Five years ago, on June 23, 2012, I was reading Twitter when it blew up with reports of the so-called Pyramid Mountain Fire. I walked out of my garage and took this photo. A few hours later it was renamed the Waldo Canyon Fire, notorious as being the most expensive wildfire in Colorado until the Black Forest Fire not quite one year later.
My first post about Waldo Canyon Fire
Photos a few days later
Photo I took of the Firestorm when the fire moved into Mountain Shadows
Timelapse of Waldo Canyon Fire taken by a Monument, Colorado resident
Yesterday a friend and I took our dogs to Black Forest Regional Park. As seen in this photo, BFRP was mostly charred by the 2013 Black Forest wild fire, which started several hundred feet outside the park boundaries. Despite this, we had a lovely walk under cloudy skies, looking at the wild-flowers and Pikes Peak in the distance.
Monday, a friend and I took our dogs to the Black Forest Regional Park. The park is adjacent to the subdivision where the Black Forest Fire of 2013 started and 74% of the park timber burned in that fire. It was closed until fairly recently until walking trails could be made safe for the public. Pikes Peak is hidden by the burnt, twisted pine.
One year ago, as we left the office near Chapel Hills where my mother had an afternoon appointment, I looked north and saw a large plume of smoke. Since we were under extreme fire watch conditions, due to wind, heat and drought, I knew it was very bad. I also realized it must be very close to a friend’s house. At that moment, my friend called on my cell phone. She was about a mile due south of where the fire started. The next few hours were a frenzy of activity: taking my mother home, going to my friend’s place to help her evacuate her horses, and making arrangements at our place for two of her horses. She spent the first night at her house, but came to our house with her dogs, cats and chickens after her utilities were cut off.
My friend was fortunate: since she was south of the fire and the gusts were predominantly from the south that first day, the worst of the fire activity was blown away from her. This was very unfortunate for the rest of Black Forest, since the fire started in the south of the heavily timbered area.
I took this photo from the deck of our house the evening of the first day. That night, I didn’t sleep very well, and kept going out to the deck to watch the flares as the fire torched what I assume was propane tanks. Although typically fires lay down at night, this one was very active that first night.
Day two of the Black Forest Fire I went to my friend’s to help evacuate chickens and also pick up some hay for her horses we were keeping at our place. This was the view from her back yard. Her place was about a mile due south of the start of the fire, and we were obviously concerned what might happen if the wind shifted to the north.
We are approximately due west of the fire, which is moving in a northeasterly direction. Three times I’ve evacuated horses to my friend’s place in South Black Forest. This afternoon we moved two of her horses here. Three went to another friend. We are also playing host to three refugee cats.
This is the fire we have dreaded for years in this area.
Colorado Springs Independent writes about the firefighting the Waldo Canyon fire in Misfire.