By now most of the nation (and much of the world) is aware of the wildfire that has impacted our little corner of the world. It’s hard to imagine that it has been less than two weeks since I noticed just a little black smoke over the hills as I was on my way to Costco for the simple task of Saturday shopping. I could not have imagined what we were in store for over the next few days.
The stories and pictures are all over the internet: the first smoky views of the front range, evacuations notices, the bright orange flames that spilled into the city on Tuesday June 26thduring the late afternoon, homes engulfed in flames and the aftermath which included a visit from our president, an out pouring of thanks for our firefighters and generosity beyond words from the community at large. I know there are so many images of the Waldo Canyon fire – the ones I am sharing on my blog are the ones I took myself from places in town and from my own home.
Over the next couple of days, I took more smoky pictures from my back deck and went on a couple of pretty hard runs made harder by the smoke.
It’s hard to imagine that in the first days of the fire I was bemoaning the fact that some of my favorite trails were being closed and that the smoke was impacting running outside. The afternoon of 6.26.2012 changed everything –I was simultaneously glued to the TV coverage of the press conference, the #waldocanyonfire search on twitter and the smoke and flames visible from my window as the fire roared into town: the homes of 346 people are destroyed and two people died… here in Colorado Springs.
Tuesday night I was supposed to be packing and cleaning up my house for a trip to San Francisco that my family had planned earlier this summer. It was hard to leave – not much that I could do here at home but I was so sad and I felt guilty heading out for fun while so many people, so close to home were suffering.
I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for the so many people who had to evacuate and for those who eventually found out that their homes were damaged or just gone. It just made me so sad, simply heartbroken. At the same time it was and still is amazing to see how the people in the community have mobilized to support fire fighters, raise money for victims and open their homes to complete strangers. I’ve gained an entirely new appreciation for first responders such as our firefighters who are so unbelievably brave and selfless.
The Mods stuck to our plan, we went to San Francisco and it was good to be normal, and have fun with my family. The hotel provided local and national newspapers which both carried headlines and photos about our fire – which was surreal. I kept up on the news with Facebook and twitter and by the time the week was over, we were home and the fire was 90% contained.
And now…where I was looking out my window at the flames rolling down the ridge just a little over a week ago, I see bright red lights in the night. I am assuming these are road-blocks for the neighborhoods that were impacted by the fire. Many of the trails are open, the smoke is still making running quite uncomfortable (for me anyway) but things are getting back to normal in Colorado Springs and I truly believe our community will recover and it’s not cliché to say, we’ll be strong as ever.
As for me, I will never forget this summer…. the summer of 2012 will be forever etched in my memory.