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    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Waldo Canyon Fire

    Unless you live in the Land of Oz, you’ve probably heard about the Waldo Canyon Fire near and in Colorado Springs. We live on the northeast side of town and are safe, but we have friends who are still under evacuation and some who’ve lost their homes to the blaze. I think our whole town is in shock, nevertheless it’s amazing to see the community and all the organizations pulling together to fight this fire.

    This photo was taken from our house on Saturday shortly after the fire broke out.

    Over the next few days, the fire grew, edging closer to Colorado Springs and threatening smaller towns along Highway 24, which runs west from the Springs up to Woodland Park. Then on Tuesday, the situation exploded. The fire grew to three times its size, burning homes on the west side, and creating what authorities referred to as a perfect firestorm.

    This is the view out of my car window as the kids and I drove home from the movies on Tuesday afternoon. This was the beginning of that horrific firestorm.

    Soon after we got home, the smoke was thick and choking around our house. We watched as the news showed footage of people evacuating, gridlocked in traffic as they tried to flee the fire. Then, as the night continued, the news cameras focused on burning homes. Those are sights I’ll never forget. Out our bedroom window we could see flames on the night-darkened hillside. In fact, the view on most nights since the fire started has looked something like this.

    This is an extended exposure photo of Blodget Peak taken by Dave Soldano.

    Today we’ve heard good news and bad. 346 homes were burned Tuesday night. Tonight there was a meeting for families on 35 different streets in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood. They were informed if their home was one to go up in flames. Continued prayer is appreciated for those families and all those affected by the fire. But we did have a better day as far as the fire-fighting efforts go. They are at 10% containment at this time and have lifted a few of the mandatory evacuations.

    As I said before, I’m just astounded at the cooperation of those fighting this fire. Here’s a pic taken by Rick Colombo of a few of the firefighters.

    Talk about heroes!

    There are more than 2,000 people fighting this fire. Now, my friends and family know that I don’t care for personal contact, which doesn’t stop my boys from playing a game called “Hug Mommy till She Cries.” I have a big personal space bubble. But I would hug each and every one of those 2,000 firefighters if I could. Of course, it would probably take me around 5 years to recover from that much human contact. My husband might get lonely in that time, so it’s a good thing I can’t hug all those folks.

    But there is something I can do. Organizations like the Red Cross and Care and Share are releasing lists of needed items for the evacuees and the fire-fighters. This morning they mentioned the firefighters needed socks. When I was at Costco today, I saw cart after cart with multiple packages of socks, obviously intended for the firefighters. It sort of made me want to cry.

    I know it sounds trite, but it really is humbling to be able to provide items that will go directly to the evacuees and the firefighters. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. To buy a package of protein bars and know that a couple exhausted guys will cram them down before heading out to battle flames—Wow!

    Now if I only I could STOP eating like a firefighter. My body hasn’t gotten the message that watching the news while draped over a swamp cooler does not qualify as a crisis. I’m all about the comfort food and the ice cream right now.

    And my favorite exercise, walking the dog, is out of the question due to the smoke in the air and my asthma. When this is all over I’ll be a few pounds heavier, but so very grateful for what God had blessed me with.

    If you’d like to help with efforts in Colorado, here are a few links where you can donate.

    Red Cross

    Salvation Army

    Help Colorado Now

    And here’s a link to a photo essay from DenverPost.com. It’s indescribable.


    Dani said...

    Great post - just picked it up on the Twitter feed. I've been monitoring the CSFD live scanner for days, and I agree. The astounding level of professionalism and cooperation within the organization is inspiring. And the heartfelt show of support from most of the public. I have been truly impressed, and really believe this could have been a lot worse without the tight team effort. I am truly awed. And now I'll try and get through your catpcha code which I can't read. ;)

    Daphne said...

    It truly has been an amazing thing to see the ways that the community has come together. Another way that people can show their support is in purchasing Wild Fire Tees! 100% of the proceeds go to the Colorado Red Cross or Care and Share. http://www.wildfiretees.com/

    Evangeline Denmark said...

    Thanks for your comment, Dani. The authorities keep saying they've trained and prepared for disasters such as this. I admit to being a bit of an ostrich about such things. I never wanted to think such a thing could happen in CS. I'm profoundly thankful for all those wiser than I who put countless hours into emergency preparedness. Every single one of these folks is a hero.

    Evangeline Denmark said...

    Thanks for sharing the Wild Fire Tees link, Daphne! I forgot that one.

    Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

    You'd probably have some competition if you tried to hug all those firefighters!


    Evangeline Denmark said...

    Maybe we could form teams and have a Hug Squad. That'd cut down on my recovery time too!

    kersley.fitz said...

    If you would, please explain to me why Willie's comrade in fur has decided that 100 degrees and smokey is the perfect weather for long walks? I really do not know what is up with that child!

    Hopefully they can frolic together tonight?

    Beth K. Vogt said...

    I'm all for hugging the firefighters too. Let's start a hugging chain ...

    So thankful to be 8 days out and hear 55% percent contained. I know there is still work to do ... but I am so, so thankful aother day is behind us.