No photos today. You can see them on just about every news station in the country. Colorado is on fire. Our temperatures here are hitting record highs just when we need cool weather the most, and fires seem to be breaking out everywhere. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but so many people, so many friends are at risk of losing one of the most precious things in life — their secure and happy homes. Am I nervous? Yes.
Is Littleton effected? At the moment, not beyond being a part of the firefighting forces that will possibly go down to help in Colorado Springs, or over to Boulder, a mere 38 miles away.
I guess there is no such place in the world as “safe,” and I am grateful that our world community has learned to pull together in times of need. When I lived in the Detroit area, natural disasters took the form of bad thunderstorms and the occasional funnel cloud or unusually cold weather in the winter. There were constantly minor floods, but nothing like you see for cities along the Mississippi and other major waterways. In Florida, we had the regular hurricane season, and I learned about flood zones, aquifers and finding shelter without basements. In Dallas, there were fires that would eat up whole neighborhoods, tornados and weather that could turn around on a dime.
Now, in Littleton, I am not as vulnerable as those living in the foothills, but it’s important to be aware of how to pack up and move out in the face of fire. How to be prepared to lose “everything” to the hungry flames that gobble up thousands of acres at a time. Most people in this country live on less than an acre of land, so when you hear that 32,000 people have actually been evacuated and more than 100,000 acres across the state have been affected, these fires are scary and big.
My friends and I have been experiencing the minor effects of fire — stuffy noses, headaches, dry eyes. But I remember the Hayman fire of 2002. It was started by a person having relationship problems and who took it out on our forests. Here in Littleton, 96 miles away, the ash was thick in the air for days. That was the worst fire in Colorado history, with 138,000 acres burned and the loss of 133 homes. One woman died from severe asthma as a result of that fire.
Today, the Hayman fire is nothing compared to the combination of 2012 fires. At least three people have died, tens of thousands have had to evacuate with as many more on “pre-evacuation” warnings and acre upon acre has been scorched. Forget the money lost on this.
Please send positive thoughts to those in need. And, if you want to help more tangibly, here is a Denver Post link you can use.