Tuesday, June 26, 2012

State of Fire

This last weekend has lead to a rather unsettling development for me and so many others in and around my area. A fire started in Waldo Canyon around noon Saturday the 23rd. This fire has grown considerably since then and was stated at 5,100 acres early this morning. They won't have another updated number until tomorrow morning. The only time they can take readings is at night with inferred scanning overhead.

It has been anywhere from 87 to 102 degree here, which only adds to the risk of this fire spreading faster. Colorado generally has little to no humidity, which again just aids the fire and not us. The higher the temperture and the lower the humidity the faster a fire can burn and the higher it can get. Doesn't help that in the area where I live its always windy. Its NEVER not windy and in most cases its blowing towards us because the pass acts as a tunnel.

Waldo Canyon is located just south east of the pass, but has an entrance from HWY 24 (which is the main access to my area from Colorado Springs and is the "Ute Pass" HWY) so its very close to several communities. So far no houses have burned and it hasn't been allowed to jump the HWY and create a tunnel effect. If that were to happen the fire would spread insanely fast and so many homes would be destroyed. It would also cause my town, Woodland Park, to be evaculated. As it stands right now we are in pre-evacuation notice. Meaning if it shifts our way, which it has regularly, we should be ready to leave at a moments notice. I have a suitcase and documents in my trunk ready for the notice to leave. We have a cooler in the garage with sode and water just waiting.

There are close to 7 fires burning in our state alone. Thankfully we have almost half the airborne fire suppression force in the country in Colorado right now. The High Park Fire in Ft. Collins is the biggest right now at close to 90,000 acres. They said about 250 homes have been lost and one life in that fire. Its been SO dry here and the winds we get are just making things so much harder.
The incredibly horrible part is that our fire, Waldo Canyon, may have been cause by arson. Teller county, where I live, had over 20 seperate arson fires before the 23rd. Each was located and put out fairly quickly, but its horrible to think some one would be so stupid, no criminially insane, to even think it!

The most stressing part is knowing my friends and co-workers have been forced from their homes. Saturday was a very stressful time at work. We were getting word but it was so scattered and confusing. Then we started getting notices that areas were being told to evacuate. Shortly after 9am Sunday morning the closed down access to HWY 24 completely. Mom had left for work, so she was forced to drive to Canon City and then out past Lake George before finally heading in the right direction. It was an extra 2 and a half hour drive. Luckily the hospital allowed her to leave early so she wouldn't have to make that drive in the dark.

(These are from my work parking lot. I know it doesn't seem close, but believe me its closer than it looks. Much closer.)
I still have to go to work, because we are not in a manditory evacuation area. The smoke can at times just be horrible. The A/C system at work pumps it in and creates just a horrible work environment in the back storage rooms. Unfortunally turning it off would only make it so much worse. Its kind of terrifying to see the smoke colloums over the ridge and know that all you can do is hope and pray it doesn't come over the ridge and you get forced to leave.

These are views as I'm driving towards work. This is the light before my job. The smoke later turned more northwest and covered the whole ridge line seen in the left side of these pictures. At night it just sits over the town and makes it so hard to breath. Its just too hot to keep windows closed, but sometimes it just gets so bad you have to close everything up.


Its hard to see but if you look beside and under the last street lamp you will see a darker section. That dark cloud is a new spread of fire and its burning new fuels (like trees) and so it gets very dark.

These were taken this morning leave my subdivision. It the morning the smoke doesn't spread out, but billows up. Today it did both. 

I'm hoping that this will be out soon and that we can all go back to our lives. Then again... just found out there was a new fire reported in Boulder. My poor state is on fire.

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