There is a commercial, I don’t even know what it's advertising, that has Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno; I think it’s a car commercial. Do you know which one I’m talking about? In this commercial, a jetpack is used as the most bizarre, ultimate bargaining chip, winning out over a private zip line over New York City. Jetpacks, after all, are a thing of the future and would only really be used in the movies or commercials, right?
Archive for June, 2012
Tags: Colorado, Colorado fires, Colorado Springs, The Scar Colorado Springs, Waldo Canyon Fire, Woodland Park
That was the feeling of everyone fighting this fire, early this morning, and it bore itself out as containment was upped to 15%.
Yesterday’s advancement of the fire was greatly reduced, as can be seen on the wildfire map. No additional structures have been lost overnight. The Unified Command Team were extremely encouraged and looking forward to a great day, and it looked like they finally got just such a day. Some evacs were lifted, but the really big news was that the Unified Command finally addressed the amount of homes lost (346) and convened at 8 p.m. tonight to directly begin handling people and their losses.
As of this morning, there are in excess of 2000 people involved in fighting this fire.
As of this morning, 18,500 acres have been burned.
The fire is considered 15% contained.
To date (this morning), it has cost $3.2 million to fight this fire.
For non-emergency legal questions or spotting any other Colorado wildfires, call 800/332-6736.
For our neighborhood, it looks like the fire has moved away from us, though I’m sure there will continue to be spot fires and we are still in pre-evac mode. I was recording this series of posts to document the event in our neighborhood and also using it as a way to keep those concerned for our safety informed. And I do have an interest in wildfire fighting. My dad was a forest ranger, and at one point I was interested in becoming one–and had even helped do a “mop up” in one fire when I was a teenager, on Panther Mountain, in upstate NY. Other interests and directions ended up taking over, but being a forest ranger and even a wildland firefighter have always interested me. But, the fire remains an active fire, and Woodland Park, Colorado is still in line-of-sight the advancing northwest component of the blaze, though firefighter efforts are holding strong, last I heard/read. If anything else impacts our neighborhood I’ll post, but for now, this should be my last post on the fire, from our neighborhood’s perspective. Our hearts go out to all who lost homes. Of note, the individual I mentioned on Day 4, who actually felt the flames as she drove out of Mountain Shadows–their home is intact and not included in the street list of homes that were damaged.
Disclaimer: any “distance” claims I made are totally subject to error. Perspectives are odd that way, so when I say “1-2″ miles, it could be double, I just don’t know, am estimating, and asking others who’ve lived in the area longer. When and if I get a topo map, I’ll check it out.
Tags: Queens Canyon, Walden Canyon Fire
The Waldo Canyon fire is the number one fire in the United States right now.
15,324 acres burned.
Unknown amount of homes burned.
No new mandatory evacuations in Colorado Springs.
Denver Post Aerial Views. <— Excellent aerial perspective of damage.
Looks like I have some more time on our hands as we sit and wait to see what is to happen regarding any possible evac. Nothing appears forthcoming, and the gusty winds have stopped and earlier in the afternoon I saw no more flames/smoke plumes originating from Queen’s Canyon.
Today I stayed home to deal with the possibility of having to evacuate and looked for ways to help out. My displaced in-laws were safe and stable and needed no assistance, so, I checked in with some neighbors, and they were all good. I then made some calls and e-mails to volunteer organizations, but everyone had so many volunteers lines were busy, voice mails full.
I then inspected our property early in the morning and found numerous pieces of charred debris, some of them four or five inches long, by an inch or two wide. I continued to find charred debris throughout the day. Luckily, no embers, but the Queen’s Canyon fire is maybe a mile or more from us. From the two press conferences (8 and 4 p.m., MT), fire experts told how burning embers can not only drift a quarter-to-half a mile in distance, but with our dry air, here, there is a 65% chance of those embers, within that distance, continuing to burn once they land. In other words, for every 100 burning embers, 65 of them will set off another fire. Multiply that by the thousands of embers blowing around.
Today, I pulled out the binoculars and checked out the Queen’s Canyon area that I watched burn yesterday. Blackened and charred, as expected, but there were spot fires flaring up in the canyon itself, so choppers were heavily hitting them with buckets of water. The choppers were so close, we could see the spray of the water off the buckets as they zoomed past, overhead.
Just heard on the news that a new hotshot group out of Vandenberg is being deployed–smoke jumpers jumping out of C-17 Globemasters. The military has been actively involved with the fire fighting efforts. Four C-130 Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems (MAFFS) have been involved for a couple of days.
I just took another peak at Queen’s Canyon, and found that a small section of “The Scar” is actively
burning, but The Scar is an ex-quarry that has no trees (well, maybe scrub oak) and is a re-seeded area of low-lying grasses. Also, the area looks “cleaner,” with all the blinding smoked blown out (as I initially wrote this that was the case–now there is all kinds of smoke laying down into the area). Only a few other plumes of a spot fire or two. Looks much better. But all this doesn’t say much about the still raging fires north of there.
So, for today, lots of prep (cars are still “locked and loaded”), but still at home.
Our hearts go out to all who have lost anything to this wildfire, and we also extend our heartfelt thanks to all those fighting this fire. From what I’m seeing, it appears as if the “unified command” is handling things quite well. So many agencies are involved–and just today, the FBI, DEA, and ATF got involved, betting for the possibly arson consideration. I really hope this wasn’t arson, but it almost seems as if, if it were arson there’d be a concrete target upon which everyone could vent their rage, their anger for the losses suffered.
Tags: KKTV, Mountain Shadows, Queens Canyon, Waldo Canyon Fire
I’m writing this on Day 5, and actually have some free time, but we are on a pre-evacuation notice, which means be ready to split in 30 minutes or so. We currently have developing storms that may or may not impact the fire. We’d need 3/4 to an inch of rain. One cell coming over Pikes Peak is hoping to be one with more rain to impact the burn.
Yesterday, day 4 of the fire, was a hugely impacting day, where the blaze tripled in size, fired up and over Queen’s Canyon, and down into Colorado Springs, where all hell broke loose.
I–along with a handful of others–watched the fire from our neighborhood streets, as it burned down Queen’s Canyon eastern slope. There were near blackout conditions from the smoke as well as from the burn out that caused the total evac of Mountain Shadows, which included those we know. I was told by one of them that she actually felt the heat of the wildfire as she was evacuating her home. From our home, I stood outside watched as flames burned down the eastern slope of Queen’s Canyon, not far from Mountain Shadows. Tons of smoke, and throughout the evening, as I continually checked our property for falling embers, I found enough charred debris (found a burned aspen leaf) falling that I turned on the sprinklers and hosed down our fences and other areas I thought needed it. Later, at night, choppers with bright spots cut down through the heavily smoky air and made several low passes around the mesa east of us.
What had happened was that a storm northwest of the fire headed into the blaze, while strong winds from the south-east and south-west all pummeled the fire at the same time. The storm north of the blaze let loose 65-mph outflow winds that, combined with the southern winds, forced the fire east, and into Mountain Shadows and adjacent areas. Officials said that it didn’t matter how many resources would have been positioned, the fire storm was simply too powerful and was flat-out unstoppable. There is still no definitive assessment of the amount of lost homes, but the video is heartbreaking.
Tags: Firefighting, Garden of the Gods, KKTV, Mountain Shadows, Queens Canyon, Waldo Canyon, Waldo Canyon Fire
If anyone has any information regarding the cause of the Waldo Canyon fire, please call 719/477-4205.
Here is the KKTV link. Excellent coverage, folks!
So far, no lives nor homes have been lost. As of this morning (I looked out a window at 3 a.m. and could see the fire’s glow), the fire has burned north from Waldo Canyon into Queen’s Canyon, continuing on its northerly direction into state forest land. It is about 5% contained (projected 100%containment of the fire is July 16th), and there are some 600 firefighters fighting the blaze that has consumed 4,500 acres. This morning the news said at one point flames are three miles away from Mountain Shadows, a residential area that has already been evacuated, but residents have been allowed back in. This is still an area of concern, if the flames run over and down the first ridge of Queen’s Canyon, into the depth of the canyon itself.
Also on the TV this morning, an airline pilot showed a shot of it he’d taken as he’d passed by it. He said the smoke plumes topped out at 33,000 feet and could be seen for 150 miles.
Last night we visited the Kissing Camel Overlook of Garden of the Gods to see what could be viewed from there of the fire (to be honest, I was also curious why authorities were concerned about people coming here to watch the fire/smoke plumes, since the media was uncharacteristically vague about why authorities were bothered, when I first heard this a couple days ago). It is normally a gorgeous view, as you will see below, but, yes, you can see plenty of smoke, and even a couple of instances of flames (look closely at the three ”20:20″ time hack pictures, below). You can also see passing emergency vehicles. The concern appears to be that motorists and on-lookers will get in the way (the road is a little wider up there, with bike lanes added into the road, and everyone there was quite civil, gracious, and under control, not pulling U-turns and the like), and (I later heard) that maybe a brush fire might erupt from a tossed cigarette butt or something. I can see the bottleneck concern, but everyone pulled off as far as possible onto the shoulders and seemed quite responsible in policing their own actions. There were many who had come to see what was going on, the curiosity understandable. After all, once you get breathing room from an impending disaster, you want to try to understand it. See what it was that it or was hurtling your way. It’s only natural. So, I was pretty impressed with the amount of people, the restraint of people, the hushed awe and concern for the fire and those fighting it. There was no “carnival-like” atmosphere at all about it…these were people who were genuinely concerned about their welfare and their homes–and their neighbors’ homes. Some even shouted out “Thank you!” to the passing firefighters that drove by.
They simply wanted to see what the Big Monster looked like.
Tags: KKTV, Manitou Springs Colorado, Waldo Canyon, Waldo Canyon Fire
Yesterday, as I was outside working on the house and fencing, I and others saw an incredible column of smoke billowing high into the air from a fire burning to the west of town. And not very far, by the looks of the plumes. It turns out to be, what authorities are calling, The Waldo Canyon Fire (it had vacillated between the “Pyramid Mountain” and “Waldo Canyon” fires, but I guess they’ve finally reached an agreement on what to call it). It originated in Waldo Canyon, but last I checked, there is no certainty on how it started, though there has been no lightning strikes for about a week. Everyone has their hands very busy with trying to contain it. For the latest in coverage check out any of the local media, but we’re following KKTV’s, since they were first on-scene and seemed to have had the best and most accurate coverage.
Certain areas around the west side of town have been evacuated, and some have even been told it’s safe to return (at last check) but Manitou Springs is currently until a city-wide evac.
Currently our neighborhood is not in any of the evac areas, but walking around outside I took some pictures, including the chopper dumping water (I actually saw water released several times–but was unable to capture those shots). And last night was eerie, because we can easily see the undulating glow of the fires as they waned and waxed. It reminded me of the LA wildfires in 2000 and 2009. It reminded me of them, not because I was there (I wasn’t) but because everyone was talking about seeing the burning glow. They were also featured in several TV shows, like the X-Files. I always thought, how creepy–well, it is, now that I’ve actually seen it.
So, for today, Sunday, June 24th, fire crews (including Type 1 Fire Crews) do not expect to be able to contain the wildfire, but they do hope to slow it down and keep it from growing. Approximately 2000 acres have been burned, 0% containment, and the fire is now within 1/4-mile of structures, but progressing in a generally northern direction (away from our neighborhood). Heavy transports and choppers are dumping water/fire retardant (like 400 gallons a shot, I just heard on TV). Military and C-130 support is expected tomorrow.
If you look closely at some of the pictures below you’ll see the chopper.
Here are some fire information numbers, that are staffed between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. MT:
Tags: Best Western Movie Manor, Drive in theaters, Drive ins
I love movies, and I love drive-in theaters.
But they are in short supply. Investigating their history, I found that in their heyday, which was the 1950s, there were nearly 5,000 drive-ins across the country. As of 2011 (according to Wikipedia), 371 continue to exist.
The first drive-in opened on June 6, 1933. Richard M. Hollingshead invented the concept through maternal inspiration: apparently his mother was a large woman and had difficulty sitting in regular movie theater seats. Mr. Hollingshead played around with the idea in his New Jersey backyard, by mounting a 1928 Kodak projector on the hood of his car and projected movies up on a screen he’d nailed to trees. For sound, he placed a radio behind the screen. He then experimented with all kinds of weather and various stages of rolled-up to rolled-down windows. Used his sprinkler system to simulate rain. Even figured out how to deal with the parking of cars so everyone could see the movie.
Drive-ins spread across the country and their popularity grew through the 1950s, and the additions of playgrounds and actual meals proliferated, generating pretty nice incomes for drive-ins. However the 1960s and 70s saw a nasty decline. Fewer families were attending, so playgrounds were pulled, and the movies also began changing from the more family oriented fair to teenie-bopper/adult-oriented flicks. In the 1980s, it was nearly their death knell. Then the 1990s saw a resurgence, and in the 2000s, they continue to claw out an existence. In fact, there has even grown (if the term can be so used) a “resistance movement,” called Guerilla Drive-ins, or Mobile Movies (MobMov).
Now, a truly unique drive-in experience is the Kelloff’s Best Western Movie Manor, in Monte Vista, Colorado, a place we’ve gone several times. It is the only drive-in theater where you can watch the movie from your hotel room, yea, even your bed. Yes, you can drive-in and park to watch either of its two screens, but you can also watch one of them from your room, with recently renovated rooms and great sound. This is highly recommended!
The atmosphere cannot be beat–and we should do our damndest to not allow this time-honored institution to die! There’s something truly magical about summer nights and watching movies outside, or from our cars and trucks. It’s really a cool community, where people have even taken grills to have a tailgater before the movies roll. At one theater that used to exist in our town before Walmart took it over, we used to bring our black lab and blankets and pillows, and all of us piled into the truck bed after backing up the truck up to enjoy the experience. Let’s all keep the magic alive!
Here are a few links you might find useful. Enjoy!
Mesa Drive-in, Pueblo.
Holiday Twin, Fort Collins.
Tags: Black Hills, Charles E. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Doane Robinson, Gutzon Borglum, Keystone Cliffs, Korczak Kiolkowki, Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
We saw Mount Rushmore first, and it simply floored me. It is so jaw dropping, so awe-inspiring. It was like when I visited the Grand Canyon–it’s the first and only time I actually, physically, dropped my jaw in awe. It was one mighty tall hole. These are some mighty tall faces. And the history behind it so compelling. Here’s another link.
Now, I knew of some issues with the creation of Mount Rushmore, but as I wrote this post, I found more issues surrounding the creation of it, of the Manifest Destiny and territorial expansionism at the expense of the Native Americans, and the sculptor, Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (March 25, 1867 – March 6, 1941), and his problems in Georgia. It is not my intent to discuss the rights and wrongs leading up to Mount Rushmore. I do not agree with taking over and destroying any People’s culture or lives. I am simply marveling at the art that has been created.
As one information bit at the memorial said, it was a time when the nation was still a tad cocky (my paraphrasing). On December 28, 1923, South Dakotan State Historian, Doane Robinson suggested carving giant statues of American explorers and Native American leaders into the Black Hills (Pahá Sápa in Lakota, Moʼȯhta-voʼhonáaeva in Cheyenne) mountains South Dakota. He’d asked Gutzon Borglum to be the sculptor. But Borglum had a slightly different vision: he envisioned four U.S. presidents and a tablet to the right of it, inscribed with a brief history of America. Behind the “Tall Faces,” would be a Hall of Records housing national documents and artifacts. Work began on October 4, 1927 and ended October 31, 1941. Borglum died on March 6, 1941. His son, Lincoln, continued with the project. The money ran out, however, with the approach of WWII, so the memorial wasn’t even completed. I found this interesting.
Something I didn’t even find out until creating this post, was that Mount Rushmore was originally called Six Grandfathers (see also this link), by the Lakota Sioux. Read this interesting and sobering account of Mount Rushmore’s history, which I saw nothing about in the Memorial.
Mount Rushmore was named in 1885, after New York lawyer, Charles E. Rushmore. It had also been known as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, and Keystone Cliffs.
There were over 400 workers who helped create this memorial.
90% of the heads were carved using dynamite.
No one died during 14 years of carving operations.
Mount Rushmore is 5,725 feet tall.
It was really cool walking the path along the bottom face of Rushmore, and looking up at them from different perspectives than are normally seen. And do bring binoculars! It gives “in your face” a totally new meaning!
The Crazy Horse Memorial was no less fascinating. In fact, it is still in progress, and will be far beyond my lifetime. Korczak Ziolkowski (September 6, 1908 – October 20, 1982) was contacted by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear and invited to carve Crazy Horse, as a way of letting “…the white man know the red man has great heroes, also.” While we were there, we saw no workers actually at work, though heavy equipment could be seen. Bring your binoculars here, too–and take the bus ride that takes off down toward the monument (be sure to tip the driver!). There is no hiking path, and is set up quite differently than Rushmore. But Crazy Horse is privately funded and is not part of the National Park Service. Korczak Ziolkowski was a strong believer in the free-enterprise system, and believed the monument “should be built by the interested public, not the taxpayer.“
Korczak Ziolkowski arrived on May 3, 1947 and started work June 3, 1948. He worked for 34 years, until his death in 1982. His wife and their seven children continued his efforts (Anne died in 2011, leaving six children). Their grandchildren, best we were told by our bus driver, were all in college and he didn’t know their desires one way or the other to continue the work.
The scale of Crazy Horse is simply staggering and needs to be seen. All of Mount Rushmore fits within a rectangle of Crazy Horse’s head. Whereas Rushmore was part of a mountain, Crazy Horse will eventually be the entire mountain, “in the round,” which means three-dimensional as the backside of the mountain will also be carved. It’s well-deserved and staggering in scope. Korczak left detailed directions for future work, knowing full well it would take more than one lifetime to complete this mission.
This was truly a fascinating and awe-inspiring trip. Even emotional, at one point, I was surprised to find. I hope in some near future we can all stop attacking each other and come to peace and understanding and tolerance…where we can create more such enduring works of grand scale art and not have Crazy Horse or Rushmore end up like the remains of the Statue Liberty, in the final scene of first Planet of the Apes movie, because that did, indeed, keep running through my mind as I looked at those mountains….
Enjoy the shots.
Tags: Electrico, Fahrenheit 451, Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury, Ray Bradbury Theater
Yesterday, an icon, a legend, passed away.
I’ve read a handful of his work and watched many of them on The Ray Bradbury Theater. I read his Zen in the Art of Writing periodically (I just love this book). While, like any author, I may not have liked all his work, I’ve always loved his imagination. It always seemed so playful! Sure, some of it was quite serious, like Fahrenheit 451, but I loved how he spent his life playing…imagining. Writing. How he looked out into the world like a child, always in awe and wonder! He always hearkened back to his youth in Waukegan, Illinois. And I’d heard him say he had a perfect memory…but I definitely believe he had perfect nostalgia. I think “Ray Bradbury” should be included in very definition of the word.
It was a life well spent. Might one even say, “charmed“?
The best story (but it’s true) I’ve ever heard from or about Mr. Bradbury was about Mr.Electrico, in 1932. I love the reincarnational, the magical, the mystical of this anecdote! And it, indeed, had set the tone for the rest of his life! I hope that he an Mr. Electrico can, once again, meet! I’m sure they have plenty of weird tales to tell each other!
Thank you…for everything. For making the world shine a little brighter….
Farewell, Ray Bradbury!
- Ray Bradbury, 91, leaves a rich theatrical legacy too (latimes.com)
- Author Ray Bradbury Passes Away (geeksaresexy.net)
- Author Ray Bradbury Dead at 91 (laist.com)