This was Tuesday evening - just a few hours after the fire started. It had topped the ridge, and we weren't sure if it would hold there or jump. The orange glow in the midst of the smoke clouds was really spooky. This is only a little over a mile from our house, and the picture was taken from my front yard. The air smelled of pine and cedar. As you can see, I do not live in a forested area, but the fire jumped both the Royal Gorge and the river, and literally tore through the beetle killed trees and live trees. You could tell the difference. The beetle killed trees put up white smoke. The fresh trees put up black smoke. The fire must have started about 12:30. I saw smoke and called it in around 12:50 and the fire dept. said they had heard. By the next morning, we had 3000 acres involved. If the wind hadn't changed directions, we would have been lost.
Colorado Springs' fire grew from 8000 acres to 15,000 overnight Wednesday night. They are saying 419 homes in Black Forest destroyed now. The Royal Gorge lost a lot a buildings, but amazingly the bridge stood, and the animals were saved. The community will rebuild. The city owns the park and the bridge and derives most of its income from the park. It will hurt this year, but they will rebuild.
And as has already been said, most of Colorado is unaffected by fires, is as beautiful as ever and is welcoming visitors. The river is back open for rafting. Actually 2,000 bicycle riders from Ride the Rockies came through Canon City today, with a slight detour in route. They were originally scheduled to cross the bridge which of course was inadvisable at this time.
Amazing picture, Patsy.
If it wasn't so serious, I'd say it would make a great Free Study entry.
But it is serious, and seeing the red reflection of the flames, the white and black smoke,
and the possibility of more immanent damage - and knowing you're in the middle of it,
well, scary stuff indeed.