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.