Waldo Canyon Fire: Too Close to Home

Photo by Robie Blair

Five Pies in Five Days
has been interrupted by the Waldo Canyon Fire currently burning in Colorado Springs. Tuesday I was welcomed home from a trip to a mandatory evacuation. We are just 4 of the more than 32,000 who have evacuated their homes, helpless to watch the smoke plumes and pray.

I had been watching the fire from afar, assured it was primarily in the canyon. In three days it had burned a little over 5000 acres, then on Tuesday, 65 mph wind conditions were unmerciful—it went to over 18,000 acres and hundreds of homes lost in less than 24 hours.

It was surreal, startling, unnerving. As we made our way home from the airport I noticed flames at the top of the ridge on the mountain and by the time we got home the smoke was like an erupting volcano. We didn’t have a good view of the hills from our house, so we went a couple of blocks away to take a few photos. Within 15 minutes the scene turned chaotic, traffic clogging with evacuees, firetrucks screaming passed, and people weeping as they watched the flames jump down the hillside.

In an instant a lump caught in my throat. Our beautiful mountain was burning.

We started packing, trying to make decisions and answer scores of text messages pouring in to offer a place to stay. Photos, important papers, irreplaceable items … the smoke is now right upon us, permeating the neighborhood. It was 98° with thick, grey air, the electricity was off, the windows closed … honestly, it was hard to think. Hard to imagine how it all happened so fast.

I wasn’t thrilled that our daughter’s first time to drive by herself after getting her license was for an evacuation, but she really did great. We were proud of her and how well she handled the entire evening. Around midnight we were settled in a friend’s home, all four of us and our dog.

We are safe and sound, our greatest treasure secure. So, now we wait, watch, and pray.

This video was taken last night after we evacuated, these homes are just across the road from our neighborhood. More photos from the Denver Post … it is all so overwhelming to take in.

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17 Responses to Waldo Canyon Fire: Too Close to Home

  1. Lora June 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    My heart goes out to you. I live in Santa Barbara, California and we had four wildfires in two years, two of which cut huge swathes through homes in the city and county. Hug your loved ones and know that folks in other places are sending you their best wishes and hopes for an end to the winds.

    • Judy June 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Lora, thank you so much! Years ago we lived in Camarillo, just south of you, so we are very familiar with the wildfires of California, yet we were never this close. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement.

  2. Mary June 28, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    Judy, I have been praying for your family, your home, and you since this fire broke out. Know that I am thinking of you and the so many others affected by the fire, smoke, and ashes. I’m glad to see that you’re safe! XOXO

    • Judy June 28, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi friend! Thank you for praying, it means so much. I know your community is also trying to recover from the fire up there too — so many resources stretched so thin. I’ll be at the Beth Moore conference this weekend, maybe I’ll get to hug your neck!

  3. Britta June 28, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    Dear Judy,
    I have just read on your blog that your family have been evacuated.
    For days we follow the news on german televison about the devastating forest fires, but wie did not know how close the fire is already in the city.
    We think of you and pray that everything will be fine.
    Best wishes from so far away.
    Britta Dittmann, Dresden Germany

    • Judy June 28, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      Hi Britta! Oh, please let Paulina know that I am far behind on email, but I will respond to her questions very soon. :) The worst of it is passed, thankfully our home is safe and secure. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

  4. Just A Smidgen June 28, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    What an awful tragedy.. I am so sorry for you, your neighbors and your mountain.. There couldn’t be anything more sickening than a fire… I agree.. you have your most precious treasures tucked safe.. and I will pray that your home stays intact.. xoxo Smidge
    Just A Smidgen recently posted..Bowl of Cherries CheesecakeMy Profile

    • Judy June 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks Smidge, I so appreciate your kind encouragement, it means so much!

  5. ChgoJohn June 28, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    I’ve been thinking of you, Judy, and your family when the news began talk of the fires spreading and so many homes lost or in danger. Thank heavens you’re all safe and I pray your home is spared, as well.
    ChgoJohn recently posted..A Blogger’s Relaxing Day Leads To A Jam-Filled One For MeMy Profile

    • Judy June 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

      Thanks so much John, I appreciate your thoughts and encouragement. Our house was spared, though we are still waiting to go home. Grateful and sad for those who have suffered so much loss.

  6. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) June 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I knew that you lived in the area but not Colorado Spring directly Judy. I’m so happy to hear that you and your family are safe. Liz and I are send you positive thoughts and hope that you home remains safe.

    Jed and Liz
    Jed Gray (sportsglutton) recently posted..Thirsty Thursday: South African Pinotages Part 1My Profile

    • Judy June 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

      Thank you Jed and Liz for your thoughts and well wishes, it means so much. We look forward to returning home, grateful it is still there. Our hearts go out to all those who do not have a home to go back to.

  7. mjskit June 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    You’ll definitely be in my thoughts! I have another friend who has evacuated from Colorado Springs, but unfortunately, her son is a fire fighter and in the thick of things. Right now I’m praying for rain and NO WIND for you guys! Hang in there Darlin!

  8. Maureen June 28, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    You poor things. When we lived in southern Australia we were in the line of a huge bush fire that killed a lot of people south of us. We were getting burning gum tree leaves blowing in the wind and then the wind changed at the last minute.

    It’s SO scary and I’m thrilled you’re safe and have a home.
    Maureen recently posted..Mrs. Harding’s WafflesMy Profile

  9. April @ The 21st Century Housewife June 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear you have been going through such a terrible time. I do hope that all will be well for you, and all the others who have been affected.

  10. Raymund July 1, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    I hope you are all alright there. We will include you in our prayers.
    Raymund recently posted..Guest Post : Judy from Savoring Today featuring Fig, Chevre & Arugula PizzaMy Profile

  11. Erin @SalmonAtSeven July 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Hope that all the recovery efforts are going well… I didn’t realize you were based in COS – our old house was just 5 blocks from the evac zone. Crazy times…. I followed the news very carefully. xoxo
    Erin @SalmonAtSeven recently posted..DIY Fruit Bouquets – A TutorialMy Profile

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