Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Black Forest and Royal Gorge Fires

Welcome to fire season in Colorado!
What? Fire season, you say?

Yep...that 's what I said. We have an entire season set aside just for fires. But never in my 26 years of living here have I seen so many! Last year it was The Springer Fire in Lake George and the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, Ute Pass, Woodland Park, etc.

I was finally able to drive down Ute Pass to Colorado Springs and not be devastated by the burn scars. Residents in the area and crews were beginning to lay out sand bags for possible landslides during the summer downpours we sometimes get when BAM! the fires erupted again. Almost a year to the day from the Waldo Canyon Fire.

First I heard about The Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge is a huge touristy-type place and hundreds were evacuated when the fire started. Now the highways are closed, an entire prison was evacuated and its "guests" moved to another facility (we're talking hundreds of inmates) and the fire continues to grow.I was devastated. We spend a fair amount of time over there. Canon City is a great place to hang out. The Arkansas River runs there and we love to whitewater raft. The river's closed from the Gorge to Canon City as well.

If that weren't enough, I then turned on the news to get an update only to find out that the Black Forest (North El Paso County, Colorado Springs) is on fire and houses were burning to the ground. This morning over 8000 acres and 100 homes (estimate from the news) have been destroyed. 7000 people have been evacuated. No containment.

It feels just like last summer when we watched as the Waldo Canyon fire came down the Front Range and took out an entire neighborhood in Colorado Springs, burned up the forest on Rampart Range, headed towards Woodland Park and threatened our very existence.

Today the air is thick and I can barely breathe. The plume from the fire is high enough that we can see it over the mountains across the street. We are praying for rain. We've been in drought for many, many years and are desperate for rain. The people of Southern Colorado are kind, caring and pull together in times of crisis. We will survive. We just need rain...and your prayers.

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