|Our winter was extremely mild....it was unusual and even though many of us loved the mildness, lack of a need to shovel driveways, easier travel, etc., we all knew it was NOT a good thing. Normally, March and April are our snowiest months.... and even though I'm 'itching' to get into the garden, I know that my time will come after Mother's Day....mid-May is always the time to start planting, after the last freeze. Still a freeze can come, but it's less apt to do so. This year was so different. March and April were warm and sunny, even hot. The winds blew fiercely, and the plants and the trees and the ground became drier and drier. We knew it was leading up to a scenario of trouble. Everyone feared the potential for fire, but no one knew its reality. There were several smaller fires, most burning uninhabited lands. Most were quickly put out. Then, on June 9, 2012, we were looking at some land and I noticed a small plume of smoke. That night, the wind raged. We could hear its force insider our home.|
|The wind was so strong that a canopy set up at a local park blew down our street and around midnight, we went out, took it down, folded it up and set it on the side of the road...|
The fire quickly grew out of control. Local firefighters tried fighting the fire alone, along with other local and volunteer groups....soon it was too big to handle and national help was needed. The temperatures were in the 100's for 7 days straight and the winds were ferocious and unpredictable. The town felt as if it was under siege. Many used the word 'apocolyptic' to describe the catastrophe.
|From our neighborhood more than 2 weeks after the fire started|
|smoke and more smoke; a daily vision|
|at this point, nearly 3 weeks into the fire, there are 3 separate plumes of smoke|
Then, over our shoulders came a loud explosion and while still filming, we saw a mushroom-like plume rise above the trees.... the fire had exploded....you can hear Rod's voice in the videotape on his phone saying, "We're going to be leaving now...." That area was so badly charred, but we didn't learn that until days later when fire crews were able to get into areas that were burning....some of the terrain is so rugged and rough. Animals were coming into town, trying to escape the fires. We saw many mother deer with their fawns. A moose was sighted in a neighborhood walking down the sidewalk. 18 eaglets were taken to a local wildlife refuge for rehabilitation; they had been abandoned by their frightened parents. I know many animals must have died in the fire; I can't even begin to think about it. 259 homes were burned to the ground.
Many homes were saved, however, and people all over town made signs to show their gratitude.
|people left signs all over our town thanking the firefighters for saving their properties|
|More thank-yous for firefighters|
|Seeing helicopters was an every day sight for the past 3 weeks. They would dip into the reservoirs to take in water to douse on the flames|
|This entire skyline was completely burned and black. All the trees were burned and battered soldiers, still standing on the mountaintops.|
|This is the street I live on.... this picture taken from the upstairs bedroom|
|the sun trying to come through the smoke|
|Fort Collins in the smoke|
|Everything seemed shrouded in smoke these past few weeks|
|Horsetooth Reservoir...12 minutes from us.... homes lost here as the fire came over the peaks and into the neighborhoods|
|At night, you could see the flames...it was so frightening|
|The fire spread to approximately 130 square miles|
Yesterday, I saw images of our rivers running black....thick with ash and debris. These were crystal clear mountain rivers where anglers come from all over the world to fish world-class trout....
It's not quite the middle of July and there is hot dry weather ahead....more chances for more fires in the areas of drought-stricken forests, but there is incredible hope, perseverance, and endurance in this state and in this community..... so I do want you to know that there are MANY gorgeous places here in Colorado.... it's a tragedy of what has happened, but there are hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other disasters, natural and man-made that happen everywhere....
It's about picking up, dusting off, and starting over....
There are so many things to be thankful for. There was a huge fire last year and the people who bought our log home lost their home in that fire. This year, that home was a refuge to friends of theirs who were displaced during this fire....that makes me feel really good; when I miss my home so badly that I ache inside, I know that good people who lost everything now call that home....
I have all of my pictures, my quilts, my teacups. But most importantly, I have the love of family and friends and nothing else really matters.... good health, love, and a cup of tea.
For now....let it
At this moment, I would just like to send out positive vibes to our entire country and to our entire world.... let their be peace, love and harmony...
In each moment, there is a lesson and I have learned many these past few weeks...and for that, I am blessed.