Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fire Season


Once again, Colorado marches into summertime parched from lack of rain.  Once again, Colorado burns.

It is no fun.

Since Tuesday, when temps skyrocketed to record highs and a hot and gusty wind picked up, the sky has been a murky brown color and the air smells of smoke. There are three major fires burning, with several more smaller ones burning around the state.  The biggest and most devastating is the Black Forest Wildfire burning north of Colorado Springs.  As of this morning, 360+ homes have burned to the ground, this makes it the most destructive in Colorado history.  And here we thought last year, with the Waldo Canyon fire that burned about 340 homes, was bad enough.  It just makes me feel sick to my stomach thinking about it--yes, a lot of these homes were owned by millionaires, who have the money and the insurance to replace everything--but still, these were these people's homes, with sentimental and emotional value. 

A lot of livestock has been displaced.  The area burning is a heavily forested, more rural community where backyard farms are common.  My friend, J, has an evacuated horse staying at her farm.  Fair grounds are quickly filling up and there is a lot of footage on the news of horses, donkeys, ponies, and mules wandering the roads.  Many of them are loose because firefighters had to cut their fences to let them go least they be killed by the swiftly advancing flames.  I pray they are reunited with their owners. 

Further south a fire has torn through the iconic Royal Gorge National Park.  A lot of the park buildings have burned, and the vertical railway has been heavily damanged... though it appears the bridge is still OK with only minimal damage. 

I am getting smoke and haze as a result of a fire burning in Rocky Mountain National park.  It's a rural fire way back in the park and far, far away from any structures.  But, because of the amount of beetle kill pine in the area and no foreseeable moisture in the forecast they are putting forth an effort to subdue the fire least it explode to unmanageable porportions.  Normally, they would let the fire run it's course as nature would intend... but with the extreme drought conditions, this is not a safe option.

The sunset last night was beautiful, the sky was an amazing, vibrant color of mingled reds, pinks, and oranges.  And while I enjoyed admiring it, I knew in the pit of my stomach a lot of that color was because of the smoke in the air. 

So, here we go again.  Last year we spent several months breathing smoke from the High Park fire, a fire which surged to over 87,000 acres (the second largest fire in colorado history) and one where I could watch the red fire lines march across the foothills at night from my backdoor.  It was errie.

I was hearing about flooding and leeve breaches in other parts of the county a few days ago... man, what I wouldn't give to have a good dousing of that kind of rain here right now.  We had a good bit of rain going on a month ago, and everything got so green, but now we haven't seen rain in a few weeks and I pray this doesn't continue.  We don't need another drought year, hay is already expensive enough!!


I would gladly send you some East Coast rain if I could!

Ugh. I hate fire season. We're teetering on the brink of it right now. I think last year was some sort of record for horrible and this year is super dry. :-/ Hang in there.

Stay safe!

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