. When we left that Sunday afternoon winds were gusting to 40 mph and smoke was filling our home. I sincerely thought we would come back to nothing. Thirty families were displaced in the Steiner fire. It could have been so much worse. My heart goes out to everyone involved and I will keep them in my prayers. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

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  6. This is so sad, that last photo is hard to look art. So very difficult for those families.

    We have friends there and have spent some time in that area and lived in Wyoming. Thanks for the eye witness account on this, I've been concerned hearing that it was close to the AFA.

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    1. Yes I believe it burned some homes at the AFA. You must have lived in Cheyenne, I went by their Botanical Garden. It was very nice.

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  7. So incredibly sad. I agree with Shirley that the last photo is just too hard to look at. I'm so glad you and your family are safe. I've been praying for an end to these fires.

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  8. How horrible. Wishing for rain to help put it all out and that no others are injured.

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    1. I've heard things are pretty warm in Kansas too.

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  9. Your photo brought me to the realization of how tragic and devastating fires are. I am glad to know you and your family are safe. I wish I could help the victims in some way.

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  10. I grew up in Colorado and don't ever remember so many huge, damaging fires in one season before. It can't have been an easy thing to witness first hand... We forget how big and powerful nature really is.

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    1. I agree, the smoke followed me all the way to wyoming. And then more fires here.

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  11. Horrible. The folks in Colorado Springs and other fire/drought areas in the country are definitely in my prayers. Very sad.

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  12. Glad that you and yours are fine... hope this fire season comes to a close quickly! (And that you stay clear enough of the smoke...)

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  13. The fires are devastating and awful. That photo of the housing addition reminds me of those I've seen after an F5 tornado. Glad you are all safe. Amazing how well people were evacuated from Colorado Springs. My best friend's son is at the Academy, but he was finished with his school year by the time they were evacuated. Enjoy Wyoming.~~Dee

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    1. Dee, thanks for stopping by. Yes,when I first saw the photos I thought the same thing, Tornado damage.

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  14. OMGosh! I had no idea the fires were still so bad in CO. My sister in law lives in Fort Collins and they had been battling fire in that general area for a few weeks during mid-June. It is SO sad to see so much beauty destroyed and people's livelihood, memories and dreams taken away. Sad, sad, sad...

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  15. Oh, so sorry so sorry. Wish I could share some rain.

    Take care of yourself Greggo.

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  16. Old folks always say it is better to be visited by robbers than by fires. At least robbers don't bring everything with them! Greggo, seeing the devastation in your photos seem so much more personal than seeing them in the news! Maybe because blogging bond people together as friends. Yes our prayers for them.

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  17. At the next to last minute we changed our plans to vacation in Colorado, in favor of Florida. I am glad we did.

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Thanks for leaving any comments, they are always welcomed. Sorry I had to add word verification as spam was becoming a huge problem. Greggo,