|The Waldo Canyon fire approaches Colorado Springs. |
Image from 9News KUSAin Denver. A list of current fires is on their website.
When the snows didn't come last winter, we knew we'd be in for a dry summer. When what little snowpack existed had diminished to 4% of normal by mid-May, we knew the river would be low and tourism would be compromised. When the wind never stopped and temperatures crawled up into triple digits, we knew our gardens would parch and that we needed to drink more water.
And with all these things we knew there would be wildfires. What we didn't know was that there would be so many of them, impacting the entire state and even threatening major metropolitan areas.
The reports change frequently, but the most recent information I find lists 10 large "active" fires across Colorado and a half dozen more that are "contained" and being watched for flareups. The High Park Fire near the city of Fort Collins has consumed more than 250 homes in 18 days. The Waldo Canyon fire, just 4 days old, experienced a huge expansion this afternoon and is now burning homes on the west side of the city of Colorado Springs. 32,000 people have been evacuated in the path of that fire alone. Tonight a new blaze erupted west of Boulder.
And that's just three fires along the Front Range.
So far the area where we live is not in immediate danger, but we are nervous. We haven't had measurable rain in weeks, and dry thunderstorms that produce only wind and lightning are no one's friend.
For now we keep going about our business, but always aware of the smell and haze of smoke.
Yesterday I painted an illustration of a porcupine for a client project. I think I feel a bit like a porcupine myself... quills at the ready and in a defensive posture.