Friday, June 15, 2012

High Park Fire

The view from our neighborhood.
While on our hike last weekend, Chad and I saw an enormous white cloud billowing up to the northeast. We thought it a bit strange, as the rest of the sky was clear, but Colorado has some odd cloud formations from time to time and I didn't think much of it. On our way home, however, it became clear that something wasn't right. It was another fire.

What makes this one so unusual is the sheer size of the thing (currently at 52,000 acres) and how close it is to home. At times, the smoke has been so thick that everyone remarks that it smells like the whole town's been on a week-long campout. A few nights ago, we could actually watch it from our window. Flames licked their way over the foothills, rising and falling and changing direction with the wind. It was mesmerizing -- and a little frightening at the same time.

The hardest part is knowing that all of the lovely areas that I've grown up with: Rist Canyon, Horsetooth Reservoir, Lory State Park, Poudre Canyon and many others are in danger of being consumed by this fire, and that people and countless animals are losing their homes and/or their lives.

Every morning we are heartened by the sound of firefighting aircraft (we live under the Fort Collins/Loveland airport flightpath) but at the same time, we know the odds are stacked against them. It's been far too long since northern Colorado has had a large fire due to decades of vigilant suppression, and the drought and the dead trees have created a perfect storm.

More photos and descriptions:

From our WindowSmoke coming over the mountainsSunrise over Fort CollinsHelp On the WayComing Over the FoothillsSunset

South Timberline SunsetGolden SmokeHorsetooth from Timberline Rd.Horsetooth and the Front Range

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