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.


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