The day started out normally enough. Shyla and I played in a meadow.
Then we ran into a friend on the trail. I commented that we'd reached a level of dryness in the forest that I was too nervous about wildfires to leave the dogs home alone when I went to town. After that comment, we both went on our ways, assuming that nothing bad would happen.
I stopped to photograph Columbines.
I stopped back at home to do R's exercises and then leave Shyla at home with the Runner while I went to check some trail cameras. As I checked one, I thought - wow, it smells very smoky. I looked to the west, and my heart rate spiked with fear.
Here's what I saw. I had looked in that direction just a short time before, and I hadn't seen a fire. It had blown up SO fast due to a brisk wind. The sheriff already knows that it was caused by a campfire. I've found so many campfires left burning over the years that it was inevitable that this would happen someday. For the sake of us locals and the forest, it's time to ban campfires for good.
I sprinted uphill, and I saw this. It was growing so fast. Still no cell reception.
I finally got cell service, and I dialed 911. They already knew about the fire so I hung up. I called the Runner who said I should get home asap. There was fear of an imminent evacuation of our area.
As I rode home, the world went dark and rosy-colored due to smoke. Ash fell on me. I feared that spot fires might break out due to ash being spread by the brisk wind.
As I got home, we lost our power. We don't have data packages for our cell phones so we were cut off from info. We and our neighbors talked on landlines, listened to scanners, and drove to each others' houses to talk. With more information, we'd figured out that the fire was about 4 miles away. Unfortunately, fire fighting resources had been shifted away from Colorado in the past month due to other big fires in the country. As of now, there are only 3 aircraft fighting the rapidly growing fire that has 0% containment.
This was the view from our sunset lookout point at 3:30 PM. The ski area is usually visible in the left of the photo but smoke totally obscured it. We'll walk up there again soon to see what it looks like.
As I look around me from our deck, I keep wondering if today will be the last day that our world looks like it does now. I hope not.