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.


  1. says

    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.

    • says

      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. says

    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

    • says

      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 says

    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

    • says

      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. says

    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

    • says

      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.

    • says

      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.

  5. says

    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!

  6. says

    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

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