Two things I know for sure:
1) The majestic mountain in my backyard will never be the same again.
2) My deep gratitude for the heroic firefighters on that mountain can not be put into words...
This week has been one of the most traumatic in my life. A week ago on Saturday a large ember that had traveled for miles and miles floated down the mountain and landed on my head while I ate lunch on my deck. That was my first clue that a wildfire was burning in the nearby foothills of Pikes Peak. At first I was sure this wildfire would be like all the rest and the firefighters would be able to quickly contain it.
Mother Nature had another idea. The extreme lack of humidity and high winds created the perfect storm. The fire continued to grow each day. When fierce 65 mph winds blew across the foothills on Tuesday, the Waldo Canyon Fire jumped from canyon to canyon and into the houses of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood in Colorado Springs. Simply listing the number of houses destroyed—346—does not begin to explain the epic proportions of the ferocious fire that gobbled up everything in its path. My heart goes out to the families of the two people who perished in the fire. It was a miracle that the rest of 32,000 people who were told to evacuate their homes that day are safe. A choking brown cloud of smoke suddenly enveloped the city that Tuesday, homeowners in the path of the fire received reverse 911 calls, and in minutes long lines of cars clogged the neighborhood streets as they tried to leave. It was a nightmare.
I am one of the lucky ones. Although my neighborhood is still under mandatory evacuation due to active fires in the area, I know the amazing firefighters who put their lives on the line every day will contain the fire in this area soon. My house is safe. My parents and siblings have shared their homes and love with me all week while I have been evacuated. I am also grateful for my dear friends in Colorado Springs who have opened their house for my husband and our three dogs. I am truly humbled by my supportive community that continues to open its arms—and homes— for evacuees like me.
For information on how you can help the awesome firefighters and the community transformed by the Waldo Canyon Fire, go to:
Photo: 1) Firefighter photo via KRDO.com TV photographers. 2) Fire in neighborhood taken by my husband.