Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And Then Things Got Scary...

I have so many wonderful things about the kids to blog... So many great developments and big celebrations... But it's all overshadowed by the massive, horrible catastrophe that is currently overwhelming my beloved home.

Most of you have probably seen, already, that Colorado Springs is experiencing a wildfire of epic proportions. The Waldo Canyon Fire started on Saturday in a popular hiking area not far from where we live. The first day, when it started, it was not large and I was thinking "oh, they'll get this under control. It's pretty small."

I was wrong. On Sunday it had grown and the city of Manitou Springs was evacuated as a precaution. That scared me, because our part of town is right next to Manitou, and if Manitou was in danger then we were next.  It grew through day one and into day two, surging north and west (away from us) up to about 6,500 acres in size at the start of day 4. Then, that afternoon, all hell broke loose. A dry thunderstorm hit as the fire crested a ridge, creating huge gusts of wind and driving the fire west and down into the city. The fire hit the northwest edge of the city around 5:30pm and structure fires broke out.

I've NEVER seen anything like this. Homes were bursting into flames, fire leaping from one roof to the next. Of course, I was watching this unfold on the news in a sort of numb horror. Evacuations were hastily made, evacuation notices started coming out like crazy as the firefighters tried to get a handle on a fire that had hit homes and was spreading through the northwest portion of the city. We anxiously packed for a possible evacuation, feeling maybe a bit paranoid but not wanting to be caught unaware. We got very little sleep last night, I assure you.

Today was a blessedly calm day in terms of wind and weather. We won't know until morning what growth or containment we are looking at. The northwest edge is seeing spot fires and they are fighting growth. So far, our area seems to be safe. We are south and west of the bulk of the fire, due south of the structure fire areas, and the fire hasn't been pushing in this direction at all since the second day.

Still, I feel like I just can't calm down and feel comfortable. Yesterday, the fire went from 6,500 acres to 15,300 acres in just a few hours. There is a hungry monster just four miles north of us. It headed south in its infancy... will it turn south again?? No one can predict its behavior, even the experts.

I'm finding it really hard to act natural in this situation. We're not directly affected at this time, so there's no reason to stop life... but it's hard not to be glued to the news. It's hard not to feel totally unsettled by living out of bags in my own home. I find myself wanting to just unpack because we are safe right now. But then, I think of how quickly it turned on the northwest part of town and how close it still is to our neighborhood and I'm too scared to touch a thing. Having to dig through a bag to find my shampoo or my phone charger is sad and irritating. I want to think we're safe, I want to think that we'll be fine, I know they are fighting the fire and doing a great job. Then I think "all those firefighters are up north... if it breaks out down here, will there be enough guys to fight it???"

Do I sound neurotic as hell? Well, you'll have to forgive me... the weatherman on the news just said "Woodland Park is 3.1 miles away, so you would think it's safe, but the northwest part of town was the same distance from the fire on Tuesday and look what happened last night." Well, shoot, WE'RE 4 miles away in another direction. Where is safety??? 5 miles? 10 miles? Kansas?!?

sigh. Please say a prayer for our city. I love this place. I love Colorado Springs, and I particularly love the west side. I don't want to see anymore of it burn. Friends of mine are waiting to see if they still have a home. Some know they don't. This is terrible, it's awful, 32,000 people are evacuated and waiting and  hundreds have lost their homes. This is a tragedy, but God has us in His hands. Not a single life has been lost because He is so good. That's a bright spot in this horror. Not one single death or injury reported at this time.

Still, this is horrible and sad and we need a lot of protection and healing over here.

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