Since we got back from Florida, the weather here has been scorching hot. Especially hot for us with no water relief anywhere. We've been under these Red Flag warnings where no outdoor burning is allowed. No campfires. No fireworks. No fire pits. Nothing that can spark. The end. There are advisories running non-stop about fire preparedness and having your Firebox ready to go at a moment's notice. As of yesterday, we have two OTHER garhugic wildfires burning in our state . . . one that is close to being contained near Estes Park, but efforts are being hampered by, (get this), tourists hanging around watching the fire crews. There is a second fire burning west of Fort Collins that has been burning for over a week. It had last taken 81,000 acres and almost 200 homes, and is 45% contained.
Yesterday, we were playing doubles volleyball in the park and left about noon. And we noticed this giant plume of smoke that appeared to be alarmingly close to us. It really looks like it's RIGHT on THIS side of the mountain. Yep, within an hour . . . news coverage was starting. And, yes, it IS in our backyard. This is a picture from my driveway:
This fire is in one of my favorite Colorado hiking canyons. By about 1:30 or 2:00, mandatory evacuations had already been set in place . . . .
By evening time, just about the entire west side of the city was under voluntary evacuations as the wind has shifted. We have a gymnastics team family who fell under mandatory evacuation. Hundreds of families are displaced right now.
Here's a picture taken at about 6:30 last night:
I stayed up to watch late news last night. The report was at 2,500 acres and 0% contained last night at almost midnight. Through the night, this thing kept going, switched directions a couple of times and is ravaging the west side and the mountains west of us. Oh my gosh. Why are things so much more scary at night? Seriously . . . look at this beast!
This morning, mandatory evacuations have been extended to include all of Manitou Springs, Chipeta Park & Green Mountain Falls. (Hey, Disney . . weren't you wanting to cabin-vacation in that area?) The News stations are alive with information this morning and tons of viewer pictures. All the wildlife, of course, is down in town so there are animals EVERYWHERE. One viewer sent in a picture of a HUGE bear walking across the street where my kids go to school!!
Pray, folks, pray. These firefighters need your words. These families need everyone that can to send some words up. A whole bunch of rain would be awesome.