Saturday, June 15, 2013

It Has Been a Long Week....

Horses run as wind blows smoke into the pasture
A wall of dark smoke looms large over the horizon
A house is fully engulfed with flames in the midst of the Black Forest Fire
DC-10 slurry bomber fights the Black Forest Fire

A car and house are completely destroyed from the Black Forest

Sgt. Marketha Flintroy of the 193rd MP Battalion stands watch

Black Forest Fire evacuees Larry and Deborah Bowin, Rev. Jimmy Lilley, volunteers, and 8 foster children are praying at the parking of Walmart in Colorado Springs.
I got a chuckle this morning when I heard one of the Colorado weather forecasters feeling the need to explain 'relative humidity'. You can take the Girl out of the City....hmmmm. The Black Forest fire was very scary. I say 'was', with caution, as it has not been 100% contained as of this hour. (The 6:15PM press conference marked the fire @ 55% containment). The loss of 2 lives, 478 homes turned to complete ash, 7000 more still being assessed, close to 3000, untouched. We are a mere 7 miles SW of the Black Forest. Last year, when the Waldo Canyon fire was taking place, I was still relatively new to living in Colorado, and did not understand the terrain, the wide open space here makes 20 miles away look much closer. Waldo Canyon was 20 miles away. I get that now. I remember so clearly saying to Jimmy, can you even imagine if the Black Forest ever caught on fire, we are so close. Now, we know much more than ever expected about raging mountain and forest fires. One thing we did learn was that an ember of fire can be carried pretty far by the wind, and upon landing can easily start or spread another fire. This fire was blowing North by gusty gusty winds, hence, moving the fire and the embers away from us. There are many sub-divisions all around the Black Forest area, and the homes on the West side of the fire were evacuated. We were next in line, had the fire moved any further south. We are grateful and heartbroken at the same time. We know many who were evacuated on Tuesday and are still not back in their homes. We know people who have lost everything. The needs are staggering at this point.

Sheriff Terry Maketa has been the main spokesman for the fire. He said, in all of his years of navigating fires, he has never seen such a quick response from every level of government. The National Guard was deployed along with the C-130's dropping the 'slurry' red retardant, the helicopters dropping massive amounts of water, the fire departments from many counties outside of El Paso were here. Over 750 courageous men and women are still here working to extinguish the hot spots. The fire risk is still so high because of the serious drought. So, we are keeping our guard UP, we are giving thanks for all the support and prayers from near and far. Social media has been a blessing for me, especially on Thursday, when everything was enormously tense. So, thank you to my Friends for sticking with me, and letting me post with abandon.

These pics were taken by photographers from the Denver Post. Jimmy, Edward and Crew, were out and about on Wednesday, distributing food and offering support. They were photographed and wound up on the front page of the Post on Thursday!!!

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