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Colorado Burning 26 June 2012

Posted by magicdufflepud in Colorado.
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Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado Springs

The Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado Springs
Photo: Ray Krueger, gazette.com

As I write this, major fires burn across the Front Range, from Fort Collins to Boulder. The High Park fire to the north has consumed nearly 90,000 acres and more homes than any other blaze in Colorado history. The Waldo Canyon fire (pictured above) threatens at least 1,600 homes, and earlier tonight, residents of Boulder received pre-evacuation orders as a three-acre burn triggered by a lightning strike mushroomed to 300 acres in a matter of hours.

From nearly any high point in Denver, you can watch the smoke roll off all three of these fires. It is an impossible sight. When the wind blows the right direction, the whole city smells like a campfire. Take a look for yourself. The Colorado Springs Gazette is live blogging that city’s fire here, and the Denver Post is covering all the state’s fires (a dozen or so) here.

Prior to this, my only experience with devastating fires came four years ago as I was writing copy for the Wilderness Society. In my air conditioned east coast office, it was easy to tell folks not to build their houses so damn close to the woods. But for the time being, my heart is with the firefighters, policemen and pilots all trying to corral both people and flame. In the aftermath, maybe we can have a frank conversation about the wildland-urban interface and defensible space, but not right now, not as families pack whatever they can in the space of 30 minutes. No one wishes for that day. No want wants to see his house burn before his eyes on NBC.

So let’s take a break from the moralizing for a moment and do truly moral: finding a way to help.