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Holding the Line

June 28th, 2012 - 6:09 pm

I feel a little silly right now, but I’m not complaining about it. Not one bit.

It’s difficult to describe just how scary yesterday was in Colorado Springs and Monument. The Waldo Canyon Fire had tripled in size in just one day, and nothing seemed capable of stopping it. Everything was super-dry, everything was super-hot, and the wind was super-windy. Seasoned firefighting pros all swore up and down they’d never seen a wildfire like this one.

And it was coming right at us, by way of the Air Force Academy and a series of firebreaks which Waldo had breached, one after the other.

Waldo, despite the oldtimey name, was one wicked fast wildfire. Unpredictable, too. Every time the fire crews jinked, it jerked. And the winds, which Waldo itself helped create, kept the firefighting aircraft grounded for hours at a stretch.

So we really started to freak out here, when the evacuation warnings jumped even faster than the fire — a dozen miles north, to just across the highway from us. And we aren’t very far from the highway.

I took a personal/vacation day today, to give me enough free time to pack valuables and heirlooms and Drobo arrays and what have you, and take them far away. Melissa dealt with the kids and the animals and her own belongings. By three o’clock, I had all my digital data and my miniature TV studio all far beyond Waldo’s reach.

But the weather changed — the temperatures cooled, the winds died down, and the humidity increased. More importantly, the firefighters had learned how to deal with Waldo’s wicked ways. The Waldo Canyon Fire was nearly halted in its tracks today.

The cost was horrific. More than 300 homes destroyed. The historic Flying W Ranch burnt to the ground in minutes. Tens of thousands forced to flee.

But as I write this, not one life has been lost. And although Waldo still burns, the worst of the crisis seems to have passed.

So, I feel a little silly for having wasted a vacation day and racing all over the place to keep our things safe.

But I’m mostly grateful as hell.

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