It never ends.
Any other year, at mid-October, we’d be enjoying snow on the ground right now. And colder temperatures and anticipating the start of winter.
But not in 2020.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, another wildfire broke out today — just about 10 miles north of us near Jamestown, Colorado.
As if having two fires break the record for Colorado’s largest wildfire wasn’t enough, here we are again, living among the smoke and dry, crunchy woods. The Cameron Peak Fire north of Rocky Mountain National Park is now the state’s biggest fire at almost 200,000 acres. It’s been burning two months — even snow couldn’t put an end to it.
Right now, that snowstorm in September seems like a faint memory. I can’t remember the last time it actually rained.
And the winds, the horrific winds.
It was terrible luck to have the Calwood fire start on a day full of Red Flag Warnings and swirling winds. Winds that beat against the house with such ferocity, that it creaked and vibrated for most of the day.
Add wind to tinder dry forests and the fire reached over 7,000 acres by 8 p.m. this evening.
Though I saw the huge plume in the sky from our deck in Nederland, it became more sobering when we drove to Superior tonight for groceries.
Driving back to Boulder on Highway 36, the hillside glowed orange from the fire that burned just east of Highway 36 near Nelson Road. Seeing it made my stomach hurt.
As a mountain resident who has been evacuated three time for fires, my heart breaks for other who are displaced tonight. Not knowing whether you will have a home to return to is one of most emotionally exhausting things I have ever gone through.
I feel impossibly sad to think someone started their day contemplating a day off and ended it sitting in a hotel or other strange place. Watching video of actual homes burning through my twitter feed brought me to tears.
My neighbor texted me, “What should I do?”
What is there to do? I’m not worried about this particular fire forcing us out of our home. But I am concerned about the conditions and the fact that there is no precipitation in the forecast. Usually, by October, I can breathe a sign of relief, knowing we made it through the fire season and winter is coming.
Not this year.
What I am doing is making sure we have done everything fire mitigation wise to ensure our home can survive. We just had another re-certification through Wildfire Partners to make sure we’re up to date on fire mitigation. (Full confession — I work for Wildfire Partners as their Program Specialist).
We’re fortunate in Boulder County that we have this program to help guide us in making good decisions on how to mitigate our home.
The other to do is making sure we have a go bag, fire boxes, and an evacuation plan to get out quickly if needed.
And finally, I’m thinking about doing a new video of our home to make sure my home inventory is up to date.
Other than that — I’m praying for rain with all my might.