While sitting in the airport in Raleigh checking out Facebook, I saw a picture from a colleague with a caption that mentioned a wildfire near her house. I couldn’t remember exactly where she lived in relation to us, so panic immediately set it. Thanks to a friend at work, I was told that the fire was west of Boulder in the foothills – about 10 miles from work and about 15-20 miles from home – so our house was ok. Once I got that thought out of my head, I immediately thought of another coworker who lives in one of the canyons to the west of Boulder.
As we flew into Denver after dark, we saw the eerie glow of red coming from the mountains, and watched with awe as we drove home.
Yesterday morning as we headed out to work, we smelled the fire, since the smoke settled in over Boulder Co. overnight. When I dropped S off at work, ash was falling lightly on the car and continued even up to my office. I walked in the building, covering my mouth and nose with the collar of my sweater jacket (mornings are quite chilly here now!) and was still hit with the smell of a campfire as I sat down at my desk to start the day. By afternoon, the winds had shifted to the North and the smell in the building had dissipated. But as I walked out of the building, this was the image I was greeted with:
|Tuesday afternoon, looking North|
This morning, skies were crystal clear as I headed into South Boulder, as winds were still out of the south. But as I was stopped on my way up the hill to allow construction vehicles to do their stuff, I looked to the North again and saw the smoke settled in over Boulder:
|Crystal clear, beautiful blue skies, with the ominous gray of smoke|
Usually, you can see for miles and miles. But not now. Here’s another view, really close to the same spot I took the picture yesterday, just zoomed in a bit:
This is such a tragedy for the people living in that area. So many houses have been destroyed, and the weather so far has not been helping: low humidity and gusty winds in the area, making it really hard to get a handle on the situation, because the area is like kindling and the wind will carry sparks for miles (I heard from one of S’s coworkers that a friend of his found a burnt piece of bark on their front lawn, and they live a good 5 miles away). There’s a chance for some storms today – but the chance is low, and fire dangers are still so high, that even the thought of thunderstorms brings the terrifying image of lightening-started fires in close-by areas.
As of this morning, the fire is still out of control, and if winds don’t die down, relief planes won’t be able to get in there with the fire retardant. Winds have shifted again to be out of the North, bringing smoke back down to work (and as I write this, I glance out the window and the mountain that was so clear and beautiful this morning is hazy and brown now). The coworker who lives in one of the canyons south of the fire is ok today, but if the winds really pick up, the threat for the fire to move south is possible.
Please send prayers, or whatever it is you do, to the people affected by this, that Mother Nature provides some relief from the wind and brings rain, and that the firemen and women are able to safely do their jobs and contain this blaze.
For more information, see: Boulder Daily Camera