Holy Smokes 7/2/12

Holy Smokes 7/2/12

One more update for you. Things are getting back to normal in Colorado Springs and the surrounding mountain towns. The fire has moved north and west, out of civilization. Still burning but 50% contained now. Now we will deal with the 32,500 people who were evacuated. Some have not been able to return to their homes. 346 homes were completely burned to the ground. I have not heard how many are damaged and I don’t know the degree of damage. Many will surely be out of their homes for a long time.

A friend sent this time-lapsed video. The mountain in the middle is Pikes Peak. The reddish rocks on the left are Garden of the Gods Park. The whitish square just to the right of center is the roof of the Air Force Academy Chapel.

The film inspires awe and it looks like hell on earth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBA7eHY022k



Waldo Fire Update 4 – 6-29-12 I HOPE THIS IS THE LAST

Update 4

This morning brings a better outlook. The sky is clear and bright, although they expect rain later. I don’t see or smell smoke. The fire has moved a long way north of town and they are starting to allow evacuees into certain areas. The Air Force Academy is also back to work. Eric went in this morning.

Everything in my house is covered in a film from the smoke. Keep finding black flecks in the cat’s water. How does it get through the screens in the windows??? Not happy that we are breathing all this either. But, my issues are nothing compared to the 346 houses burned and 1 person dead. One person is also missing at this time from the same house where they found the body.

 We were bombarded by Mitt Romney’s nasty ads. Clearly a quote from Obama that has been cut from a full conversation, implying that he said something that works to Romney’s advantage. They have been running this ad since Saturday every single time the news makes a break. It has run hundreds of times and was approved by Romney. It is really slimy. Whether you like Romney or not, I think it is inappropriate at this time. However, I’m sure that they know everyone around here is watching this newscast and they are right in thinking they are getting a huge audience. Later there was one run by the Obama campaign just stating facts (as they see them, of course). Now that the TV coverage is not 24/7 anymore, the ads have stopped. God, how I hate politics!

Obama is here now visiting with officials, firefighters and evacuees. I’m posting pictures that were taken by my friend’s son, who is a fire fighter. I hope this is my last update.ImageImageImageImageImageImage

Waldo Fire Update 3 – 6-28-12

This morning they have announced that over 300 houses were lost. Of course, there are some that are damaged, some that are gone and everything in between. No structures lost over night but the area increased 3500 acres. Still only 5% contained. They are working very hard to tell these people in a compassionate way and have asked that the press honor this. They are going to start updating people this morning.

The fire has moved north into a more rural ranching and open space area. Large animals had been moved there and will now be moved again but it doesn’t seem so urgent now. An historic ranch called Flying W, which now offers western entertainment and food was burned to the ground. Their animals had been left there and today are being rescued. They had not been fed for days and are singed but will be okay. Imagine the panic of the owners trying to rescue them over these days when they couldn’t get in to the area!

536,000 lbs of food were donated since yesterday. It is amazing how the community has come together. I am so impressed with all the officials and the way they are handling and organizing things.

A firefighter was interviewed about conditions. With the weather at around 100°, the temperatures inside their fire-resistant clothing is something like 120°. They can work for about 15 minutes and then have to take a break. It is so hot it can cause blisters on their skin. They have to be examined for medical issues every hour. They are being very very careful to make sure none of them are hurt. One of the ways things can get out of control is when they change crews. Either a fighter can be lost or the fire can gain ground. They are tracking every fighter all the time. It is an amazing effort. Those fire fighters are exemplary human beings.

Yesterday they said President Obama was going to visit today. I’ve not heard this morning if that is still going to happen. They have told the Secret Service that they are on their own because we cannot spare police to protect him. He has been on the phone numerous times with the governor and I believe the mayor.

Under normal circumstances you would think that rain would be a blessing. However, with the rain comes strong winds that can whip up the fire. And let’s not forget the danger of lightning. It is cooler today and they may still get some rain up there to help some.

The main highway that runs from Colorado Springs into the mountains (the west) has been shut down since Saturday and is expected to remain so for the rest of the week. This traps residents from coming into town. Going west from there, the towns are tiny and far apart. It must be a strange feeling to be cut off from your normal options.

Our more sensitive cat, Fenimore, seems distressed. He keeps walking around, crying, rubbing against us, and needy. However, after you pet him and reassure him, it lasts about 3 minutes and he is up and wondering around again. I think it may be the smoke, which triggers a survival impulse. He seems better today and the smoke has lessened.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who have offered us shelter and help. I want to be clear that we were not even in the pre-evac area and have been safe, except for the smoke. This morning it looks like we are out of danger down where we live.

Waldo Fire Update 2 – posted 6-27-12

We got the news and press update around 4 today. The fire has spread north due to high winds. 5% was contained during the day but not sure now where it stands. It has tripled in size since last night. Still no deaths, that they know of, but many houses burned. It has been too hot for them to go in and determine addresses or assess the damage.

Eric and I collected paper products, toiletries and some food. I drove way out east to deliver it. It was more smokey out there than at our house. Just as I arrived it started to rain hard. I was praying that it was raining in the mountains. Apparently it did rain some but mostly it just kicked up the wind, causing more problems for the firefighters. On my way back, the air had cleared considerably over the mountains and it looked like the 3 fires had just really calmed down to a bit of smoke. Then the wind came in and the smoke now covers the sky.

We are fine. I think we are about 4 miles from the closest fire. I’d be surprised if it came down to us but after what happened last night, who knows? It is scary. I’ve talked to a few people and they feel paralyzed like I do. You just don’t know what you should do. We did our best by donating but don’t really want to go out in the smoke, nor leave our home.

Eric found a very big flake of ash, as big as his whole hand, in the back yard. They say embers can travel 1/2 mile.

The command center for the fire is at University of CO in Colorado Springs. This is on a high point and looks toward the mountains. It seems like a sensible place for it. The FBI is now involved with investigating. Can’t remember if I said in my last update but on Fri/Sat 20 fires were started by arsonists in Teller County. They are out but there is still a question of what caused our 3 fires in El Paso County.
The attached pics are from the local TV station and were taken last night.

Pictures from the local TV station on Wednesday

Posted to the local TV station on Wednesday.

Posted to the local TV station on Wednesday.

Posted to the local TV station on Wednesday.

Waldo Fire Update 1 – posted Tuesday 6-26-12

I thought I’d take a minute to let everyone know that we are safe. Some of you may not have heard about the raging fires here in Colorado Springs. At times the smoke is irritating. It is so very hot here that we hate to close up the house.

Yesterday, when Ryan and I were out driving, we could see 3 fires on the front range. As evening came on the fire rolled over the hills and down into the NW part of town, where there are houses. Eric’s office is basically in this area and he saw this happen. The area was evacuated and he cannot return to work today. This is the first area where houses were burned, since the start on Sat.

The fires started near Manitou Springs and West into the mountain towns beyond Manitou on Sat. In Teller Country, the one west of our El Paso County, there were 20 fires started by arsonists. Apparently they were stopped quickly. The fire here is called Waldo (for the area it started) and is not thought to have been started by arsonists but we did hear it was an unattended campfire. Have not heard other news about this for days.

32,500 people have been evacuated + pets. The Air Force Academy is threatened on the south side and parts are evacuated. 10,000 acres added just over night, what they called a 3 mile spread. So, at the moment there are 15K acres burning, they just said 24K square miles. Typically in the evening winds shift and this can cause the fire to change directions. We have support from all over the state, including air tankers from the US gov’t, which can carry 3000 gallons of retardant or water. As you might imagine, we have lots of air traffic.

I am so impressed with the efforts from all gov’t groups, police, firefighters, red cross, etc. They certainly seem to have their act together. The local TV stations have been fabulous with info, maps, how to help or get help. The frustration is trying to get information about the Boulder area, where we have so many friends. There is another fire there on the Flat Irons working its way into Boulder. The internet is the only source and there are pop up advertisements and things that are not up to date.

Sometimes Cats Are Just Too Much Fun!

We had quite the adventure with Demi last night.  Ryan and I had observed what we thought was her rubbing her bottom on the carpet, like dogs do.  Yesterday she was doing that a bit more and crying.  Of course the bitch wouldn’t let me near her and I couldn’t tell if she had a leg problem or butt problem.  So, I called the vet and made an appointment for 2 hours from then.  I tried to catch her and get her into the carrier and she was totally ballistic.  Then she ran out the dog door.  So, I cancelled the appt and arranged to bring her in first thing in the AM.  I figured Ryan (who belongs to the darn thing) could help me catch her in the AM.


Last night she was really bad.  And she was dragging her poopy butt all over the carpets.  She went under our bed and I got Ryan to help.  Ryan and Eric chased her all over the house where she left skid marks from top to bottom.  Thank goodness most of our house has wooden floors but still, being a cat, she was selecting the carpets.  They finally caught her and took her to the night vet, while I scrubbed carpets.


At the vet’s they tried to get a look at her and asked if they could shave her behind.  Even after sedation, she was so upset that they were afraid she would have a stroke and had to stop treating her for a time.  What was wrong?  Basically nothing.  She had a lot of poop on her butt that she wouldn’t or couldn’t get off.   Apparently, this is a common problem in long haired cats.  I’ve never heard of it.  So, after $200+ and a night in the hospital, I hope she has learned something.  There is no way we are ever going to be able to clean her up if this happens again!



Law of the Garbage Truck

Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport.
We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.
My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.
My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly.
So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’
This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck.’

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day..
Life’s too short to wake up in the morning with regrets,
so … Love the people who treat you right.
Pray for the ones who don’t.

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

Have a blessed, garbage-free day