Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mass Evacuations Ordered In Northern Colo. Springs - Will We Be Next?

Photo - Flames continue to burn off Burgess Road through the night Wednesday, June 12, 2013 as crews work to contain the Black Forest fire. Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette
The failure to contain the Black Forest Fire along with horrific dry conditions, high winds and high temperatures, has expanded the fire southward forcing mass evacuations from the Springs. Will we be next (despite the fact wifey is now ill with severe bronchitis)? We don't know - but we are starting to assemble an emergency departure kit, including: all insurance policies, all papers to do with Social Security and Medicare, all recent bank-asset  statements, tax files for past 10 years - for B'dos and U.S., all IDs including important personal proof papers not already in the bank safety deposit box, enough clothes, meds, shoes etc. to get by in a shelter - if it comes to that, and of course, a box containing our most precious memories including photos, DVDs of holidays, and written diaries dating back to 1969-70. Another box is to be filled with a limited set of "best books", best movie DVDS, and favorite music CDs - oh, along with Janice's Ipad, our Ipods, and at least one laptop.

Added to the existing havoc are weather conditions producing dry thunderstorms and accompanying lightning strikes the last thing this community needs right now.

Some brief updates up to now (4. 15 p.m. MDT)

3.30 p.m.: Gov. John Hickenlooper appoints Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Peter J. Byrne to head the wildfire reponse and relief support efforts in Colorado. He will work with existing fire incident commanders to seek containment of the beast - which has now destroyed 360 homes and is at 8, 700 acres.

3.37 p.m. Heavy smoke and ash blowing on the northwestern edge of the blaze.

3.45 p.m. Penrose -St. Francis Hospital in northern Springs reports treating people for smoke inhalation in the emergency room.

3.55 p.m. Firefighters report fierce winds driving the Black Forest Fire. Reporter Garrison Wells at Pikes Peak Community College reports wind gusts hitting hard.

4 p.m.  Some citizens report rain drops near Palmer Lake.

Above all, what we need is a heavy rain along with the winds to die down to make progress. As one official put it this a.m. even before the day's battles began:

"Even all the firefighters in the world with all the equipment can't stop a fire driven by winds, high temperatures and low humidity. We will need help from Mother Nature."

Update: 6:15 p.m. We may be getting that assist from Mother Nature. According to latest reports, the winds are dying down and dew points increasing as we approach the 'golden hours' for fire fighting. On the negative side, wifey and I did smell smoke on a return junket from the store with some supplies: gatorade, chips, oranges, soup etc.

Also: The Black Forest Fire is 5% contained.
We will see what happens overnight, and hopefully we get some rain to help out!

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