The State of The State (Of Colorado and The Fires)

Update early morning Wednesday: I’m all right.  I’m going in search of caffeine and checking the news.  I checked last at four am and the fire remained safely on the other side of I-25

Just a quick update.  First, so far my family and I are absolutely in no danger.  For the fire to get to us, most of the city will need to be burned down.

HOWEVER it’s hard to believe that, when you have falling ash, a visible smoke cloud outside, the entire town smells like a fireplace, and you can see the smoke plume and associated redness from your house.

There is an apocalyptic feel to the landscape, not playing well with my slight depression after the flu.  (I am now perfectly all right, btw.)  To counteract it, I spent most of the day outside starting the long overdue and desperately needed yard overall (in itself a feeling of the apocalypse ) and I bought a new American flag because flying the flag in front of the house ALWAYS makes me feel happy inside.

Meanwhile, the doctor with whom I have an appointment together (unrelated to the flu, though the problem might underlie the general weakness) has called and I wonder if they’re cancelling because they’re ON THAT side of town, and well…

It’s very odd to have places where our friends live and where my husband used to work being evacuated.  Odd to see my son’s just-left high school as a staging area for the media.

Let’s hope it rains.  Let’s hope it rains hard, but without one of those high-wind nights that often heralds weather shifts in Colorado.  I don’t think we can have the wind.

Those of you of a praying turn of mind, pray for Colorado Springs.  To paraphrase Don Camillo, if the houses of decent people were fireproof, I’d ask that the fire tear through the town.  But since the houses of good people are made of the same material as the houses of scoundrels, I hope we’ll be spared, yet this time.

(And Boulder is on pre-evacuation orders, because of yet another fire.)

It is now confirmed that Flying W Ranch has burned to the ground as have several houses in the Mountain Shadows subdivision.

I’m checking more or less continuously for updates on the fire.  A grim game of “Where Is Waldo.”

52 responses to “The State of The State (Of Colorado and The Fires)

  1. ppaulshoward

    Take care.

  2. Praying for you and your family. I have lived through a few fires (a hurricane, some earthquakes) and they always feel apocalyptic.

  3. If anyone wants to join the rest of us insomniacs in trying to keep up with this, here are a few good Facebook links: 11

    Here are a few direct links to TV studios/newspapers.

  4. Y’all are on my prayer list. The light through smoke, and the glow at night, always raise the hair on my neck, no matter how far away the flames are.

  5. Praying, praying, praying, praying…your message got to me while I was having nightly Bible study with my parents, and we had a special prayer. BE SAFE, BE PREPARED, BE CAREFUL. You are loved.

  6. I lived with this, from the time that I was about 5 years old. The smell of brush fires burning, the wierd look of the sky with clouds darkening the sunshine at mid-afternoon, and ash blowing along the streets … and looking up at the mountains, and seeing a line of fire coming down over them from east to west, end to end along the horizon as far as you could see…
    And the distant sound of sirens, constant …
    It’s been over 105 in Texas today – when we water the plants in the garden, my daughter always turns the hand-held sprinkler over the fence and waters a bit of the green-mostly-brown belt behind our house. My parent’s house – the one she lived in and loved – burned in the 2003 Paradise Mountain fire. My parents had about half an hour to grab what they valued and go.

  7. Laura Runkle

    For you, and for my high-school buddy now living in Fort Collins, and for relatives living in Boulder, and college friends living in Denver, and friends living in Salida, and others living north, south, east, and west. We need rain here, but you can have our milion-dollar rain for the next three nights. That gentle rain that just keeps on going and going and going without wind or storms, but over the course of a single night gives you almost two inches – steady, soft rain. Cool, clear rain.

  8. Good luck. I wish I could send the soaking rain we got earlier.

  9. I wind send you all the rain we got today, but it came with 40 mph winds, so I don’t think you want it. You will be in my prayers though.

  10. We went through this here around Austin last year – the closest the wildfires got to me was about a mile away, but it would have had to burn quite a bit of very expensive real estate to get to me from there, so I wasn’t too worried.

    Still, keep the bug out bag packed, and have pre-planned how to handle kids and cats, and you should be fine.

  11. It is said G-d answers all prayers. Sadly, so does a Magic 8-Ball. Here’s a prayer your answers aren’t hazy. Here’s to a nice gentle soaking 3-day rain.

  12. I’m headed to bed, so I can get a 7YO to bed. I hate to think what I’ll wake up to tomorrow.

  13. I hope you and your loved ones stay safe.

    On the plus side, maybe you can work this into the setting or plot of an upcoming work. 😀

  14. Melvyn Barker

    I’m glad you are over the ‘flu, and I hope you and your family are safe and don’t have to evacuate. I just looked at ‘photos of the fires on the internet and they look horrendous. Please take care and stay safe.

  15. Linus: “The rain falleth ‘pon the just and the unjust alike.”
    Snoopy: “Yes, but why us in-betweens?”

  16. I know what you’re going through. In 1984, a huge wildfire burned all the way to the train tracks next to the factory I was working in…mad scramble evacuations are something I know about. If there is ash in the air, and you seem to be susceptible to respiratory stuff, please wear a dust mask when you go outside. Sending prayers to you all for a safe outcome and no fatalities. No matter what, property is just that. People and pets are hard to replace (grin).

  17. Well, *somebody* took Seattle’s constant rain today (bright object in sky. Is this normal??) so maybe it is headed your way. I hope so — our rain is very damp. You will find it useful.

  18. Keep in mind that to get to Colorado Springs proper the fire would have to jump the river, then jump the multiple railroad tracks, then jump I 25. And after that there isn’t much vegetation for about 100 yards, a natural firebreak. The current maps are horrifying till you look at where I am and where the Hoyts are. And remember the evacuation area is much much bigger than the actual fire zone.

    • yes. I 24 has held as a fire break, and it’s much, much narrower than I-25. OTOH the weather they’re predicting this afernoon (after three) makes it all unpredictable. Right now the North East is at more risk than us in the central area.

  19. And local media coverage is, frankly, mostly garbage. It’s very difficult to find a current usable map of the fire, several tv stations etc. are using topographical maps which give you no idea where the streets and neighborhoods are. Or a street map with cute little candle fire icons spread about. I learned as much about the fire last night at Zombie Squad Forum as I could from local media.

  20. In our prayers of course Sarah.

    Paula Goodlett is sitting at home north of Tampa with major roads cut by sinkholes opening under them after 2 feet of rain from Debbie washed the sand out of the limestone under the roads, and houses around her have collapsed. Meanwhile, you are praying for rain.

    It’s a crazy world.

    Latest incident reports on the waldo canyon fire at

  21. In military terms, the firefighters’ plans seem to be “Hold the line before Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City and Manitou at all costs. Save the mountain tourist sites if possible. Sacrifice isolated evacuated buildings to the West if necessary.” It’s those deliberately sacrificed homes and businesses we’re hearing about.
    I think the strategy toward the actual fire zone is to form a circle of protection around the fire zone. They don’t move into the unburned sections almost surrounded by fire, too much danger of firefighters being overrun by fire. So the expansion of the fire yesterday was the fire expanding from the frankly obscene shape it had for most of the day to a near cirle, close to the ring held by the firefighters.

  22. In a wildfire situation firefighters tend to defend built up areas and give the fire a free pass into the hinterlands. Which means that if you are out there, well, its time to go. Depends on resources available, of course (and there are never enough). If they have C.A.F.S. pumps or Gel generators they can blanket a house(s) and protect it from fire (with some eco impact and clean up cost if they are using Gel).

    It isn’t the actual fire that’s often dangerous so much as the ember-wash up in the air in front of it. Might want to keep an eye on that and be ready to hose the roof.

    God bless. You are in our prayers.

  23. Do you accept spells done in your behalf? I’m new agey in that department – I believe there is something, I doubt that something requires some specific approach (or more, perhaps, I refuse to believe in a god who’d take only ‘true believers’, whatever that ‘true belief’ would happen to be, and leave anybody who happened to be born in the wrong country/family/age out in the cold), so I do what feels good to me. I started out more or less as a Wiccan, but they are a bit too left leaning in their thinking in most cases, so I guess I’m just pagan now.

    So, I don’t pray. I work spells. The damn things actually seem to work sometimes too, although when that happens it seems to be in a sort of improving the chances way (no hope of materializing a million on the living room table, sorry to say), meaning if I was, say, already actively looking for a new apartment I’d get better offers after doing the spell than I got before it… Well, I guess the main thing, for me, is that I just enjoy doing the rituals. So I could do one for windless rain for that area, if you have nothing against that, but no guarantees of results. 🙂

    • ANYTHING for windless rain — prayers, spells, rain dances. I’ll even take flying overhead and peeing on the fire, if any of you can shift into a dragon form.

      Right now worried about husband who has insisted on traversing city to go to office to do backups.

      • If I could shift into a dragon, I would totally bring buckets of water — and drink a lot of Iced Tea before I got there.

        • If I could shift into a dragon, the world would be a lot more fun… 😉

          Alas, I’m pretty confident that when the 4th Infantry Division left Ft Carson it took the Aviation Brigade with it, so any Blackhawks with “Cherry Buckets” would have to be flown in from… Texas, I suppose, unless the Colorado National Guard has them. Not sure that’s an ideal solution for residential areas.
          Not sure if the heavy lifters (CH47 Chinooks) are still there, they weren’t a division unit. OTOH, they were/are the only Army helicopter that can operate at the altitudes required to to search and rescue anywhere in the Rockies, so, unless their services were required elsewhere…

          • Drang, we now have the 10th Special Forces, with their helicopter assets. The problem is, they’re under federal control, and haven’t been released. The C-130s are making retardant drops (just had one of them fly over my house on his way back in), but that’s all the federal assistance I know about at this time. Things may change when/if the Air Force Academy itself is threatened. We ARE getting help from other firefighters, some from as far away as Kansas. Unfortunately, we’re not the only place where there are active wildfires at the moment.

      • I’m less likely to piss as a dragon than to piss off a dragon — but I worry that dragon urine may be flammable (I’m sure their farts must be.)

      • pohjalainen

        Okay, a rain spell will be performed tonight.

      • The Norse rune for water is Laguz. Thinking of it as gentle rain instead of hard rain (hard rain can cause landslides after a fire).

        • You should have seen my sons doing their version of a rain dance in the kitchen ten minutes ago. I might have done myself damage laughing.

          • so funny – lots of noise and movement??? I personally suspect that the American Indian elders sent the young ones off to rain dance to get them out of their hair. lol Lots of energy and lots of movement… maybe tire them out.

  24. Dorothy Grant

    If your smoke is anything like the forest fires I’ve breathed, please wear a dust mask and protect your lungs when outside.

    We’ve been hoping against all odds that that the tropical storm would come north up to Tennessee to die in a gentle rain; I shall pray for a slow, gentle rain for you, too.

  25. Rick Boatright

    they were right… the damage from smoke is done by chemistry and by particles too small for dust masks. You need a respirator with an activated charcoal filter. which are a pain to wear.

  26. You need a respirator with an activated charcoal filter. which are a pain to wear.

    Which I have done, for up to twelve hours at a time (military gas mask – you get MIGHTY thirsty). We’re just staying indoors, with the swamp cooler running, hoping for the best.

  27. My daughter and her husband still can’t get back into their house because their utility lines run through Mountain Shadows, and are destroyed. It will probably be Monday or Tuesday before they can be restored, and my daughter can move back home.