Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The whole world is on fire

Not really, but that's how it feels right now in Colorado.  (The title of this post is also a line from one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way, The Last of the Mohicans.)

The High Park fire has been burning in the northern part of the state for a couple of weeks, and has grown to be the second largest wildfire in Colorado history (the first, of course, being the Hayman fire in 2002).  I actually know someone, a fellow boarder at an old barn whom I've kept in touch with, who goes to school in Fort Collins and had to have her horse evacuated until the danger passed.

The Waldo Canyon fire started out as a threat only to Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods.  It only started on Saturday around noon, but because it started in a more populated area, the danger with this one is especially high, despite the relatively small number of acres burned so far.  (As a comparison, High Park was over 80,000 acres, and this morning the Waldo Canyon fire was only around 5,000 acres.)  About 5,000 people were evacuated over the weekend, but today the fire "exploded" (the word the headlines used) and 30,000 people in northwest Colorado Springs were evacuated, including the Air Force Academy at about 7:30 this evening.  Also this evening, the fire started reaching homes -- until today, miraculously, no homes had been burnt.

You can see pictures of this fire here: Waldo Canyon Fire near Garden of the Gods and Waldo Canyon fire erupts with more evacuations.  There are some amazing and sickening photos of homes being engulfed in flames, the fires on the hill with the city spread out underneath, and the Doomsday orange-and-black cloud currently overhanging the city.

There is also a fire now in Boulder, the Flagstaff fire, and parts of Boulder are on evac and pre-evac.  And of course, these are just three of many wildfires currently burning around the state.  It's bad, and as some of the more major cities are starting to be hit, it's rather alarming.  Denver is pretty much sitting in the center, surrounded on three sides by fire!  Not that I think the fire will get here, but never say never, right?

The dry, hot conditions have definitely been contributing to the fire danger.  Today was our fifth day in a row of 100+ degree heat, which tied us with a record -- five consecutive days of triple-digit heat has only happened twice before, once in 1989 and once in 2005, according to this article on Denver's heat wave records.  Also, our high for yesterday was 105 degrees, an all-time high temperature which has only been reached twice before in Colorado history: in 1878, and again in 2005.

I saw a photo today on Facebook that showed a picture of Mordor and Mount Doom with a sign announcing "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" photoshopped in the foreground.  I think that pretty much sums up the current conditions in our state!

I haven't been out to see the horses during our run of triple-digit temps, but I'm hoping to go tomorrow evening.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a little cooler (read: high 90s, which at this point is a little cooler!).



At June 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

Our daughter lives in central/east Colorado Springs.

Scary pictures!!!!

At June 27, 2012 at 5:26 AM, Blogger RiverBend Farm said...

It's been in the three digits here too...too hot to do anything outside. I'm afraid we're going to be dealing with fire bans here too like we had out of control fires last summer. I pray we don't. It's a scary thing.

At June 27, 2012 at 6:02 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Those pictures of the fire are heartbreaking. That is scary how close they are to highly populated areas. A long, long time ago, my husband and I were looking at living in either Colorado Springs or Fort Collins.

At June 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

RiverBend, I hate it when it's this hot! I feel like I ought to be visiting my horses, but it's far too hot to do anything with them -- and by the time it cools down, I'm beat from my busy day. I will be glad when my schedule is a little less busy in a couple of weeks.

Hopefully the fire bans will work and you won't have any wildfires!

NM, I saw the figures in the headlines this morning, and there have been 200-some homes lost in the High Park fire in Fort Collins, and 300-some in the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs. Waldo Canyon is officially the most destructive fire in Colorado history!

At July 5, 2012 at 10:49 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Aghhh! The other night, when I posted RiverBend's and NM's comments, it was the only one there. Now Blogger is telling me for the first time about Pam's comment! (Along with 22 other comments from the past four months that I was never notified about! I wondered why no one was commenting...)

Pam, how is your daughter? Hopefully untouched by the fire? My sister lives there, but thankfully on the other side of town from the fire.


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