It's hard to believe that this beautiful sunset view overlooking the north side Horsetooth Reservoir was taken at Rotary Park just a month ago. I had an assignment for my photography class to capture color images, and this beauty captured the pure serenity that is the reservoir at dusk. I am so grateful that I was able to capture this image at this moment, its peace, its beauty, all are visible right here in this image.
Which makes this image so much more difficult to view. I posted this image last week. Last Sunday, me and James went up to the same exact spot to catch some images of the High Park Fire. Mostly we caught smoke since the fire was in no way endangering our side of the mountain. Although we were safe, the smoke seemed to blanket our city. This image captures the smoke of the fire that is just on the other side of the mountain from here.
Last Monday, the fire jumped to this side of the mountain and began to descend down the mountain into the northern part of the reservoir. The fire threatened Lorey State Park which is the beautiful trail we take mountain biking. It is about a 15 minutes drive away from our house. (UPDATE: The fire turned today and is now threatening the Lorey State Park area again)
Although I never truly felt threatened by the fire, I kept listening to the reports on the news, getting updates on my phone and researching via the internet the progress of the fire. This I think was my major downfall... It wasn't till I spoke to a friend in the town next to us that I actually started to panic. We had heard that the news was recommending that western Fort Collins was being asked to wet down their homes (THAT'S US!). It all became so real to me that this could become dangerous.
My husband being the smart man that he is, decided to take me on a little drive at night so that we could check out the fire line. This time, the road up the mountain was closed off. The nearest road that we could take paralleled the mountain (Overland Trail) and as we drove there were TONS of people with cameras or just walking around trying to get a glimpse of the fires activity. It kind of reminded me of a tailgate party, which saddened me considering just how many families and animals were effected by this. The one thing that our drive did show me was that the fire that faced our city was actually quite small, as well with all of the people walking around, making an event of it all, I realized that the information that I had been viewing was a bit inflated, and hyped up.
I am grateful that my husband took me for this drive, it gave me peace for the remainder of the week and helped me to continue my school week with peace. This week, the fire has taken another turn and today we were infiltrated with smoke (having to cancel our fathers day outing).
This is the most recent map of the fire as it creeps towards our city. The fire has burned over 56,000 acres and is 45% contained. It is scary when you see just how much closer it is getting to our city and those around us. This is the closest it has gotten to us, but it is still on the other side of the reservoir. The fire authority has done a great job trying to keep the fire from structural damage, but unfortunately it has taken some casualties.
Here is the list of structural lost as of the 15th:
· Solider Canyon 1
· Missle Silo Rd (29C) 1
· Cloudy Pass 1
· Picnic Rock 1
· Pine Acres 5
· Stratton Park 21
· Poudre Canyon 17
· Spring Valley 3
· Old Flowers 1
· Whale Rock 40
· Paradise Park 12
· Tip Top 2
· Rist Creek 7
Total to Date 112
Some of these may be sheds or garages, but non the less, these belong to people, human beings who are now having to be displaced or homeless. There are so many more that have no idea whether their homes are still standing. Some have had to leave their animals as well. This is a tough time for our little city and those surrounding us. Please pray for all of us. Those who have been directly effected and those who's health is being effected by the smoke. It is effecting us all, causing respiratory issues as well as drowsiness and fatigue. I can speak from experience as both James and I have been extremely fatigued the last few days, and I know we are not alone.
If you are looking to help those effected by the fire please read this post from our church, Resurrection Fellowship as to how to help. They are assisting local outreaches to gather items as well as to help those needs that are accumulating. Our church is across the street from the evacuation relief center so they will be helping with as much as they can. Also, they have asked us to give names of those we know who are directly effected or displaced by the fire, if you know of anyone please contact them or email me and I will get the info to them. They are there to help and give to those who need.
Thanks for keeping up with us during this time... please continue to pray that the fire burns west as the fire authorities are hoping for. Pray that the wind shifts the smoke away from the population and that those in need are taken care of and comforted. Our community is strong, even those who have lost it all are already offering their services.
I will leave you with this story that just shows the hearts of our community:
Our Governer made a statement this last week that a group of volunteer firefighters worked tirelessly to save this school, even as they watched the fire encroached their own homes, some of which were lost. The Stove Prairie School is a historic school in the mountains and to think that these volunteers cared so much more about their community and history, than their own homes...
Stove Prairie School
"The little school at the end of the rainbow."
This is what a community is all about. This is the kind of love that exudes through you, and falls onto your fellow man... you have to commend these people, and pray for more just like them.