Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Fire Post

For those that have noticed, we haven't posted in a few weeks, not even to finish up telling the tales of our trip to the West Coast.  The biggest reason for this absence has been the Waldo Canyon Fire which is burning just over the hill from us. 

The fire started on Saturday the 23rd of June, and Julie and I just happened to be at Costco when the smoke first became visible.  We looked to the west and saw the first of the smoke plumes, which looked close to home.  We finished running our errands, and went back to see just how close it was to our house. 

The smoke from our driveway
The smoke behind the 7-11 on Centennial
 It looked pretty close, which is why it wasn't too surprising when we got notice that we were on a voluntary evacuation.  So Julie and I packed up the house a bit, and decided what we wanted to take with us and got just about everything that we would want.  Unfortunately we got a call that we were on mandatory evacuation just a few hours later, so we took off to Julie's parent's house.  With all of our stuff.  We learned later that evening that it was a false alarm (someone had tweeted it incorrectly...) and that all evacuation notices for our area were lifted. 

We stayed with Julie's parents for the weekend because my lungs couldn't really take the smoke smell too much, but it was nice to get away from the neighborhood for a bit. 
The smoke from Bill and Debbie's neighborhood
 (In the picture above the northern edge of the smoke is right over our house)

The smoke did make for some good sunsets

Life was relatively normal until Tuesday, when we got word again that we were on pre-evacuation notice, so Julie and I left work and met at home to pack our cars.  I went back to work since there wasn't much going on at the time.  Whoops.  Around 430 or so, Julie noticed that the hill side behind our house was on fire, so she went into super gathering mode, and grabbed as many clothes and other items from the house as she could.  Not too long after, a police car came driving by using the megaphone to tell people to evacuate.  Pretty scary.  This was taken right in our driveway, the same place as the smoke pictures above.

This shows the flames from our driveway
Julie stopped by one of our friend's house to make sure he was leaving too, and this is where she got these shots.

The fire above the rock quarry

Just behind this hill is the Flying W Ranch

The Wilson Ranch pool is in the foreground
We have a big rock quarry behind our house (as you can see in the pictures), and that contributed a great deal to our house still being around.  Most importantly though, the Firefighters did an amazing job keeping fire lines away from houses and saving as much as they could. 

The next week or so is a blur of emotions, as we didn't have much information as to the status of our house.  Our favorite weather man lives very close to us, and the hardest part was watching him choke up a few times on air because of the damage to our neighborhoods. 

We spent the time watching the news, and trying to find out information about our house.  We had lunch with Andy and Pam (also evacuated) one day, and went to the staging area at UCCS to see if we could see our house.  

The media staging area by UCCS
Part of our neighborhood is in the smoke way back on the hill
We had already planned a trip to Texas for Julie's cousin's wedding, so after much deliberation we decided to head down there to see family and to get a bit of a distraction.  This turned out to be a good idea, as it was wonderful to see the family and we got to go to Rachel's wedding. 

There is no good way to end this post.  We are happy to be home, but so sad that many of our neighbors lost their homes and that the hills around us were decimated by the fire.

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