At about 4:00 this afternoon, June 26th, 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire fanned by 40 mile an hour winds, suddenly flared to cause the wildfire to grow by leaps and bounds. I am located forty miles away and am in no danger whatsoever, but I have many friends and family in my hometown of Colorado Springs.
A perfect storm set the scene for what has happened. Colorado Springs has never reached 101 degrees before until today. For three straight days, the temperature has been at 100 degrees. Wind up to 65 miles an hour also hit late this afternoon. The area is in a drought.
By 4:30 more than 7,000 more people were evacuated from their homes. This meant that 12,000 people were evacuated in the area. Since that time, more people have been evacuated from homes near the Air Force Academy. In fact, the housing area for those personnel who live on the Air Force Academy have had to evacuate.
Structures have now been lost in the area. Since Sunday, the firefighters have been able to keep all structures from burning. As one broadcaster said on air, "It has all changed on a dime." This was because of the wind that brought the fire roaring through Waldo Canyon and Queen's Canyon into the west side of the City of Colorado Springs. Think of smoke from a fireplace going up a chimney. This is what happened when the fire, pushed by wind, roared through Queen's Canyon.
The photos and live shots coming out of the area are absolutely heartbreaking. As heartbreaking as the photos are, the knowledge of the impact that this disaster is having on so many is even more heartbreaking. All over Colorado Springs, family members are reporting that the air is thick with ash and smoke. Many say it is difficult to breathe.
As I write this post, the word is that all homes west of I25 from Garden of the Gods to the Air Force Academy is on evacuation orders. Word is out that Flying "W" Ranch, a place those of us who lived in Colorado Springs always took visitors out of town to experience a true Western experience and meal, has burned.
The wind is shifting, even though it is dying down. It is now headed south. We need rain. We need prayer. The fire is out of control. Neighborhoods are burning. The fire is unprecedented. There are no words. The air craft is no longer able to go in the air to fight the fire.
If you wish to watch a live stream of this fire, you may do so at this site: KOAA
As many of you know, we have been trying to sell our home so that we can move to Colorado Springs. The home we have hoped to purchase is not too near these areas that are burning. None of my family lives near the fire. All are on the other side of town. Officials have asked all to stop using cell phones. Gas has been turned off to many neighborhoods. I can't even imagine what those who live in this areas are experiencing.
Truly, the backdrop of my earliest days, the beloved skyline of my life, is on fire. I am heartbroken.