With 100 degree temperatures in the city of Colorado Springs, we were happy to have a place to land up the hill in Woodland Park. It was warm there, and occasionally smokey, but nothing like my friends in Colorado Springs endured. We make ourselves at home right away. The cat took about two seconds to adjust to her new digs. She particularly liked being around the people with cat allergies, but she also laid claim to a shelf in our closet. We didn’t bring much, so we didn’t need the space for our stuff.
Images from and refelctions on The Waldo Canyon Fire
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By 4 PM when we left, the smoke was clearly visible behind our house. There wasn’t a single cloud that day. That’s all smoke.
Leaving was spooky. Sheriffs were going from house to house. We were gone before they got to ours, but a neighbor told me they searched inside to make sure we were really gone.
Bob is Mr. Prepared, but we still weren’t convinced of how threatening this was. To give you an idea of our thinking (or not thinking) Bob suggested we leave the kitty. He was thinking she would be more comfortable at home. I vetoed that idea immediately. Still, we both shared a sense of unreality as we packed. Ultimately, there isn’t much I left that I would take next time, but there are some things.
While we were packing, the phone rang a lot. we were getting offers to help and for places to stay. A few friends tried to keep us on the line to talk, and we had to “SpeakStrong” to let them know we needed to go.
I took pictures of our stuff for insurance purposes, and went out for another picture. This is from 2 PM – a half hour after the previous picture from this spot. It sure had grown!
We were on pre-evacuation status for probably an hour before it became mandatory. The phone rang – it was a reverse 911 call telling us to get out.
I was out taking the picture on the last page when my friend Wendy called. Her voicemail expressed great concern about the fire she was seeing from Pike’s Peak. I returned her call and got her voice mail. She was out of range while driving down from the peak, and had to wait a half hour for her brakes to cool – even though they had been told to get down from there as fast as they could. This was a very hot day.
If we had seen what she saw, we would have been more alarmed. And we would have guessed that we might not get home for days, if at all. “Can we stay with you if we’re evacuated? I asked. The answer came after evacuation became mandatory, but before we left. Yes. Of course. They had out-of town guests, but we were welcome. That;s the kind of gracious pulling-together so many of us experienced.
I was glad to see my husband Bob was home from grocery shopping. We were both concerned, but we’d seen fires before. We didn’t know how concerned we should be. So we went where we could get a clearer view, and this is what we saw.
At my Communidance that fateful Saturday, my friend Annette mentioned that she would be afraid to live in the mountains like I do because of the fire threat. I didn’t share her concern. But I thought about what she had said when I drove home. I saw a puff of smoke in the mountains. It’s tough to tell where smoke is coming from. But with every twist and turn of Highway 24, I thought – that doesn’t look good! I didn’t imagine I was witnessing the start of the worst wild fire in the history of Colorado.
I stopped at the Cascade Library to pick up two books I had on hold. The Cascade Volunteer Fire Department (who could use and deserve donations) is right next to the library. They were on alert, waiting for coordinates. One fire fighter was in town when the call came. He said it should have taken him under a half hour to make it home, but it took a full hour because of all the people watching the fire instead of their driving.
The Friends of the Library was having a book sale. We watched the plume for a few minutes before I went home.