Since Ray's passing I have kept in close contact with a cousin who lives on the west side of Colorado Springs. He's been a volunteer fire fighter in a rural fire department, did some fire investigation work for said department. His beloved mountain cabin was one of 133 homes lost in the 138,000+ acre Hayman Fire in 2002. We've been out of daily contact for the last year as he's had health issues that have had him in and out of hospitals and care facilities, but he's home now with the help of a part-time care taker. I called to ask about the fire.
"I'm calm." he said. "I'm OK." This man is a master of understatement. Turns out he was watching the fire from his front door. "Last night you could see the fire move along the ground, then suddenly it would be in the top of a tree and the tree would explode. It was moving that fast and that hot." The ridge line he was watching was about 5 miles away. A fast-moving wildfire can cover 5 miles in less time that it would take you to throw essentials into a bag, throw the bag in the car, and pull out of your driveway.
Me? Been there, done that. I've learned that after you've done it once (as in almost every critical or tense situation), you are less likely to panic when confronted with a similar situation. But I'm still checking the National Fire Information Center website, the Pike National Forest website, InciWeb and their links to Google Earth, all the Denver and Colorado springs news sites, watching the direction the fire is moving (away from him, but towards his daughter's home north of the Air Force Academy). And I am not directly threatened.
There are many good information links and lots of photos. Here's one. Imagine these scenes from your front door.
Don't forget to pray. Pray for the weather. Pray for the firefighters. Pray for those who have lost property, for those who must shelter in evacuation centers or with friends, and for all those whose lives are directly impacted during an active fire.
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