Here’s a day I’ll never forget.
Nothing unusual to start. I had a consulting client I met with to help grow his business from 24 flips a year to 50. Fun stuff…really my favorite kind of client. We headed for a very late lunch at around 2:30 and while walking up to the restaurant we both looked west at the wildfire blaze that had been burning for 4 days.
It had been eerily close but by this time we could see the flames coming over and down Queens Canyon… A location way to close for comfort. (I live on the NW side of town that this fire was approaching). Lunch conversation slowly drifted away from the house flipping business to the fire. My wife Lori called early in our lunch conversation to relay what she had heard about the fires progress.
A second call and a much different tone from Lori meant this lunch meeting needed to come to a quick close. I headed home via Oak Hills Drive (perched on a nice ridge with unobstructed views of the front range and the approaching fire.
The smoke coming that way made it too hard to breathe or see anything, but the amount of smoke itself was no good sign. I headed home heading south on Centenial Blvd. and I noticed looking right the fire had jumped the ridge in Queens Canyon and was not only at the top of the ridge above Mountain Shadows neighborhood but had burned a significant way down the slope toward houses.
It was that moment this fire got very “real”.
The prior weekend we were encouraged to pack an evacuation “kit” with at least 3 days of clothes. We had done so but optimistically I felt there’s no way that things going to get that close to us. With high winds and record high temperatures we had the “perfect storm” for raging fire and when I saw it coming over the ridge into our city it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I got home as quick as possible and told Lori what was happening. Our casual 3 day “kit” started growing rapidly. We picked the smaller things we didn’t want to part with if the fire consumed our house. Busines Server, family pictures (including a few boxes of “old school” print pictures and picture albums, some items from our travels, a small collection of Josh’s toys, laptops with family pictures,…things that couldn’t be replaced.
Every few minutes I’d run up the stairs to a window to see how close it was getting. The neighborhood was filling with smoke, blocking any realistic view of what was going on, but I could see tail lights of cars stacked up, unable to get out of the neighborhood. What if we couldn’t even get out?
We packed as fast as possible while trying to stay semi-calm as not to freak out our son, Josh, who is only 7. We made sure neighbors were getting ready to get out.
Nothing can really describe everything going through your mind in a time like this. Something you never envision happening but here it is. We were lucky.
Amazing efforts and planning from our police department had 10’s of thousands of people evacuated from the area with amazing speed. Our neighbors parents were out of town for the week on vacation so we were able to share a house with them. Again, we were lucky. We had a place to go to. Many did not. Hotels were completely packed. Some families doubling up on rooms. Shelters were packed.
After dinner from our location we could see our part of town literally burning. Even from miles away it was evident it was families homes going up in the blaze. We were becoming strangely comfortable with the fact it’s just “stuff” left behind. Family was safe. All our friends we knew were safe. What I saw and experienced that day will never leave me.
Being there and seeing and experiencing the wind driving the fire our way and fueling it into what was referred to as a “Fire Storm”, I’m amazed anything made it.
We can thank the firefighters enough. How they were able to function in that environment and save as many houses as they did was nothing short of a miracle. If you saw what I saw, you would be surprised anything survived the “fire Storm” that decended on Colorado Springs.
Thank you to the Colorado Springs Police who have planned and trained for something like this got us and our friends and neighbors out swiftly, orderly and safely. We owe them a debt of gratitude. We even had the humane society braving the fire to go in and save pets from evacuated homes. Some people couldn’t even get in after work to save their pets. They have and are still housing hundreds of pets of owners who have no place to go or whose homes have been burned down.
Sorry for typo’s run on sentences, but I wanted to get this out to everyone quickly in a time when I’m still getting a little choked up reliving it.
People have really rallied together and have become even stronger in our community bonds. Seeing people hugging each other and offering support at the post office getting mail from a house that’s no longer there. Inviting strangers who no longer have homes into our houses, the deeds go on proving what a wonderful community of people we have.
It has nearly been impossible to get all the supplies needed to the people that lost their homes and the firefighters still fighting to control the blaze, but today you can help fill a need for a child, mom, dad that really needs it. You can be a blessing and I have made it extremely easy for you to contribute.
Go here to see how you can contribute to help the good people in Colorado that lost everything. It’s really simple.
Red Cross: Colorado Wildfires: How to Help:
Care And Share: Helping displaced families and providing food and water for firefighters
Colorado Springs Humane Society. Risked their own lives to get into evacuated areas and rescue pets that were left behind and have also been taking care of pets that have been displaced from homes:
http://www.wildfiretees.com/ 100% of proceeds going to benefit Colorado Wildfire Victims.
If you purchase ANY product at LocalMentor.com use the code “firesale” at check out and get 30% off and 100% of my proceeds will go to fire relief.
Send Physical donation goods to :
Help Colorado Wild Fire Victims
702 Desparado Road
Bailey, Colorado 80421
I would like to ask you one other favor too. Can you please write something below in a comment that might encourage others that read the blog post today to help with this cause?
Your words can literally cause someone to take action and help. I can’t thank you enough in advance for your time, generosity and above all your giving heart. I appreciate you. God Bless You!