As a Colorado native and a girl who absolutely loves the mountains, these fires are devastating! As a little girl, my family spent many a Sunday either driving to the mountains or picnicking and enjoying the outdoors. As a teen, I practically grew up in a camper. I've seen many a lake, hiked many a trail, camped in many a campground and caught many a fish. I've been to all of the famous Colorado landmarks and have traveled (or four-wheeled) to the well-kept secret spots (for natives only). I have visited every tourist spot in the state; yet still when asked what I want to do this weekend, my answer is ..."go to the mountains." It always is.
Gone are some of our most beautiful, scenic vistas, cute little towns, and some very popular tourist traps. This one was a favorite. When my mom was alive, visiting the Flying W Ranch was an annual event.
Now it looks like this:
|So darn sad!|
|Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle|
The beetles have been slowly destroying our forests for the past few years. That alone has been heartbreaking! Prior to the fires, some of our most beloved camp spots had no trees left.
Which brings me to the trees. The TREES! One hundred years or older. Gone. The trees will not regenerate in my kids' lifetime. I will miss the trees the most.
|The Waldo Canyon Fire erupted on Saturday, June 23 (and is still|
burning on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs).
Over 30,000 people were evacuated and it destroyed 350 homes.
Some people are still on mandatory evacuation.
|Entire neighborhoods (minus one or two homes)|
|The High Park Fire was officially 100% contained on Saturday.|
It has been burning since June 9
and has burned more than 87,000+ acres and 259 homes west of Fort Collins.
It continues to smolder and will for weeks until we get rain.
|The Flagstaff fire (just 1.5 miles from Boulder)|
started last week and has burned 300 acres.
Copper Mountain, we spotted the Treasure fire
burning just outside of the historic town of Leadville.
|The Pine Ridge Fire is the newest. It started last Wednesday|
and has already burned over 13,000 acres (just east of
Grand Junction). This fire is large and running fast. It
threatens closure of our major east/west I-70 highway.
The Poudre Canyon (High Park Fire), Manitou Springs (Waldo Canyon fire), and Boulder (Flagstaff fire) are three of our most treasured spaces. Poudre Canyon is known for it's meandering Poudre river (great fishing and camping) and is one of our states most scenic drives. And to the south of Denver, Highway 24 runs through the majestic town of Manitou Springs. It is the gateway to several large Colorado tourist spots, and until today, Highway 24 has been closed. Only local traffic is being let through.
The Flagstaff fire is the closest to home and burning just 11 miles from work. Normally, my office has the most beautiful view of Boulder and Longs Peak. Lately, I cannot even see the mountains. There is smoke & haze daily. Sometimes we smell the smoke in our office. It is so surreal to know the mountains are still there...we just can't see them.
Just up the street from our office is our local Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport. The helicopters and slurry bombers fly overhead starting at sun up. It is a highway in the sky directly over our office building. They are loud, but we know they are so helpful. We could not even hope to fight these blazes without support from the air.
There are 11 active fires burning...when will it stop? Please pray for Colorado.